WHERE HAVE ALL THE NEW MEDS GONE?Drug Abuseby Nicholas Thompson The pharmaceutical industry has suffered some serious blues in the past 18 months: HIV-positive Africans and old ladies in wheelchairs have cursed it; newspapers have challenged its accounting; stocks have plummeted. The recession, war in Afghanistan, and terrorism around the world may have caused Americans plenty of stress and headaches, but investors, at least, are reaching for the bottles without the childproof caps. In the past year, shares in the Dow Jones breweries-and-distilleries index are up 25 percent; shares in the pharmaceuticals index, meanwhile, are down 25 percent.
And the industry deserves it. For years it has squeezed consumers the world over, endlessly arguing that it needs its huge profits in order to invest in new, lifesaving innovations. But while that might once have been true, lately the industry hasn't been innovating at its past rate--and that's probably the main reason investors have started to back off.
Truth, Ownership, and Scientific Tradition Robert B. Laughlin LaughlinIt is a familiar story, if one with great power to break the heart. The company has entered a period of extreme financial stress. Layoffs have occurred at the periphery, and more substantial ones are clearly to follow at the core. Strange memoranda have begun to appear in which the company testifies to its steadfast commitment to research, even as managers emerge from weekly meetings with long faces, unable to look their friends in the eye. Things look bleak. Just at this critical moment, rumors begin circulating of a series of astonishing technical breakthroughs. These seem mi