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Cómo resolver los fallos del mercado de antibióticos

LONDRES – Desde el estricto punto de vista de algunos inversores, no hay nada malo en que una empresa use una gestión financiera astuta para subir el precio de sus acciones. Según esta lógica estrecha, también tratándose de la industria farmacéutica, no debe preocuparnos que el valor de las empresas suba por maniobras financieras (como recompra de acciones u operaciones para tributar menos cambiando el domicilio fiscal) en vez de en respuesta a nuevos hallazgos.

Pero la industria farmacéutica no es una industria más. Está intrínsecamente ligada al bien público: a lo largo de la historia generó innovaciones médicas esenciales para que las sociedades puedan combatir las enfermedades. Además, aunque sus consumidores sean los pacientes, el verdadero comprador suele ser el fisco. Incluso en Estados Unidos, las compras del sector público ascienden al menos al 40% del mercado de medicamentos recetados.

El Estado también financia gran parte de las investigaciones que sostienen las ganancias de la industria. El gobierno estadounidense es el mayor aportante individual de fondos para investigación y desarrollo en medicina, y la tercera parte de la inversión mundial en investigación sanitaria la financian los contribuyentes. Es comprensible que las autoridades insistan en que la industria centre sus esfuerzos en innovar en áreas que ofrezcan el mayor beneficio a contribuyentes y pacientes, en vez de actividades que (como las maniobras financieras) tal vez sean más rentables para la industria en el corto plazo.

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