January 18, 2005

Drug Approvals: Two Ways to Kill

I really wish whoever does lobbying for pharmaceutical firms would figure up a death clock, or rather two death clocks, to accurately illustrate how the current drug approval system tilts toward non-approval. You could tote up all the saved lives as a consequence of drugs approved between 2004-2005 and project back to 2003, figuring out how many people died in 2003 because our drug approval process can't have two years shaved off of it. Then you could provide a much easier to find total of how many people died in 2003 because of drugs that shouldn't have been approved getting on the market.

I suspect that there is a huge disparity between the two figures and that the former is much larger than the latter. In a just, humane society, they'd be roughly in balance and you'd work to drive down the overall figures. Because it's hard to figure blame when a drug is not approved, we have an institutional bias to withhold drugs from the market, creating excess deaths that could have been avoided.

HT: Real Clear Politics and Russell Roberts

Posted by TMLutas at January 18, 2005 05:07 PM