It seems that the government does not think that the Pharmaceutical Companies are doing enough to develop new drugs so they have decided to invest a billion dollars in giving them a helping hand with R & D.
Rather odd in my opinion! Having the tax payer fund more R & D work for the pharmaceutical companies doesn’t really make a lot of sense, especially when the funds allocated for this will be at the expense of other sectors within the health care.
At the moment the pharmaceutical companies really don’t do a lot of R & D anyway. The figures that they give for R & D is quite distorted. The majority of the R & D is done by publicly or privately funded universities or institutes.
This is how it works:
When a research facility comes up with a promising new drug the Pharma companies do a deal to secure the rights to that drug and pay a royalty to the research facility. They take over the project and fund the required clinical trials needed in order to get the drug to market. That is where their R & D dollars go…plus a significant proportion of their other costs are also put in the R & D ‘bucket’ to make them look better.
Virtually all the drugs that come on to the market these days are developed by parties other than the big name Pharma companies.
It would appear that there has been some serious lobbying by ‘you know who’ to have this billion dollars allocated to giving the pharmaceutical companies a hand out. Maybe they have been learning from the banking industry?
Imagine the benefits that would accrue to the general population if that billion dollars was allocated to educating the people what they need to do in order to avoid becoming sick in the first place…or, perhaps letting the people know some of the truths about some of these wonder drugs…such as the statins?
How many people know that taking a statin might help reduce the risk of a heart ‘event’ by a fraction of a percent but actually increase your risk of mortality from factors such as cancer? Not many. In fact, most Doctors don’t even know! But, the evidence is there if one cares to dig deep enough. I will expand on that statement in another short blog item.
To read more about the new ‘Drug Development Center’ please click here. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/23/health/policy/23drug.html