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DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: derekb.lowe@gmail.com Twitter: Dereklowe

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In the Pipeline: Don't miss Derek Lowe's excellent commentary on drug discovery and the pharma industry in general at In the Pipeline

In the Pipeline

« Me Too, Part Two | Main | The Last Word (For A While) On Me-Too Drugs »

September 1, 2004

Around and About

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Posted by Derek

Tonight, a few varied links from around the blogging world, which only serve to remind me that I need to reconstitute my shattered blogroll:

Via Chad Orzel I read this note from Preposterous Universe on publication of clinical trial data, and on the general problem of what to do with negative results. I know that there have been attempts to start journals in chemistry to allow an outlet for these, but I don't think that any of them have worked out.

Meanwhile, over at DB's MedRants, he has a good piece on drug reimportation from a practicing physician's point of view:

"The Canadian "solution" makes for good politics, but bad policy. This "solution" is destined to fail. We need higher level thinking to better understand pharmaceutical costs and our resultant expenditures. The "wonder drugs" are not created by spontaneous combustion. They result from expensive research.

Physicians need to understand newer drugs very well. We need to understand when an expensive drug is a better alternative, and when a cheaper generic works as well. We need the NIH (and associated Institutes) to sponsor important drug studies. Relying on the pharmaceutical industry to fund drug studies seems cost effective in the short run, but from a long term perspective, such studies are rarely designed to answer the important cost questions."

Readers will recall my attempts to warn Imclone shareholders of the risks of holding their stock at its current levels. Over at the Motley Fool, another attempt is made:

"But the thing that gets me about ImClone is that the company is valued as though Erbitux has already been a smashing success, as if it has already received approval for other therapies currently in trial such as earlier-stage colorectal cancers and head and neck cancers, extending its on-label marketing reach. At an enterprise value of $4.1 billion, ImClone has grossly improved both its operating and financial positions from the days of scorn and scandal when Sam Waksal ran the show. Even if the annual domestic sales for Erbitux hit the $1 billion mark -- blockbuster status, if you will -- ImClone garners only 39% of that amount, or $390 million. That's revenues, and yet the company's stock is priced 10 times that high today."

All true. But good luck getting those points across - it's like trying to reason with house cats. Turning from those to dogs, the world's most famous combination dog-breeding inorganic chemist has this to say about writing review articles covering the chemical literature:

"Why I do them I don't know. They're exhausting, I get no real feeling of satisfaction out of them, the remuneration doesn't begin to repay the effort involved and while the reader may appreciate the compliation of the state of the art, no credit accrues to the author. I suppose that since publications on original research are frowned on by my company, I do reviews to pad my resume. People can't read, but they can count."

True again. We have an easier time publishing original research, but only after the project is either ascending into the heavens of the market (which doesn't happen often enough, I can tell you) or is a complete dead letter. "The only thing we can do with that," we say, poking at the remains, "is to publish it."

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