Advantages and disadvantages of stem cell research from the view point of pharmaceutical companies.
Stem cell research is a very hot topic for many reasons. The economic upsides and downsides to stem cell research were investigated. New jobs could potentially be created in the research and development fields. Jobs could be lost in the pharmaceutical industries that are treating diseases that could potentially be cured with stem cell technology. Huge amounts of money could be saved in healthcare costs in the event of a breakthrough in stem cell research. There are several other economic upsides and downsides to stem cell research.
Pharmaceutical companies are extremely profitable because of chronic disease. In 2002, the per capita annual cost for diabetes medication was $13,243. In 2007, the total cost per year for 5.8 million patients for insulin dependent diabetes was $125.1 billion. Every year that those 5.8 million patients remain ill, the pharmaceutical companies earn another $125.1 billion. If stem cell research led to a cure for diabetes or any other disease, the pharmaceutical companies would not profit from the sale of as many drugs used for treatment. As a result, pharmaceutical companies, from a financial standpoint, do not typically want a cure for many diseases to be discovered.
Pharmaceutical companies will go to great lengths to stop the discovery of a cure, such as in the case of Eleotin and Roche. Eloetin was a very promising diabetes drug that had the potential to cure type two diabetes. Roche, a pharmaceutical company whose main product treats type two diabetes, offered $26 million for Eloetin in order to “shelf it” before it could become a cure. Large pharmaceutical companies could lose a lot of money in the event of the discovery of a cure.
It has become evident that there are industries that could lose economically from advances in stem cell research as well as those that could gain from it. In most cases, those who stand to lose economically from advances in stem cell research are larger corporations, the government and private investors. Those who stand to gain from stem cell research are the general public that spends trillions of dollars on healthcare every year. Unfortunately, the few groups that are more likely not to benefit from stem cell research are also those that are more powerful and influential.
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