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DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: derekb.lowe@gmail.com Twitter: Dereklowe

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In the Pipeline: Don't miss Derek Lowe's excellent commentary on drug discovery and the pharma industry in general at In the Pipeline

In the Pipeline

« Talk, Cheap and Otherwise | Main | You'll Only Get Answers »

July 19, 2002

The Dismal Science of Drug Prices

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Posted by Derek

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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