Perspective: Pharma’s Outsourcing To China Puts American Lives At Risk
Read recent commentaries about drug-cost issues.
Outsourcing U.S. Drug Manufacturing To China Was A Mistake—A Lethal One
Most products we use include a country-of-origin label, from your Costa Rican fruit to Ethiopian coffee to even your Canadian car doorframe. Unsurprisingly, many of these goods sport the "Made in China" label.While the American public and political leaders have long lamented the exodus of American manufacturing overseas, rarely has it put us in mortal danger. But the COVID-19 pandemic shows how the departure of one specific sector—pharmaceuticals—has left the U.S. dangerously exposed, at a fearsome cost. It has literally cost us lives. The U.S. Government and private industry need to immediately recognize this problem and join together to create a new plan to build and protect manufacturing of life-saving medication domestically. (Lee Rosebush, 5/5)
The Unintended Consequences Of A Proposed Cure For COVID-19
The very discussion of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine as therapeutic options against COVID-19 has decreased their availability for proven treatments, exacerbated global shortages, fueled an already rampant counterfeit drug market in Africa and worsened trade tensions. Each day in Africa, more than 1,000 people die of malaria, in part driven by shortages of these proven anti-malarial treatments. (Samantha McBirney, Sangita Baxi, Krishna B. Kumar and Todd Richmond, 4/29)
Operation Warp Speed Needs To Waste Money On Covid Vaccines
The U.S. may waste a tremendous amount of taxpayer money preparing to produce failed Covid-19 vaccines. That is a smart strategy. The Trump administration is putting together an initiative called Operation Warp Speed, involving companies, government agencies and the military, aimed at collapsing the time required to create a novel vaccine against Covid-19. The goal is to have one ready for most Americans by the end of this year. (Max Nisen, 4/30)
What Do High Drug Prices Buy Us?
US patients pay far more for the same brand-name drugs than do patients in other affluent countries; these prices are often well out of proportion to the clinical benefits they offer. Recent legislation passed by the House of Representatives would give the federal government the authority to negotiate prices on a modest number of costly brand-name medications, based on factors such as the drug’s effectiveness, the adequacy of alternative treatments, and market size. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that such negotiation would reduce taxpayer spending on prescription drugs by about $456 billion over 10 years. (Richard G. Frank, Jerry Avorn and Aaron S. Kesselheim, 4/29)
Our Drug Discovery System Seems Broken
COVID-19 is causing odd behaviour on the part of some firms. Drug companies with remedies to sell, or who hope for a remedy or vaccine, are making conciliatory gestures of great generosity in the markets for their products. Gilead Sciences Inc. has one of the most promising treatments, Remdesivir. It petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to retract the “orphan drug” designation benefiting Remdesivir and in any event has waived the exclusive rights, tax deductions and regulatory benefits that attend that designation, which allows preferential treatment of drugs for rare diseases. (Richard C. Owens, 5/5)
Drug Price Controls Could Stifle New Drug Development
The U.S. faces a dilemma. It can either continue the economic shutdown to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus, or it can open up the economy and risk accelerating the number of cases. Neither option is attractive. People will suffer and die in both scenarios. States across the country are beginning to open up their economies to various degrees. President Donald Trump, who wants to start opening the economy back up as soon as possible, recently laid out a three-phase timeline to do so. He reiterated his admonishment that the cure of shutting down the economy can’t be worse than the disease. (Dr. Nicole Johnson, 4/30)