How Valeant had a bright idea but took it too far
There are three types of Valeant criticisms that often get lumped together:
- It attacked the traditional approach that corporate R&D was the only thing that mattered in pharmaceuticals, which upset a lot of entrenched stakeholders
- It did some things that were morally questionable but perfectly legal (e.g., price optimization, inversions)
- It did some things that were morally questionable and legally gray (e.g., the specialty pharmacy incident)
This article does a great job of pointing out that the outrage over #2 and #3 mask the success that Valeant had with #1. There’s no reason to believe that corporate R&D is inherently better for the world than biotechs, and you could certainly see a smart, talented scientist preferring the fast-paced startup culture of a biotech based in Boston to a large corporate based in New Jersey.