Rhetorical Analysis: Pharmaceutical Innovation
In Joel Lexchin’s article “Pharmaceutical innovation: Can we live forever? A commentary on Schnittker and Karandinos” he addresses the article made by Schnittker and Karandinos about the progression of pharmaceuticals and whether or not we have advanced enough to significantly increase our life expectancy. Lexchin uses a plethora of rhetoric to persuade the reader into believing his argument, mostly relying upon logos, chiefly facts, to appeal to the logical and sensible side of the readers. His argument is not limited to logos though, as there are faint traces of pathos, the longing to live forever, as well as ethos, society’s needs for further advances, to further convince the reader.
Lexchin talks a great deal about the amount of NMEs (new molecular entities) and the fact the while there has been a significant increase in the amount of NMEs, there are very few that actually impact mortality patterns. He uses a lot of statistics on percentages of new NMEs that “offered major therapeutic gains” or the amount of certain drugs released in particular countries. Lexchin uses this as a way to tell the reader that what is being done now just is not enough, there needs to be more done to affect the mortality rates. He also avoids mentioning exactly how much money is spent each year on pharmaceutical research and development. If the readers knew that hundreds of millions of dollars are spent each year and still so little, relatively speaking, has been accomplished, it would have a profound impact upon their opinion of the topic.
By comparing the life expectancy of women and men in 1960 to that of males and females in 2000, this data going from 73.1 for women and 66.6 for men to 79.5 and 74.1 respectively, Lexchin encourages the reader to believe that we can, in fact, decrease our mortality rates with pharmaceutical innovation. However it is very difficult to tell whether the increased life expectancy is actually...
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