CEPR - Center for Economic and Policy Research


En Español

Em Português

Other Languages

Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press Publicly Supported Drug Research Trumps Patent Supported Research

Publicly Supported Drug Research Trumps Patent Supported Research

Sunday, 14 July 2013 07:11

The NYT ran an interesting piece on the problems of clinical testing. At the end of the piece it suggests a better alternative to patent financed clinical trials. The alternative involves the simultaneous testing of multiple drugs. These trials are being conducted by a consortium supported by the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration, among others. (If the takers didn't call the shots, the drugs approved as a result of this process would all be available as generics. Needless to say, the drug companies probably have this arranged so that the government provides the service for free.)

Comments (3)Add Comment
Clinical Trial Shows One Million Dollar Toilet Seat Efficacious Compared to Nothing
written by Last Mover, July 14, 2013 11:17
The fact that the pharmaceutical companies sponsor and run the bulk of investigative drug trials brings what Dr. Ioannidis calls a “constellation of biases” to the process. Too often, he says, trials are against “a straw-man comparator” like a placebo rather than a competing drug. So the studies don’t really help us understand which treatments for a disease work best.

What a farcical, blatant rejection of the notion of competition and working markets. This is like saying putting someone in the hospital at $15,000 for a mild sprained ankle can result in improvement compared to no treatment at all, therefore hospitals are efficacious because the alternative of a simple compression bandage for $5 was not part of the study.
uh ...
written by David, July 14, 2013 7:14
... so exactly what service is big pharma supplying that costs us twice as much as the rest of the world? We have to pay them twice as much so they can con the feds into running the efficiency research the pharma's are being paid to?

I hear a billions-of-dollars racket!
Sometimes it's about more than the drug companies
written by Jennifer, July 14, 2013 7:42
Actually @last mover that kind of is the point. The way that trials are structured right now, you can't say that the $5 intervention is better than $15,000 intervention-it may be. And we know who would favor the $15,000 intervention don't we? The purpose of this new approach is to compare different approaches against each other in an aggressive, systematic, "fair" (i.e. not setting up any particular intervention to succeed or fail) kind of way.
The Biomarkers Consortium is a "public-private" partnership-according to their website the money for the project/trials is coming from both the pharmaceutical companies and philanthropic type groups/individuals-but is being run by the NIH. It would appear it is not, strictly speaking, being funded by the government.

Even if you had a fully public-funded drug program the fundamental question of what really works is still an issue.


Write comment

(Only one link allowed per comment)

This content has been locked. You can no longer post any comments.


Support this blog, donate
Combined Federal Campaign #79613

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.