Tuesday, July 20, 2004

More on the Drug Industry
In The Truth About the Drug Companies, Marcia Angell presents a succinct version of the arguments she presented earlier in the excellent article America's Other Drug Problem (pdf), which was co-written with Arnold S . Relman. The points she makes are:
  • Drug companies increase the price of drugs over the rate of inflation every year.
  • The elderly are worst effected by drug prices.
  • Contrary to company claims, research and development are a relatively small part of their budgets. Marketing and administration take a larger part of the budget, and profits are an even larger part.
  • The drug industry is not particularly innovative.
  • The industry depends on research by American universities and the tax-funded NIH. The Bayh-Dole act made it possible to remove taxpayer-financed discoveries from the public domain.
Angell doesn't mention the way in which American drug companies threaten foreign drug copiers who provide affordable versions of antiretrovirals to treat AIDS. But her forthcoming book may may mention that issue. Angell is former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine. (Thanks to the The Bloviator for the link.)


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