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Punishing drugmakers for doing good
Doug Bandow has written a gem of a business plan for aspiring MBA’s: “Create a company. Spend billions of dollars. Develop life-saving products. Be vilified.”
Sounds good, except for the “be vilified” part. Unfortunately, this is the reality in the pharmaceutical industry right now, where companies are routinely pilloried for not being perfect – rather than lauded for being good.
In no other sector of the market economy are the incentives for enhancing human well-being more closely linked to the profit motive than they are in the pharmaceutical and biotech sectors. Nonetheless, the very same mechanisms that drive medical innovation – profits, patents, and advertising – are the forces that “a gaggle of activists and politicians” denigrate, and then clamor for turning “drugmakers into public utilities” and allowing the government to set price controls for drugs.
Bandow reminds his readers that “medicines lengthen lives, improve the quality of life, and reduce hospitalization and surgery. Americans might prefer to pay less for their medicine. But they will be the biggest losers if they myopically kill the golden pharmaceutical goose.”
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