I won't beat a dead horse. One more response, and then I'll shut up. I promise.
I agree with both of you, cheer and cureIous, for some drugs, maybe many or most of the drugs, that are marketed. However, I'm not sure that you could lump in with the generalization that they want to keep you on a specific drug forever for such drugs as antibiotics, antivirals, vaccines, etc. Gardasil is a great example. Would you not give your adolescent daughter a Gardasil shot just to prove a financial point to the pharmaceutical companies? (Now you may not give it to her based on uncertainties concerning the long term side effects that have yet to come out, but that is not what I am talking about.)
I agree that they are motivated by one thing pure and simple--profit. However, profit is not necessarily a dirty word. I don't agree with Gordon Gecko ("Wall Street") that "greed is good." I would say that greed is necessary, though. How do you motivate someone to do something that they would not ordinarily do? I still have a job thankfully, and one that I like. If I were independently wealthy, would I be doing what I do on my own free time? Definitely not. I work because I need the money and the benefits.
Research takes money. The way Merck acquires this money (debt, stock, drug sales) may be less efficient than the way say, the Myelin Repair Foundation acquires money (donations and licensing). But I still want them doing what they do even though they may be less efficient and even though their motive is purely financial. I want as many organizations as possible looking for treatments and cures regardless of what motivates them. If it's money and profit, so be it. Money talks...
Wow, after reading what I just wrote, I almost sound like a republican. I'm definitely not one of those.