Big pharma has repeatedly taken it in the neck over the years from commentators who appear outraged that the giants are so cold-hearted as to expect to make a profit from the medicines that they invest billions in to develop.

Clearly the rational answer is that without the chance of profit during the years of a drug’s patent protection, there will be no incentive to invest in R&D, and the production line of medical progress will come to a crashing halt...

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