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As the outbreak of a novel coronavirus accelerates in China, and sporadic cases appear elsewhere in Asia, North America, Australia, and Europe, there is intense interest in the development of a vaccine, and several U.S. drugmakers have begun working on them with the National Institutes of Health. As the Wall Street Journal noted in a Jan. 30 editorial, “It took scientists 20 months to develop a SARS vaccine to test on humans, but the NIH hopes to have a vaccine ready for human trials...

Business impact widens as China fights to get infections under control By: Anjalee Khemlani, Yahoo! Finance Feb. 7, 2020 China’s deadly coronavirus outbreak continues to threaten multi-national companies, as a range of businesses from leisure to retail suffer from the outbreak’s after-effects. The number of confirmed cases in the country surged past 31,000 Friday, well beyond three times the number of cases last week. While the number of new cases daily have dipped slightly, World Health Organization officials said on Friday the organization’s not...

As the cases of the Wuhan coronavirus (formally 2019-nCoV) continue to increase, and China and other countries aggressively perform screening, isolation, treatment and tracking of patients’ contacts, demand for various essential medical items is unprecedented, and shortages have been reported. For example, American dentists, who go through large numbers of surgical masks daily, are already finding their supply chain interrupted. Ironically, most of the world’s supply of masks and respirators, along with other materials essential for health care, comes from manufacturers in...

Swiss drugmaker Novartis recently launched a lottery-style program to allocate free doses of Zolgensma, its groundbreaking treatment for children with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), to patients in countries that haven't approved the drug. But with a $2.1 million price tag, Zolgensma is inaccessible to some patients even where it has been approved. The prohibitive cost has been a source of criticism since the drug was approved. In a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Acting Commissioner last August, five U.S. senators, including presidential...

The White House Council of Economic Advisors just issued a damning indictment of a House bill (H.R. 3) designed to lower drug prices. According to White House economists, the measure endorsed by Nancy Pelosi and her fellow House Democrats could prevent the development of 100 new drugs over the next ten years. CEA concluded "the threat [the bill] poses to continued medical innovation will harm American patients in ways that far outweigh any benefits." This analysis is spot-on. That's why it's so surprising that...

The outbreak of infections from a novel virus that appears to have originated in Central China has elicited a storm of commentary, much of it uninformed. Opinions have ranged from predictions of a worldwide apocalypse to dismissal of quarantines and “social distancing” as a kind of public relations stunt by the Chinese government—neither of which is likely to be true. Even at this early and rapidly evolving stage of the outbreak, science can and should inform our actions. I have what...

Trump administration officials keep searching for solutions to rising prescription drug prices, which are increasing faster than inflation. “Drug makers and companies are not living up to their commitments on pricing. Not being fair to the consumer, or to our Country!” President Donald Trump tweeted last year. However, it’s hard to know what “fair” prices are. After all, pharmaceutical research and development is expensive and high risk. Bringing a drug to market may take 10 or more years and costs, on average, more than $2.5...

Much of the progress in medicine during the past half-century has involved expensive, high-tech diagnostic tests and therapies. The trend in this direction worries health economists and politicians because it has the potential to send already high health care costs into the stratosphere. Health care spending in 2017 reached $3.5 trillion, or a whopping 17.9% of the nation’s gross domestic product, according to government statistics. However, there is an important role as well for ingenious, low-tech, less-expensive approaches to improved health...

Dr. Wayne Winegarden, director of PRI’s Center for Medical Economics and Innovation, breaks down recently-proposed plans in Washington and Sacramento that emphasize price caps and more government control to address prescription drug prices. He discusses the conclusions of his new study on America’s drug pricing challenge, which makes the case that system-wide reforms to improve the complex drug supply chain and increase transparency are what’s needed to lower health care costs. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXSIkIWH3X4[/embed]...

As each new year begins, the increases in the list prices of drugs are announced. And, following these announcements, the political class complains that something must be done. This year, following the price announcements, Speaker Nancy Pelosi tweeted “Enough is enough” while Senator Grassley emphasized that a “call to action” on drug prices is needed. Undoubtedly, there are real problems. Unfortunately, the politicians seem more interested in espousing simple talking points rather than effective actions that would simultaneously promote innovation and...

China has become the world's largest producer and exporter of "active pharmaceutical ingredients," the base components drug companies use to manufacture most of the medications we rely on. China's dominance puts both the health of Americans and our national security at risk. According to the findings of a new report from the U.S.-China Economic Security Review Commission, which was established by Congress in 2000, China's pharmaceutical industry "is not effectively regulated by the Chinese government" and has been responsible for a...

Biosimilars could generate savings of about $116 million in New Jersey annually—including the state’s Medicaid program and patients with commercial insurance, according to a new issue brief by the Center for Medical Economics and Innovation at the Pacific Research Institute. Nationwide, those annual savings could reach $7 billion. PRI is a San Francisco-based free-market think tank. “We broke it down so you can look at it by state total and then breakout how much is for Medicaid which is directly applicable...

Once wide coercive powers are given to government agencies…such powers cannot be effectively controlled. F.A. Hayek As part of the chorus calling for drug price controls, the New York Times editorial page has claimed that “Americans will need to accept a trade-off that other advanced nations long since come around to: Slightly fewer new drugs will come to market, in exchange for better prices on the medications that already exist”. There is not one part of this statement that is true. Worse, if the Times’...

Did you catch the story about the swarm of 25,000 bees that had to be captured and removed (by a special police unit, no less) from the Staten Island Ferry Station in New York City? After many years of media reports about honeybees and wild bees dying off, you’d think they were nearly extinct — so what were 25,000 of them doing at a ferry terminal in one of the world’s most densely populated cities? Maybe they heard that New York was...

Influenza, “the flu,” is more than a bad cold.  Seasonal outbreaks yearly cause not only tremendous misery and debility but huge numbers of hospital admissions and deaths. The last flu season, which ran from October 2018 until May 2019, caused up to 42.9 million flu illnesses, up to 647,000 hospitalizations and up to 61,200 flu deaths, according to preliminary numbers from the CDC. Those figures are only slightly higher than the average over the past decade. What can we expect this year? Well,...

In September 2018, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) sent an email announcing that it would no longer cover Auryxia®. Auryxia® is an FDA approved medicine that treats iron deficiency anemia (anemia) for patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) but who are not on dialysis. People with CKD have damaged kidneys that no longer filter their blood properly. Currently, 30 million people in the U.S. are living with CKD, and for these patients, anemia is common. If left untreated,...

Despite their abysmal track record, government solutions are back in vogue. Ostensibly, government’s scale, leverage, and freedom from profit will unlock potential health care savings that are beyond the reach of the private sector. At their most extreme, reforms such as “Medicare for all” call for a complete government takeover of the health care system. Proponents of single payer reforms claim that only a complete government takeover of the health care sector can eliminate the health care sector’s inefficiencies and ensure 100 percent...