I work in a place where CNN is always on and I read the ticker from the corner of my eye. I happened to catch 4 ticker messages and snippets of nuse related to the prescription drug companies responding to the crisis.
"SponsorCo is the only maker of this drug that we need for this epidemic" (go stocks go!)
"ArabCo Drug Inc can come up with a generic by early next year. (Not our bosses!)
"SponsorCo vows to remain the only company that can make Tamiflu." (Go stocks go!)
"Arabco claims big bad bug is becoming resistant to Tamiflu."
The whole while there are tons of PR ads from prescription drug companies. While them and the media are in bed together they might as well sell some ad space.
The prescription drug companies get most of thier research done by the government, which has an easy time justifying paying for all this because its good for the common people. Isn't it good for the common people when they find a new medicine to help our sick? Of course! The only problem is they then use that information to develop a drug (they just basically decide that to call it and what shape pill to form it into. they gotta have some research and development, even though most of it is just focus groups.) So anyway they take this knowledge aquired by tax dollars and sell it at a huge markup.