Tuesday, August 19, 2008

How much is Megan paid to be a pharmaceutical lobbyist?

it'd be nice if she were honest about it.

What's the matter with Massachussetts?

I know this is going to sound crazy controversial, but the reason that healthcare companies innovate is to make a profit. And those profits are the first thing that politicians target when they aim to keep costs down. Sadly, so far there's little recorded success with things like drug and medical equipment development outside of the private sector.
Except, of course, for the entirety of medical science before Big Pharma arose in, what, I'm guessing sometime in the 50s, and for all the achievements that governmental and academic research here and across the fucking globe have accomplished. Big Pharma sure has come up with a lot of boner pills, tho, you've got to give them that.
Dean Baker is proposing that the government should set up a parallel system, to prove how awesome it can be at drug development. Perhaps surprisingly, I agree--we should have empirical validation of the notion that the market is better at drug development. But the metric has to be the same as for private companies: an actual drug that people take. Drug development is not, as the activists screaming that the NIH "really" invents all the drugs, a simple matter of finding a target that might have some effect on a disease. Once you've found a target, you need a molecule that will hit it. And not just any molecule. It has to be small enough to dose orally, unless you're developing a short-term treatment for something really gnarly like cancer. It has to make it into the blood at detectable levels without gettng [sic] chewed up by the liver. Once in the blood, it has to do what you expect, which it often doesn't, and not do anything you don't expect, like kill the patients. It has to be cost-effective to manufacture, which means not only finding reasonably cheap ingredients and a short process, but also something that scales up to produce in industrial quantities--it's no good having a great molecule that can only be produced in .5 milligram lots by a team of devoted chemists. And oh, it has to improve the lives of enough people to make it worth all the research you've invested. Once you've nailed all that, and a few things I've forgotten, you have a drug. Until then, you have a maybe interesting chemical.
And the only way to accomplish this is to make business executives obscenely rich. There's just no other way.


NutellaonToast said...

What the hell is wrong with her? She just randomly says science stops at concept and the market takes over at trials?

Researches spend plenty of time going from idea to final product. She is just an idiot.

Chad said...

Yet another bit of proof that most Libertarian arguments really do boil down to, "Businesses are just so much better at providing services than government agencies! Why? God, it's, like, so obvious! Duh!"

M. Bouffant said...

"And oh, it has to improve the lives of enough people to make it worth all the research you've invested."

Absolutely. Wouldn't do any good to cure something that doesn't afflict every fifty-plus person w/ insurance & a high-income who watches the nightly network news.

Also: Does she not see a difference between HMOs, PPOs, & the health insurance industry in general, & pharmaceutical R&D?

What if the insurance cos. try to pull some socialist crap like negotiating for lower bulk purchase prices for all the wonder drugs? Would we then need gov't. interference to keep the market "free?" (Or the unearned & undeserved profits high?)