Over and above its management and strategy groundings, Big Pharma [official site] shines a light on the billion dollar, often unscrupulous, pharmaceutical industry. While Alec enjoyed his hands-on time with Twice Circled’s medicine manufacturing sim last year, he noted it didn’t “go for pharmaceutical industry’s jugular”. Its first expansion – Marketing and Malpractice – takes a distinguished step towards doing exactly that by introducing dodgy tactics and the ability to manually set medicine prices.
Whereas the base game has you developing the composition, potency and effectiveness of your self-manufactured medicine in order to turn profit – not to mention figuring out ways to cram more production lines into your ever-mobbed warehouse floors – Big Pharma’s Marketing and Malpractice expansion shifts your focus squarely onto the consumer end. Naturally, this is where the fun/dangerously illegal activities begin.
Maybe you’ll shower doctors with free gifts in order to secure their business? Or perhaps you’ll tamper with the results of clinical trials to make your drugs appear more effective than they actually are? Hell, you might even run phony disease awareness campaigns and convince the masses that a) they’re terribly sick and b) you’ve got just the drug to cure them – when it comes to making money there’s little bounds to depravity, it seems.
What’s more, Marketing and Malpractice lets you set the price of your wares manually for the first time. This means it’s now possible to undercut competitors; force them out of business; and gain monopoly of the market, allowing you to charge extortionate prices for life-saving cures – the latter of which skates awfully close to real life. Which is of course the point: Big Pharma is a tongue-in-cheek satirical swipe at a real life industry that doesn’t always behave itself. This is echoed in the expansion’s equally tongue-in-cheek trailer:
New technical tinkerings also befall the expansion, the full list of which can be found here.