“…the whole trouble lies here. In words, words. Each one of us has within him a whole world of things, each man of us his own special world. And how can we ever come to an understanding if I put in the words I utter the sense and value of things as I see them; while you who listen to me must inevitably translate them according to the conception of things each one of you has within himself. We think we understand each other, but we never really do.”
XKCD is always relevant. Always.
---------- Post added 2012-11-20 at 01:46 AM ----------
There is however a pretty real difference between an opportunity cost and operating at a loss.Money is, by definition, a fungible asset. There's absolutely no difference between an opportunity cost and an out of pocket expense.
---------- Post added 2012-11-20 at 02:15 AM ----------
If Pfizer doesn't find a "cure for cancer" another pharma company like AstraZenica will. There's absolutely nothing to be gained by NOT curing cancer (Even though that's a medical impossibility* to have a single cure for all cancers)
*While not technically "impossible" it is, nonetheless highly improbable due to cancer being a label attached to HUNDREDS of different diseases with an even greater number of causes.
---------- Post added 2012-11-20 at 02:18 AM ----------
Here's the simpliest and most obvious example possible.
Remember about 20 years ago when the internet was used by hardly anyone? The universities and forums didn't make it profitable and drive the huge usage. It was Microsoft, Google, Yahoo!, news websites, etc. The companies that did it for the money. Capitalism is what made western society into the power house that it is. They're the ones on the cutting edge of technology, the ones that make the drugs, the ones that make the medical equipment that goes into hospitals etc.
Society as a whole advances because they make money and reinvest it. If they didn't, we'd be stuck in tribes in Africa, still trying to work out how to create fire. Cancer wouldn't be a worry then because we'd be dead by 30.
You said losing money on the production. That more than clearly implies that they're not making a profit.
Listen, you said losing money on the production. Which means that they would have to not be able to make a profit producing the drug. They can make a profit producing the drug. Is there an opportunity cost? Sure, but that has nothing to do with their ability to be financially viable producing the cheaper drug.