Drugmakers Under Siege

Do medications cost too much, and are they safe?


After a decade of scientific breakthroughs and soaring profits, the pharmaceutical industry is encountering tough times. Consumers are frustrated at paying steep prices for new medications, and some politicians and advocacy groups are calling for new government regulations, perhaps including price controls. Drugmakers and their allies in Congress say such moves could halt the flow of promising new medications. Meanwhile, a separate debate is raging over the nation's drug-approval process. A series of recalls of prescription medicines is focusing more attention on the way the Food and Drug Administration reviews and approves drugs -- and whether it's possible to have a fail-safe system for monitoring dangerous drug reactions. Government regulators also are monitoring the surge in drug sales on the Internet.

Some politicians and advocacy groups ...

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