BOOK- From Farms to Pharma

From Farms to Farmer

Utter the words ‘pharmaceutical companies’ to the majority of Britons and it’s likely they will respond in one of two ways. Either “I don’t trust an industry that makes increasingly mind-blowing profits by biasing the healthcare industry in favour of those who have money”, or “Yeah, I think there’s a pharmacist near my house.”

Let’s assume in most instances the response is the former. Of all businesses on the face of the planet it’s safe to say that pharmaceutical firms only rank higher than arms and fossil fuels in terms of perceived morality. And this is completely understandable, given the endless stream of headlines that appear in papers across the (free press) world that paint a very troubling picture of such companies. But that’s really only half the story.

So whilst it’s true that healthcare is disastrously unequal from country to country, and in some territories within the nation itself, without pharmaceuticals, and the firms that invest in ongoing research, modern medicine as we know it today wouldn’t exist. And what healthcare there was would be relatively ineffective. Or at least that’s the argument made by Ron Stark, a medical professor with a background including work for the NHS and a global pharmaceutical company, where he was renowned for being the saviour of many troubled, about-to-be-canned projects.

“While it’s fashionable to focus on the bad side of pharma, it shouldn’t be overlooked that drug companies have contributed enormously to health care over many years,” observes Ron. He looks fairly and objectively at the good and the bad about the drug industry, and how its research compares with research elsewhere, which sounds reasonable enough.

Whether you agree or disagree with positioning pharmaceutical companies on some high pedestal, there’s no denying that Stark’s book, From Farms to Pharma , offers a fascinating, not to mention broad insight into the practices, endeavours, and day-to-day experiences of someone who has been directly involved in the development of new treatments. A look, if you will, at the essential nature of this work, and a rationale for why- nightmarish controversies aside- the world would be a weaker, sicker place if it weren’t for the people responsible for researching cures. And, perhaps unfortunately, the only pockets deep enough to fund this area are private ones.

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