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Leading policy-makers and scholars explain how market forces, deregulation, and consumer choice can work to improve health care for all Americans.

Commentary

A prescription for sanity
Mortimer B. Zuckerman, U.S. News & World Report, 11-22-04

We could all use one. Zuckerman’s piece is a well-crafted piece of cold-blooded rationality – a rarity these days. Zuckerman starts out by noting that “the tendency to demonize the drug companies badly confuses just what’s going on in our society”. What is happening is that total drug spending is rising as more prescription drugs are applied to more ailments – not surprising since, according to many public authorities, Americans are widely under-treated for common maladies ranging from depression to heart disease.

Zuckerman notes that Canadian importation may be a “superficially attractive notion”, but “if profits are sharply cut, there will be less money for research and development. Forcing down American drug prices would, by some estimates, produce a cutback on [drug] R&D of as much as 25 to 30 percent.”

His final words of wisdom: “instead of worrying about restraining or reducing drug costs, we should be focusing on staying healthier and achieving better health outcomes. That’s the heart of the matter.”



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