Issues

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...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=so744sbVJ_E Dr. Henry Miller, senior fellow with PRI’s Center for Medical Economics and Innovation, joins PRI's "Next Round" podcast to discuss the Wuhan Coronavirus. We explore a wide variety of topics related to this public health crisis, including how people get the illness and how it is being treated, how the Chinese and U.S. governments are working to combat it, the prospects for the rapid development of a vaccine, how social media disinformation is fueling the crisis, and how concerned Americans...

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...

Drug supply chain, pricing system reforms will slash healthcare costs, says PRI By Jeff Lagasse As the Trump administration pushes for price caps and government controls to address prescription drug prices, a new issue brief released by the Center for Medical Economics and Innovation at the Pacific Research Institute contends that reforming the complex drug supply chain and ending the current drug pricing system that overcharges patients – along with systemwide reforms – are what's needed to lower America's healthcare costs. Many proposals have been...

Twenty-five years ago, the leading cause of death for adults between the ages of 25 and 44 was complications from HIV. At the time, 50,000 Americans were dying from AIDS-related causes a year, with the African American community particularly hard hit – 49 percent of the people dying from AIDS-related deaths were African Americans. Today, thanks to highly active antiretroviral therapies (HAART), along with other medical advances, people with HIV like basketball great Magic Johnson are living longer and healthier lives. And,...

A recent New York Times editorial about the Food and Drug Administration reflects a systematic weakness at the once-venerable Gray Lady: The members of the editorial board often rely on sloganeering and popular wisdom instead of substantive evidence. The editorial was headlined, “The FDA Is in Trouble. Here’s How to Fix It.” The agency is in trouble. But it’s due to the very kinds of “fixes” the Times recommends. The FDA is highly bureaucratic and risk averse, leading to a slow and expensive drug approval...

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...

As Washington pushes for price caps and government controls to address prescription drug prices, a new issue brief released today by the Center for Medical Economics and Innovation at the Pacific Research Institute argues that reforming the complex drug supply chain and ending the current drug pricing system that overcharges patients – along with system-wide reforms – are what’s needed to lower America’s health care costs. “Politicians are promoting drug price caps and increased regulation in a futile attempt to increase...

Yesterday the House passed the ill-considered “Pelosi bill” that would impose draconian price controls on drugs. Ignoring the bill’s many adverse impacts, price control advocates like Speaker Pelosi appear to believe that these command and control schemes can solve the systemic health care affordability problem. But, as the latest government data illustrates, such efforts are a fool’s errand. Consider that back in 1960 national health expenditures equaled 5.0% of GDP. Health expenditures have been growing faster than the economy ever since reaching 17.7%...

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...