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Monday, January 24, 2011

More Bang for Your Buck

Those who wish to repeal the recently passed healthcare reform law have philosophical objections to what they perceive as governmental "overreach." They believe that market-based solutions are best. Yesterday, an article announced that the federal government was going to spend approximately a billion dollars on a center to develop new drugs. Why? Because drug companies "have neither the will nor the resources to undertake the effort" to develop drugs for things like Parkinson's disease.

Really? Maybe if the drug companies spent a little less money on marketing--which typically costs the companies twice as much as research--they might have more "resources" to spend on developing drugs for pernicious diseases. Apparently they don't have the "will" to do that.

We applaud the government's efforts to support important research into potentially life-saving medications. The part that bothers us is the ultimate commercialization of the efforts:

“None of this is intended to be competitive with the private sector,” Dr. [Francis S.]Collins [the Director of the National Institutes of Health] said. “The hope would be that any project that reaches the point of commercial appeal would be moved out of the academic support line and into the private sector.”
So, if we read this correctly, with this new center, the government will do the heavy lifting--the research that the drug companies, despite enormous profits, don't want to do. Then, once the research is completed--or at least once the huge payout is within easy reach--the government turns things over to the drug companies. They can then efficiently spend even more of their budgets to market back to the consumers the drugs that their own tax dollars have helped to develop.

"Federal Research Center Will Help Develop Medicines"

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