GRE Argument Essay 86
The following appeared in the business section of a newspaper.
“Given that the number of people in our country with some form of arthritis is expected to rise from 40 million to 60 million over the next twenty years, pharmaceutical companies that produce drugs for the treatment of arthritis should be very profitable. Many analysts believe that in ten years Becton Pharmaceuticals, which makes Xenon, the best-selling drug treatment for arthritis, will be the most profitable pharmaceutical company. But the patent on Xenon expires in three years, and other companies will then be able to produce a cheaper version of the drug. Thus, it is more likely that in ten years the most profitable pharmaceutical company will be Perkins Pharmaceuticals, maker of a new drug called Xylan, which clinical studies show is preferred over Xenon by seven out of ten patients suffering from the most extreme cases of arthritis.”
In this argument, the writer has simply assumed that the Perkins pharmaceuticals will be the most profitable pharmaceutical company in the next ten years and the Becton pharmaceuticals will not get much profit. However, the evidence provided by the author is insufficient to support the conclusion. If we give a look at this argument closely, we will find it unconvincing. The author’s argument is completely based on assumptions.
First of all, the author unfairly assumes that the rising number of the sufferers of arthritis is sure to bring the profit to pharmaceutical companies that are making drugs to treat arthritis. The author has not considered that the treatment of some kind of arthritis does not need pills. It can be treated by dietary changes or change in life styles. Pills are one of the many types of clinical treatments. There is a possibility that increasing number of arthritis patients can be treated by alternative methods and they do not require drugs. The author has not offered any evidence to rule out all these possibilities. Hence, this argument cannot be concluded on the basis of this reason.
The second point that the author has raised shows that the author himself is not very sure of it. On one hand, he says that in ten years Becton Pharmaceuticals, which makes Xenon, the best-selling drug treatment for arthritis, will be the most profitable pharmaceutical company. On the other hand, he does not provide any substantial evidence to argue that Xenon will not be popular after its three years’ patent expiration. He has just assumed that other companies would be able to produce cheaper medicines. It is entirely possible that Becton Pharmaceuticals can also create more effective and useful drug as it got patent on Xenon some years ago. Moreover, Becton Pharmaceuticals can also reduce the price of Xenon as other companies do. From the author’s statement, we can get that Xenon is a very successful drug for arthritis, hence there are high chances that the maker of a so successful drug will try to produce a new and maybe better drug
Even if we assume that Xenon will lose popularity in the future, the argument that Xylan will be the most profitable drug in ten years is unconvincing. There is no data showing that if Xylan is preferred by the sufferers of the extreme cases, then it will be popular among other types of cases. Different cases can require different treatment and drugs. Hence, the author cannot convince that Perkins Pharmaceuticals, which produces Xylan, will earn the most profit in ten years.
The author has not produced the required information to establish that Perkins Pharmaceuticals will be the most profitable company. He should have provided the benefits of the drug produced by Perkins. Besides there are also chances that some new company will produce a new drug for arthritis that will be more popular with the patients. The writer should have made a comprehensive survey and considered the factors not only from now but also from the future prospective.