And attack it we do!

Here is a simple question for you. Why do we see no breakthrough drugs from South Africa? Why so few miracle drugs from the likes of Russia and China and India? All of Europe produces few blockbuster new drugs to cure or control diseases that ravage people.

Why is this?

All these countries produce literature from their own people.  Indians churn out movies, the French drama.  The Chinese make movies. Yet few new drugs come from these countries.

So much research for new drugs takes place at universities and hospitals.  These countries all boast fine universities and hospitals.  But they cannot boast they produce much in the way of exciting new drugs.

Related to the shortage of drugs from elsewhere is the shortage of achievement.  Since 1970 more Nobel Prizes for work in medicine and physiology have gone to researchers in America than in all other countries combined.  Yes, all other countries combined.

What is going on here?  Is there a drug-making gene that exists among researchers in America?  Why would one country shine so and succeed beyond all the other countries of the world combined?  Is America so different from other countries that this difference produces miracle drugs?



Yes, America is that different.

The difference is that we have traditionally allowed drug companies to make a lot of profit.  And the drug companies have used the profits to pay for research and development of new drugs.

Government pays for theoretical health research.  But governments around the world do too.  The difference is that here the drug companies have the money to also pay for the research. They have the profits.

And so, Scott Atlas of the Hoover Institution is able to report an amazing thing: The top five American hospitals conduct more clinical trials than all the hospitals in all other developed countries. Think of that.

Do we need any further evidence that our system is superior to those of other countries? If it is, then why on earth is our government attacking it?

Our system, fueled by drug company profits, has saved tens of millions of lives around the globe. Countless people owe their health and lives to the drugs that come from the American drug development system.

Then why do we attack it?  And attack it we do.  From the President on down, our administration and members of Congress have demonized our drug companies.  They have portrayed them as greedy profit seekers. Government officials boast how they force drug companies to lower their prices, thereby squeezing their profits.

We had politicians promote bills to allow drugs, made here, to be shipped back to America from countries where their prices were lower.  Those prices are lower because those countries government-run health systems forced prices lower.  They care nothing about profits for the drug companies because the firms are not located within their borders.  Our politicians cared nothing about them either.

The proposed healthcare bill will push many millions of Americans into government insurance plans.  With millions in their plans, government will exert even more pressure on drug companies to trim their profits.  With fewer profits those companies will reduce their work on new drugs, no question. 

This is about as clear an example you could find of throttling the goose that lays the golden egg.  Cripple the American drug development system and you literally cripple millions of people around the world.  Kill off parts of it and you kill off patients who might live if only someone might find the right drug to save them.

Does the word “profit” blind us so much that we will agree to starve our miracle-making drug development system?  Stay tuned.

From Tom ... as in Morgan.                  

For more columns and for Tom’s radio shows (and to write to Tom): tomasinmorgan.com.

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