Pharma 2100


Anesta Iwan (MDE ’19)

Project Type
Information Design

Fall 2017

Collaborative Design Engineering Studio

Is our country focused more on fixing our problems or on preventing our problems?

Inspired by the way the U.S. healthcare is portrayed in Matthew Heineman and Susan Froemke’s documentary “Escape Fire,” the purpose of this study is to analyze the global pharmaceutical industry and gauge where the emphasis on funding lies between therapeutic and preventive methods in our health. The intended audience is a mix of governmental leaders, related R & D start-ups, and curious global citizens who care about the trajectory of their healthcare system.

The following data is based on a small sampling of the currently(2017) active pharmaceutical companies around the world. About a 10% random sample were taken from each bucket of different sized companies (measured by the number of employees). This data was obtained in 2017 through the Orbis Database, the World Bank Data, and the Bloomberg Global Health Index.

A diagram using data was obtained in 2017 through the Orbis Database, the World Bank Data, and the Bloomberg Global Health Index. Four columns are in focus, interconnected with horizontal lines associating the content. In the first column, one box reads '10% SAMPLE of global pharmaceutical companies'. In the second column, two boxes read 'TRADE DESCRIPTION' and 'PRODUCT & SERVICES DESCRIPTION'. In the third column, one box reads 'Preventive: diagnostic, health, ancillary, treatments, care, vaccines. Therapeutic: medicines, drugs, medicine, medicinal, drug, medical, penicillin'. In the fourth and final column, three boxes read 'PREVENTATIVE', 'THERAPEUTIC', and 'NEUTRAL'.


Since there is no existing listed category to list whether a company is focused around more therapeutic care or preventive, I have devised an initial method of parsing the data. Based on the companies’ trade and product descriptions, I ran an algorithm to select and count certain keywords that are associated with either preventative or therapeutic and gave each company a label based upon those counts. In cases where there is none or a tie between the two word grouping counts, those companies are listed as ‘neutral.’


Looking at the last diagram, where the companies are simply sorted by their amount of funding regardless of their base countries, we can see that toward the higher end of the spectrum, we see that there are a greater density of companies focused around preventive care. A possible extension of this study would be to do a similar spread across different years and see if it’s changed throughout the years or not.