To the Editor:

I was astounded at the emotionally-charged appeal and personal attack of Robert Su ’03 in response to my editorial (“The spread, and end, of life-saving drugs,” 10/24).

Su writes: “In his effort to portray pharmaceutical companies as funding most of the research and development, Gortler fails to mention that government and nonprofit organizations essentially invest as much in the process.” I would be very interested to see hard data which states that any non-profit industry or the government supports the pharmaceutical industry, especially because it doesn’t occur on this planet. Why would they want to give monies to a publicly traded, for-profit industry? Pfizer is the world’s largest drug company. Merck, and Bristol-Myers are the next two on the list. All are American, and none get any sort of aid.

Su further writes: “Contrary to Gortler’s statement, [generics drugs are] often of equal or even superior quality to that of the original.” Again, what is the source? The implication is that generic drugs are somehow superior to treat ailments. In fact, McCain-Schumer relaxes the law in order to avoid expensive testing.

I believe Su has confused the stalling of generic drugs with the McCain-Schumer act. There are very few individuals opposed to the single, 30-month industry delay in generic production. The President will likely amend current legislation with little public hullabaloo. McCain-Schumer is completely different and would actually decrease the 20-year patent life among other things.

I suggest that Su question his sources of information.

David Gortler

October 30, 2002