Response to Letter Regarding Article, “Bypassing Big Pharma”
We appreciate Dr Tracy’s views, as he personally has dedicated a large portion of his career toward developing cardioprotective agents for Pfizer. Nevertheless, when it comes to drug development, the pharmaceutical industry is the only institution in our country that has the resources required to do toxicity testing, deal with regulatory agencies, and move a compound into clinical trials. The investigator must therefore sooner or later involve industry if he is to ever translate a pharmacological observation into clinical practice. At that point, the investigator is bound by the decisions of the pharmaceutical industry, and, as Dr Tracy acknowledges, those decisions must be based on “multiple factors,” and not least among those factors is market potential. We do not mean to be unjustly critical, in our editorial,1 of large pharmaceutical firms, as they have effectively provided us with many life-saving drugs, but in the end they are “for profit” businesses. We just point out that drug-independent therapies are not hampered by these problems.