A Big Pharma firm just announced they’re abandoning hunt for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s cures

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Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced Saturday that it’s closing down its division dedicated to developing new drugs to treat and cure Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, delivering a massive blow to millions of patients fighting those two life threatening afflictions, and their families.

The “restructuring,” as the company calls their capitulation, will result in at least 300 lay-offs of research scientists currently pursuing new drugs for those diseases.

Their reason for the sudden surrender in those fights?  It’s just not profitable.

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“This was an exercise to reallocate spending across our portfolio, to focus on those areas where our pipeline, and our scientific expertise, is strongest,” a statement released by the company reads.

That’s corporate code for “we’re too far away from marketing these life-saving drugs and generating revenue from them, and we can’t justify the investment to our shareholders any longer.  Instead, we’re going to focus on making erections great again.”

To be fair, Pfizer did take a shot at these two diseases, and even took two potential treatments for Alzheimer’s disease into clinical trials, one in 2012, another in 2017.  Both efforts, however, failed to show any improvement with memory loss in subject patients, and they were abandoned.

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AstraZeneca PLC, Biogen Inc. and Eli Lilly & Co., are among the few remaining Big Pharma firms that continue to chase cures for these neurological disorders, but for how long? What if their shareholders grow tired of waiting for the big payoff, as Pfizer’s have?

Pfizer’s move exposes the fundamental flaw in our health system that places the fate of suffering patients at the mercy of the cruel and impersonal calculations of market  analysts and the whims of shareholders focused only on the all mighty bottom line.

The Wall Street Journal points out that, “about 5.5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s, and the numbers are expected to rise as the population ages. Analysts say successful treatments for the memory-robbing disease could have multibillion-dollar sales potential.”

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AstraZeneca PLC, Biogen Inc. and Eli Lilly & Co., are among the few remaining Big Pharma firms that continue to chase cures for these neurological disorders, but for how long? What if their shareholders grow tired of waiting for the big payoff, as Pfizer’s have?

Pfizer’s move exposes the fundamental flaw in our health system that places the fate of suffering patients at the mercy of the cruel and impersonal calculations of market  analysts and the whims of shareholders focused only on the bottom line.

There has to be a better way.

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Peter Mellado

Peter Mellado is a writer, producer, and a branding and messaging specialist with over 15 years experience. He studied history at San Jose State University, and resides in Los Angeles.

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