Why Drugs Are Expensive

A Scientific American blog, via Andrew Sullivan:


Often you will hear people talking about why drugs are expensive: it’s the greedy pharmaceutical companies, the patent system, the government, capitalism itself. All these factors contribute to increasing the price of a drug, but one very important factor often gets entirely overlooked: Drugs are expensive because the science of drug discovery is hard. And it’s just getting harder. In fact purely on a scientific level, taking a drug all the way from initial discovery to market is considered harder than putting a man on the moon, and there’s more than a shred of truth to this contention.

There are, of course, folks who believe that ‘evil pharma’ is out to make a buck at your expense. My thought is, isn’t everything you purchase, from health care to automobiles, brought about by a capitalist motive? People and corporations who are providing what the market demands? What is the alternative? Surely not….

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