A Sadly Plausible Future

From Reason Magazine, a look at where the economics of medical research and development are heading, thanks to the ever-increasing adverse effects of regulation: "At the beginning of the last decade, there was great excitement about the future of medicine. Advances in biotechnology, nanotechnology, diagnostics, information technology, stem cell treatments, vaccines, and organ transplants were poised to radically improve the health prospects of Americans. Looking back from 2020, we can see that most of these major biomedical advances failed to materialize. What happened? Three words: health care reform. ... Big pharmaceutical companies initially did fairly well under health care reform, but as the cost of health care rose partly as a result of covering more Americans, Congress enacted legislation allowing government health care schemes to 'negotiate' pharmaceutical prices. The negotiation requirement quickly devolved into price controls that have ultimately turned the big drugmakers into little more than cost-plus government contractors. In addition, the feds have established a comparative effectiveness evaluation commission similar to the British National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence which limits patient access to treatments based on their overall cost-effectiveness. The result of these restrictions is that investments in pharmaceutical and biotech research and development have fallen off sharply. ... The seen aspect of health care reform is that it has had some success in providing more Americans with access to vintage 2010 medical therapies. The unseen aspect is that more people are suffering from and dying of diseases that might well have been cured."

Link: http://reason.com/archives/2010/03/23/health-care-2020

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