|Selected news articles which highlight important policy issues.||
News: Weekly Archives
News for the week of 08-23-2006
In another California related story, Governor Schwarzenegger and the California legislature have reached an agreement on how to extend new health care entitlements to millions of moderate income Californians: Inflicting price controls on the pharmaceutical industry.
More than 5 million Californians with moderate incomes would receive substantial discounts on prescription medicines under a deal that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Democratic leaders reached over the opposition of the drug industry, negotiators said Tuesday.
It is hard to imagine calling families that earn three times the poverty level as "needy," but California policymakers seem up to the task. It also takes enormous chutzpah for a legislator to call the collective decision of California’s voters "wrong."
This plan will inevitably hurt the patients it was meant to help by reducing industry's incentives to create new medicines and leading them to slow the introduction of new drugs into California's market. A bad decision and a bad law all around.
Group raps FDA panels as 'rubber stamps'
A new report from the National Research Center for Women and Families alleges that FDA advisory committees act as "rubber stamps" for companies seeking to market their products. But the question the study can't answer is: what is the right number of FDA approvals?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's outside advisory panels typically serve as "rubber stamps" for companies seeking approval of drugs and medical devices, according to a nonprofit research group.
Actually, from a consumer point of view, this could be very good news. A high approval rate from the agency's advisory committees could be a sign that the FDA's stringent regulations ensure that only the best new products reach the stage when new drug or device applications are submitted for approval.
Since developing a single new product can take over a decade and cost $1 billion, companies have powerful incentives to weed out dangerous or unpromising candidates early on in the development process. And there is plenty of evidence that they do just that.
Of course, every marketed drug and device (and every medical procedure) comes with risks, some very serious. The need to balance risks and benefits means that the FDA and its committees are always vulnerable to Mondaymorning quarterbacking from critics who think that the agency is too risk averse or too cavalier.
Reasonable observers of FDA approvals (or non approvals) can come to very different conclusions about the utility of these decisions. But calling the FDA or its advisory committees "rubber stamps" for industry is designed to inflame passions, not illuminate issues.
This article provides a fascinating and detailed look into researchers' efforts to revitalize gene therapy after a series of failed efforts (and string of bad press) in recent years.
Gene therapy is making a comeback after a series of serious setbacks that threatened to permanently derail human tests. In recent years, European scientists have cured more than two dozen patients suffering from three rare, and in some cases lethal, immune disorders.
Assembly approves universal health care
California, as usual, is trying to become Europe even as Europe is trying to become more like America. The Democraticcontrolled Legislature is on the verge of sending Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger a bill that would create a staterun universal health care system, testing him on an issue that voters rate as one of their top concerns in this election year.
On a largely partyline 4330 vote, the Assembly approved a bill by state Sen. Sheila Kuehl, DSanta Monica, that would eliminate private medical insurance plans and establish a statewide health insurance system that would provide coverage to all Californians. The state Senate has already approved the plan once and is expected this week to approve changes that the Assembly made to the bill.
Canada's singlepayer health care system is in shambles, as is the National Health Service in the United Kingdom. Countries across Europe are trying to introduce more choice and competition into their state run health care systems to rein in costs and improve quality. California's legislature is doing just the reverse and appears to be on an ideological quest to emulate failure.
|home spotlight commentary research events news about contact links archives|