An interesting article in the WaPo about the differences between Avastin and Lucentis.

According to the article, they’re basically the same drug, yet one costs $50 and the other $2000.

Here’s the WaPo claim that I want to focus on:

The story of Genentech’s two drugs, Lucentis and Avastin, began with a scientific marvel — a breakthrough in biology that, thanks to the vast budgets of U.S. entitlement programs, has produced enormous financial returns.

Those profits have yielded benefits. By paying for such drugs without regard to cost, the Medicare system has helped stimulate investment in medical research that contributes to the development of more lifesaving technologies.

The story is: Medicare has deep pockets and those deep pockets have allowed for great innovation of lifesaving technologies.

My question is: what about computers? cell/smart phones? automobiles? In short, everything that isn’t paid for by Medicare? Have we not seen amazing innovation in every sector? And all without government spending to fuel it.

My deeper question: why do people think that healthcare is somehow different than every other market?

If you want to respond to the deeper question by saying something like, “Healthcare is necessary for life in ways that television aren’t,” then I ask this question: Aren’t food and shelter more necessary for life than healthcare, and isn’t there still less government intervention with regards to these two necessities than with healthcare?

-JD Cross

 

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