Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Fibromyalgia Not as Lucrative for Drug Companies

I was amazed to watch the cough syrup "study" with its 14 FMS participants, sky rocket from a little press release into an international heath headline. By the end of the week it had been covered by major news agencies in the US, Canada, Great Britain, and India. Why did this happen? Because 3-6% percent of Americans are suffering from an illness that no one sees fit to do any proper research on. There is a vacuum of good information.

Today I came across this encouragingly titled article Improved Awareness of Fibromyalgia by Both Physicians and Patients Will Drive the Drug Market, According to a New Study from Decision Resources with this discouraging quote;
The new Pharmacor study entitled Fibromyalgia also finds that, although the fibromyalgia market has clear potential, it remains a secondary target for most drug companies. Primary markets such as depression, neuropathic pain, or insomnia represent much more lucrative target markets than fibromyalgia, so many companies will investigate their drugs for fibromyalgia only after they have secured a place in one of the more lucrative markets.


Scott said...

Why do you suppose it is considered a low profit venture?

Kim Traynor said...

Not to sound cynical, but one reason might be because they make more money by offering a bunch of ineffective treatments than they would by offering one that actually worked.

Back in the days when I could afford my medication I was taking four different perscription drugs for my FMS...one was a muscle relaxant, one was an anti-depressant, one was a sleep aid, and one was a pain pill.

Maybe they are afraid that if they tailor a drug just for FMS (none exist at the moment) then millions of people are going to go from buying four bottles of their products to just one.

Scott said...

Doesn't sound cynical, sounds realistic. Another idea may be that they are the are worried about not have a large enough customer base since the US's insurance policies are predominately employment based.

What percentage of people with FMS are unemployed due to their ailment and unable to get health care?

Could be a connection.

It's strange that in the story they don't offer any ideas as to why it's not considered "lucrative."

Kim Traynor said...

That's an interesting theory.

This isn't from a great source (they are selling something) but it is consistent with numbers I've read elsewhere:

70% of FMS patients
consider themselves to be disabled.

26% receive at least one
form of disability payment.

16% receive Social Security
disability payments compared with 2.2% of the general population in the USA.

Doubtless, some of these people are married and covered under their spouses' insurance, but I'm sure there are plenty in my boat as well, with no private insurance or Medicare.

Scott said...

I just re-read my second post and realized I must have been on crack when I wrote it. Nice job deciphering it.