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July 19, 2002
The Dismal Science of Drug Prices
I'm a little disconcerted by Instapundit's endorsement today of the Wellstone drug reimportation bill. My position on this is closer to Andrew Sullivan's (and the reader he quotes here.)
That is to say, I believe prescription drugs aren't correctly priced in Canada and overpriced here. They're underpriced in Canada (and Europe,) and overpriced here to help make up for it. We can argue about individual drugs, and we can argue about just how much one side of the issue balances the other. But I've seen at first hand the amount of money that gets poured into projects that don't lead to a marketed drug, and that money's got to come from somewhere.
That's every single project I've worked on in my 13 years in the industry so far. No, that's an underestimate. I don't think that any of the projects to develop a completely new molecule at any of the companies I've worked for in the last 13 years has made it to market yet. I'm racking my brain, but I can't think of a single one. There are a couple of close calls in there, and a couple that look like they're going to make it, but so far, nothing. That's an insane amount of cash that we're never going to see again, and it's obvious that you can't run forever like that. What's going to give?
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