27 January 2011

Saving the Taxpayers Money

The New York Times of January 22 reports that the Obama administration has created a “billion-dollar government drug development center to help create medicines” as part of the federally funded National Institutes of Health.
According to the article, its rationale is to undertake research leading to the commercial development of drugs that has mysteriously lagged in the U.S. The article makes no mention of the regulatory costs drug firms face. The moving force behind this new center is NIH Director Francis Collins, famously (and embarrassingly) associated as runner-up in the Human Genome Project to Craig Ventner’s privately funded effort.

Well that’s funny.  I seem to remember a certain president talking about how America needed to more competitive.  In a speech about a union, if I’m not mistaken.  I think it had to do with the state thereof.

Anyway, if the president were actually committed to ensuring that America leads the way in drug creation, he would do well to do everything he could to make sure that the government got out of people’s way.  By this, I mean that he should just go ahead and abolish the FDA.

The insidious thing about putting the government in charge of inventing drugs is that it will end up becoming a virtual monopoly, mostly because the government just hates competition.
Also, it will likely end up circumventing its own laws and bowing to corruption.  I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that it winds up faking studies.

It will also eventually be governed by political pandering.  I would imagine that there comes a point where the only drugs that get funded are the ones that attempt to cure whatever diseases can pull the most political support.

Sadly, all the government needs to do to avoid this outcome is deregulate.  This promotes systemic efficiency and saves the taxpayer money.  Naturally, this proposal has no chance of ever happening.

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