Drug companies have been accused of conning the public by hyping up patented medicines with little new to offer while downplaying their potentially harmful side-effects.
A new study estimates that 85 per cent of new drugs offer few if any new benefits while having the potential to cause serious harm due to toxicity or misuse.
The author of the research delivered a damning attack on ‘Big Pharma’ at a meeting of sociology experts in the US.
Professor Donald Light described the pharmaceutical industry as a ‘market for lemons’ – one in which the seller knows much more than the buyer about the product, and takes advantage of this fact.
‘Sometimes drug companies hide or downplay information about serious side-effects of new drugs and overstate the drugs’ benefits,’ said Prof Light, a professor of comparative health policy at the University of Medicine and Dentistry in New Jersey, US.