Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Case in point

New York Times has a New article today on how drug companies aren't fulfilling their promise of making their studies available to the public.

Some of the women I worked with last summer were in favor of state-operated pharmaceutical compaines. Generally I'm uncomfortable with that notion -- I still believe the market can, in many cases, do things better and more efficiently than the government. My chief exception is healthcare, which I whole heartedly believe belongs in the government's, not the market's, hands. But my free-market feelings towards drug companies are changing, and this excerpt isn't stopping that evolution:

Eli Lilly and some other companies have posted hundreds of trial results on the Web and pledged to disclose all results for all drugs they sell. But other drug makers, including Merck and Pfizer, release less information and are reluctant to add more, citing competitive pressures. (Italics mine)

In this case, the market is keeping the companies from disclosing vital information. It's especially troubling because Merck's Vioxx fueled ths controversy more than any other drug. Yet they still refuse to comply.

The pharmaceutical companies don't need to be de-privatized in order to remedy this; we just need the new FDA branch to actually come into existence. If we can establish an arm of the FDA specifically targeting safety and efficacy, many of these problems could be fixed. This new branch is more feasible than ever, thanks to all the controversy, it's up to Congress and the Administration now. Unfortunately that allocation of responsibility doesn't give me much hope.


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