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Coronavirus: The Latest Problem Big Pharma Won’t Solve

February 07, 2020 / Ellen ‘t Hoen

Time for new pharmaceutical-innovation models. The pharmaceutical industry is one of the most profitable on earth, expected to be worth $1.4 trillion by the end of 2020. Last year, the four drug companies that dominated the vaccine market made $30 billion selling vaccines. The pharmaceutical industry benefits from considerable incentives, including in the form of patents and other market monopolies to sustain vaccine and treatment prices well above production cost. Society pays this price—in theory—because it enables the industry to generate money needed to invest in developing new health innovations. With the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, a disease for which there is neither a vaccine nor an effective drug treatment, the call for such innovations is growing louder by the day. With global sales in vaccines alone totaling $54 billion in 2019 and predicted to near $60 billion in 2020, one would think that industry has the reserves to jump at this challenge. Bu...