Cheaper Can Be Better

A study comparing heart medications raises questions about high-pressure tactics in drug marketing

The new heart drug hit the market in 1987 in a blinding flash of pitchmen, promotion and public relations hoo-ha. The product of biotech breakthroughs, TPA was touted as clearly superior to the competition, a clot-busting drug called streptokinase, on the market for 15 years. Though TPA (for tissue plasminogen activator) is 10 times as expensive as the older drug, the majority of U.S. doctors bought the pitch, and the new drug became the favored method of breaking up clots in heart-attack victims. Then last week an international team of researchers reported what some doctors had suspected all along: the fancy...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!