GMAT CR: “Strengthen” Question of the Day

Try this Critical Reasoning “strengthen” question from the GMAT Official Guide 12th Edition on your own! Then scroll down for an answer and explanation!

The pharmaceutical industry argues that because new drugs will not be developed unless heavy development costs can be recouped in later sales, the current 20 years of protection provided by patents should be extended in the case of newly developed drugs. However, in other industries new-product development continues despite high development costs, a fact that indicates that the extension is unnecessary.

Which of the following, if true, most strongly supports the pharmaceutical industry’s argument against the challenge made above?

(A) No industries other than the pharmaceutical industry have asked for an extension of the 20-year limit on patent protection.
(B) Clinical trials of new drugs, which occur after the patent is granted and before the new drug can be marketed, often now take as long as 10 years to complete.
(C) There are several industries in which the ratio of research and development costs to revenues is higher than it is in the pharmaceutical industry.
(D) An existing patent for a drug does not legally prevent pharmaceutical companies from bringing to market alternative drugs, provided they are sufficiently dissimilar to the patented drug.
(E) Much recent industrial innovation has occurred in products-for example, in the computer and electronics industries-for which patent protection is often very ineffective.

Let’s look at our analysis!

Conclusion: The extension is unnecessary (the 20yr protection doesn’t need to be continued)

Evidence: New-product development continues despite high dev costs in other industries

Assumptions: That there isn’t some reason the pharmaceutical industry is diff. from other industries

The question asks which would support the pharmaceutical industry’s argument. In other words, what would WEAKEN our author’s argument. My prediction is something that shows the pharmaceutical industry is diff. from other industries, and that somehow the trends of other new-product development doesn’t apply to it.

Now let’s review the answer choices:

(A) What other industries have done is irrelevant.
(B) The length of time involving clinical trials would show what sets the pharmaceutical industry apart. Correct!
(C) This would seem to actually support the argument.
(D) Irrelevant to the argument.
(E) This choice does not show why the pharmaceutical industry NEEDS the extension – it just comments that for other industries, patents are ineffective. In a way, this seems to be the opposite of what we are looking for – the assumption being if these other industries don’t need a patent, then the pharmaceutical industry might not need one.

The tricky thing about this question is differentiating between the AUTHOR’s argument and the PHARMACEUTICAL’s argument. The correct answer is (B).