Drug Price Crisis

Posted on March 18, 2008  Comments (3)

In 2005 I posted about some of the problems with drug pricing. It is nice to find at least a couple of people at MIT that want to have MIT focus research on the public good instead of private profit. As I have mentioned too many universities now act like they are for-profit drug or research companies. That is wrong. Drug companies can do so, institutions with purported higher purposes should not be driven to place advancing science below profiting the institution.

Solving the drug price crisis

The mounting U.S. drug price crisis can be contained and eventually reversed by separating drug discovery from drug marketing and by establishing a non-profit company to oversee funding for new medicines, according to two MIT experts on the pharmaceutical industry.

Following the utility model, Finkelstein and Temin propose establishing an independent, public, non-profit Drug Development Corporation (DDC), which would act as an intermediary between the two new industry segments — just as the electric grid acts as an intermediary between energy generators and distributors.

The DDC also would serve as a mechanism for prioritizing drugs for development, noted Finkelstein. “It is a two-level program in which scientists and other experts would recommend to decision-makers which kinds of drugs to fund the most. This would insulate development decisions from the political winds,” he said.

I see their idea as one worth trying. Lets see how it works. Their book: Reasonable Rx – Solving the Drug Price Crisis by Stan Finkelstein and Peter Temin

Related: USA Spent $2.1 Trillion on Health Care in 2006Measuring the Health of NationsAntibiotics Too Often Prescribed for Sinus Woes$600 Million for Basic Biomedical Researcharticles on improving the health care system

3 Responses to “Drug Price Crisis”

  1. Ian Furst
    March 18th, 2008 @ 11:36 am

    Can’t imagine it every happening — first I think it would slow drug development because the companies are the ones that really drive it. Second a lot of universities/academics depend on the money that comes from the pharmaceutical companies for research. Great idea in an ideal world but I’d be surprised to see it happen.

  2. john Dowd
    March 19th, 2008 @ 1:48 am

    Interesting. When I lived in Thailand, drugs cost a fraction of what they do here. Far less than half as much and those were purchased from a pharmacy that is still making a profit. These were not locally manufactured substitutes. They are the same as one buys here, in the U. S. manufacturers packaging with instructions in English.

    It is fascinating to receive care that is as good or better than care I have received from U. S. hospitals at a small fraction of the cost. Most people say it is the inexpensive cost of manpower, and that is a factor but a CBC lab test is done these days by machine and takes seconds. Why does it cost $300 in the U. S. and only $50 dollars (approx) in Thailand. Same test, same machine, seconds worth of labor.

    An ultrasound given to me at Bumrungrad Hospital in Bangkok cost about $175 and was administered by a radiologist (MD) and I get ther results the same day. Here at a local hospital (unnamed) it costs over $500, it is done by a technician (who I am sure is competent) and I have to wait over a week for the results.

  3. Anonymous
    July 21st, 2009 @ 6:51 am

    It is fascinating to receive care that is as good or better than care I have received from U. S. hospitals at a small fraction of the cost. Most people say it is the inexpensive cost of manpower, and that is a factor but a CBC lab test is done these days by machine and takes seconds. Why does it cost $300 in the U. S. and only $50 dollars (approx) in Thailand. Same test, same machine, seconds worth of labor.

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