Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Economy: Hillary Clinton`s Drug Plan Is A Bad Idea

(Drivebycuriosity) - Hillary Clinton wants to limit the prices for prescription drugs, if she becomes president of the US ( cbs  twitter). I think this is a bad idea.

The Clinton campaign notes "too many American families and seniors are being squeezed by rising drug costs" (cbs). Maybe this populist formulation will get her more votes. But her claim is just gibberish. People are getting older thanks to the rising life expectancy and a better health care. The flip side of the extended life spans are "the rising drug costs". The older you get, the more medical care you need and the more pills you will consume.

There is another reason for "rising drug costs".  The pharma industry has been developing a lot new pills which help to make life - especially in an advanced age -  better. But the more pills are available - and get prescribed - the higher are the expenses for these drugs alltogether.

Clinton ignores that pills save in many cases the high costs of long treatments, including expensive hospital stays, in some cases the pill spares liver transportations which cost triple-digits amounts. And pills often expand the life of the patients and raise the life quality of the patients and their families.

Clinton also ignores that drug companies have to invest a lot of money and take high risks to develop a new pill. Every pill on the US market has to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) who requires a painstaking process of clinical trials which could last years and cost millions of dollars (wikipedia). Usually a new pill has to run through 3 test phases. Each phase could be the end of drug development (sudden death) if the new pill has  too strong side effects - real or alleged - or other risks.

A pill who "survives" the clinical test program has to reward the drug company for taking risks and to compensate for those drugs who didn´t make it. The Oscar awarded movie "Dallas Buyer`s Club" (driveby) deals with the struggle between people who want to use a new life saving drug and the FDA who doesn´t approve the medicament. The film is not only highly entertaining, it also shows how unforgiven and stubborn the FDA fights against new medicaments even when they can save the lives of many. This rigidity raises the costs and risks of creating a new pill substantial and is a main cause for high prices.

We all benefit from new and better medicaments. Today average life spans and life quality are much better than a century ago, partly thanks to pills which have been created in this timespan. Many diseases like diabetes can be controlled or even cured. High profits encourage the drug companies to research and to develop more and better pills, expanding our expectancy of life.

Clinton´s cap on pill prices could slow research and could cap health care, life expectancy and life quality.

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