Friday, June 15, 2007

Did John Edwards sleepwalk through the 20th century?

The reason I ask my title question is because John Edwards apparently knows squat about basic economics:
Edwards' [health care] plan would remove long-term patents for companies that develop breakthrough drugs and then reap large profits because of the monopolies those patents provide, according to a statement by Edwards obtained Wednesday evening.

Edwards said offering cash incentives instead would allow multiple companies to produce those drugs and drive down prices.
Government subsidies are a more efficient way of producing new drugs than the profit motive. What kind of idiot believes that?

Suppose Edwards is correct in assuming the big government payments are an efficient way of developing new drugs compared to big corporate profits. That should mean that countries with a heavily socialist form of goverment should be leading the world in new drug development compared to their competitors. Obviously the reality is entirely the opposite. The capitalist United States rolls out so many new drugs per year that we Americans basically view every medical or even social problem as a golden opportunity for developing a new drug to treat it. On the other hand, Russia (which as the successor state to the communist Soviet Union should be the gold standard of world drug development according to John Edwards) is watching the Russian male slowly become an endangered species as a result of (among other things) epidemics of TB and HIV.

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