Giant drug companies – ‘Big Pharma’ – have become the ultimate symbol of a broken corporate model. They live off monopolies on medicines discovered many years ago, extending those monopolies by making tiny changes to medicines wherever they can, to keep patents fresh. Despite taking public money, they push prices to eye-watering levels. Rather than invest in research for a new generation of vital medicines, they prefer to play the financial market – buying up smaller companies that do genuinely innovative research, and returning massive returns to shareholders. No wonder they’ve become one of the most profitable sectors in the world.
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