Innovation

On this page, you’ll find the Center’s analysis on how free-market policies can better balance the competing interests of medical innovation and competition. Here, you’ll find our research and commentary on such issues as patents, research and development spending, and reforms that will promote more robust competition.

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...

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...

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...

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...

“Three hundred forty-five billion dollars in savings versus the cost of eight to 15 fewer drugs over 10 years, I frankly think it’s worth it.” Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL), hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee In the above quote, Representative Soto is defending H.R. 3, the drug price control bill Speaker Nancy Pelosi is advocating. While the Congressman believes that the costs of price controls are “worth it”, patients living with diseases that lack an effective treatment may disagree. While there has...

Every so often, we scientists encounter something that is so misguided, so wrong-headed, so perfectly idiotic it takes our breath away. It offends us. Such an example is a docudrama film called “Modified.” Disguised as a tender, sentimental story of a Canadian woman learning over many years from her mother the value of home-grown, homemade food—a sort of culinary version of “Anne of Green Gables”—it is nothing more than an anti-social screed providing fodder for the anti-science, anti-corporate echo-chamber that...

Biosimilars have the opportunity to bring significant savings to state Medicaid programs and consumers with commercial insurance according to a new study released today by Pacific Research Institute. “Every state would experience significant savings in the state Medicaid programs from expanding the use of biosimilars compared to the more expensive originator biologics,” said Dr. Wayne Winegarden, director of PRI’s Center for Medical Economics and Innovation and author of the new issue brief on biosimilars. “The same benefits will also accrue to...

The U.S. economy thrives on innovation. According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, industries that intensively rely on intellectual property (IP) protections, which includes the biopharmaceutical industry, account for nearly 40 percent of the U.S. economy and are responsible for an outsized share of our overall economic growth. Beyond the growth benefits, innovations improve our lives in countless ways. From mobile technologies inaptly called “mobile phones” to cutting-edge medicines that treat formerly incurable diseases, innovation helps us live better lives. Within this...

In its international edition on April 25, the New York Times ran a blatantly anti-Semitic political cartoon that portrayed a blind President Trump wearing a yarmulke being led by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was depicted as a dog wearing a collar with a star of David. It was, of course, outrageous, and seemed to me symptomatic of the Times' cluelessness about many things. Putting it another way, its editors, reporters, and columnists often don't know what they don't know....

Gene therapies are transformative treatments that fundamentally differ from traditional medical and pharmaceutical options because they modify a patient’s DNA in order to address the genetic causes of diseases. These therapies have the potential to dramatically improve the lives of millions of Americans living with life-threatening or life-altering diseases. Since gene therapies directly address the genetic causes of diseases, doctors and scientists anticipate that these therapies will be cures. If successful, the goal will no longer be simply treating these devastating diseases...

Gene therapies have the potential to dramatically improve the lives of millions of Americans living with life-threatening diseases. Watch the video to learn how policy obstacles are standing in the way of making gene therapies a reality for millions. [vc_video link="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCW-E9i_jP8"]...

Congress could soon vote on legislation that would gut America’s intellectual property laws. The bill isn’t just bad news for big pharmaceutical companies that hold lucrative patents. It’s terrible news for patients — medical research spending would dry up without strong patent protections. Americans could lose out on cures for cancer, heart disease, and other deadly chronic conditions. The proposed law would target patented drugs sold through Medicare’s Part D prescription drug program. Right now, private insurance companies design Part D plans...

By Mia Zaharna, MD and Henry I. Miller, M.S., M.D. Insomnia is a common and often frustrating sleep disorder that can make it hard to fall asleep, to stay asleep, or cause you to wake up too early and not be able to get back to sleep. It can adversely affect your health, work performance, and quality of life. It can also be hard to treat, even by experts — but help, in the form of technology, is on the way. Although...

Despite the constant barrage of negative news, this is an exciting time for patients. Truly innovative medicines and gene therapies are under development. New gene therapies are particularly exciting because these therapies do not just treat diseases – they often cure them by fixing underlying genetic defects, frequently with only one dose. There is great optimism that these fundamentally new therapies will, ultimately, cure diseases like hemophilia and sickle cell disease, and even many ultra-rare diseases that were previously untreatable. Take...

Government solutions often come with a price. For the America Invents Act (AIA), this price was an unintended impediment to medical innovation. Proposed legislation known as the Hatch-Waxman Integrity Act can reduce these costs, if Congress takes advantage of the opportunity. The problem of patent trolls plaguing Silicon Valley was a well-documented, and troubling, problem. Patent trolls are entities that obtain patents, often obscure patents, for the sole purpose of filing lawsuits in court. The troll then uses the threat of...

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., recently proposed bills that would impose price controls on prescription drugs. The legislation would require pharmaceutical companies to sell their medicines in the United States for no more than the median price charged in five countries – Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Japan. If companies refuse to cut prices in the United States, the federal government could revoke existing patents or market exclusivities and allow generic drug manufacturers to sell knockoff copies...

Animal products used in or on humans have been an invaluable part of medical practice for almost a century. Examples include animal insulins to treat diabetes and pig heart valves transplanted into humans. A related medical breakthrough was just published on Dec. 5 in the journal "Nature": Genetically modified pig hearts transplanted into baboons can function long-term, a major step towards the clinical use of pig donor hearts in human patients. But suppose bioethicists objected, on the grounds that such mixing of...

Seasonal outbreaks of the flu cause thousands of deaths even in a good year, and the last flu season, 2017-2018, was a terrible one. It killed 80,000 Americans and sent 900,000 to the hospital, making it the worst influenza season in decades. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), show how much of an outlier it was: Previously, seasonal outbreaks since 2010, had killed between 12,000 and 56,000 and caused between 140,000 and 710,000 hospitalizations. Statistics like that can seem impersonal,...