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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press Drug Patents Give Companies Like GlaxoSmithKline Incentive to Lie

Drug Patents Give Companies Like GlaxoSmithKline Incentive to Lie

Thursday, 15 July 2010 22:10

A NYT editorial commented on evidence that the drug maker GlaxoSmithKline had concealed negative research findings on its diabetes drug Avandia:

"The clearest lesson to emerge from the hearings and other recent revelations is that GlaxoSmithKline, the maker of Avandia, can’t be trusted to report adverse clinical results fairly. The company must be watched like a hawk as additional trials that it sponsors go forward."

Arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Doesn't the NYT believe in the profit motive and incentives? The patent system, by granting monopolies that raise prices several thousand percent above the cost of production, gives drug companies an enormous incentive to conceal negative research findings. As long as these perverse incentives exist, then we have to watch every drug company like a hawk.

Maybe some wacko socialists think that drug companies will act for the public good and willingly forego vast profits, but those who believe on markets and economics know that drug companies will try to get away with anything they can get away with. One day maybe an iota of original thought will be allowed into public policy debates on the patent system, but we haven't gotten there yet. 

Comments (9)Add Comment
written by Queen of Sheba, July 15, 2010 10:39
Socialists, even wacko Socialists, don't believe that any for-profit corporation will "act for the public good and willingly forego vast profits." Socialists don't trust any corporations further than the access they have to the corporate books. Delusional idealogues, maybe, but not Socialists.

Socialists would gladly aid in the takedown of a corporation that traded product safety for profits if any of our "leaders" had the gumption to give it a try. Trouble is, there aren't any gutsy leaders and not nearly enough Socialists to make it happen.

There aren't even enough honest journalists to inform the public of the patent scams the drug companies use to put patients' lives in danger.
Speaking of wackos...
written by Rich2506, July 15, 2010 11:47
Pam Geller of Atlas Shrugs tells us that the economy collapsed at the end of 2007 because the Obama Administration-to-be was engaging in an October Surprise conspiracy! http://world-o-crap.com/blog/?cat=28

"The 2008 Democrat October Surprise that ushered in the first hardcore radical post-American president in American history was the “economic collapse.” Oh yes, that was a beaut."
our government is sponsored by glaxo
written by frankenduf, July 16, 2010 8:07
oy vey- doesn't the nyt believe in context?- fact is, glaxo was already sued for covering up research implicating paxil as dangerous, and so this "lesson" is historically redundant- and, as any research 101 class will tell you, any study 'sponsored' by a drug company is suspect because of bias, regardless of past behavior or patents or naive starstruck reporters
written by fuller schmidt, July 16, 2010 9:33
Thank you, Dean, for continually refreshing for us the solutions to the health-care crisis in your valuable "Conservative Nanny-State".
written by izzatzo, July 16, 2010 10:29
The standard libertarian position on this issue is that it's all caused by the FDA. The supposedly tough safety regulations create a "gold standard" that acts as a barrier to entry, thus protecting Big Pharma from competition, also presented as a barrier to consumer choice by those who want to take more risk for potential cures.

Baker's position that patents instead are driving the problem draws hysterical cries of even more government intervention and claimed failure, but interestingly they never refute his simple observation that when unit price is tens, hundreds or even thousands of times over unit production cost, the result is massive inefficiency and perverse incentives.

They're stuck in the traditional carrot and stick framework of incentives that has broken down completely in this market, that patents are necessary before any drugs would be developed and produced at all, because they can't grasp that carrots can come from other sources.
More perp walks, please
written by urban legend, July 19, 2010 4:04
People should be going to jail -- including those who are just "following orders" even as we focus on the ones giving them. No Club Feds for the order-issuers. Civil liability or even criminal corporate liability would seem to fundamentally inadequate as a deterrent.
timberland shoes store
written by timberland for you , September 11, 2010 3:50
Tucked away in our timberland for you subconscious is an idyllic vision. We see ourselves on a long trip that timberland 6 inch spans the continent. YQ
written by chloromycetin, October 29, 2010 11:19
Chloramphenicol works by preventing bacteria from producing proteins that are essential to them. Without these proteins the bacteria cannot grow, replicate and increase in numbers.
written by generic avandia, October 29, 2010 11:19
Therefore, Avandia should not be used in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus or for the treatment of diabetic ketoacidosis. • The coadministration of Avandia and insulin is not recommended. • The use of Avandia with nitrates is not recommended

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.