Two things got me thinking about the upcoming topic.
1) I saw “Into the Woods” recently and there’s a part where the old hermit asks the baker how much $ a son would be worth (he’s trying to have a kid). The baker first thinks this is a insane question, but you can see a small bit of wheel turning going on in his head.
The huge profits that drug companies make mostly get plowed back into R&D to develop the new drugs. When profits start drying up, as they are doing now, less $ goes into R&D and therefore, new drugs are less likely to come by. In fact, at this time, drug companies are having a real hard time coming up with new safe and effective drugs (especially more effective that what’s already out there). Everytime a drug comes out for any disease or problem, the bar is raised that much more for the next one down the road. It either has to perform better or help people who weren’t helped by the first drug. It’s no wonder that development is slowing down, especially for the common disease states. Add to that the fact that many of the blockbuster drugs have their patents expire soon and you can see why pharma has been slashing jobs all over the place.
So the question of whether we want collective bargining power in the US to lower drug prices like they do in the EU also includes the question of whether we are okay with less drug development. I’m fine with that as you know; there are much better places to be spending our medical dollars.
Hat tip to Mike for sending the manifestdensity link.