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View Diary: Health Care Is the Bomb in Your Living Room (68 comments)

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  •  Blame (2+ / 0-)
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    gkn, yoduuuh do or do not

    My beef lies with the pharmaceutical companies - and the inundation of advertisements for the drug du jour -- Especially the ads suggesting that if you're not having sex every night there's something wrong with you.

    But I do have a question -- I've always thought that the U.S. puts so much into research and development that that drives our costs up.  Is that a factor?

    •  Pharma Blame (3+ / 0-)
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      meg, roseba, gkn

      But I do have a question -- I've always thought that the U.S. puts so much into research and development that that drives our costs up.  Is that a factor?

      Yes, it's a factor. But not as big a factor as the drug companies would have you believe. A much bigger factor are their outrageous marketing costs -- everything from huge sales staffs to all those TV ads.

      This has escalated exponetionally in recent years, and no company is willing to risk unilateral disarmaent.

      Yes, the companies do innovate. And research is costly. But much of the so-called innovation is really re-packaging old stuff.

      Speaking of old stuff -- much of it works well at lower cost that the much-touted "breakthroughs." But the companies have little incentive to promote tried-and-true drugs. The big money is in the new stuff.

      •  Qwertman has it right (0+ / 0-)

        The only thing I would ad is that a number of recent scandals, with Vioxx the most prominent, are starting to change drug company practice. I'm told by people (OK, one person I know) in that industry that sales forces and budgets are being dramatically reduced.

        Whether this is a blip or a real phenomenon, and whether it means a higher percentage of revenues actually go into R&D, remains to be seen.

        By the way, the big drug companies regularly made profits in the range of 20%. There are only two other industries in the same league: investment banking and energy. For comparison, hospitals and health insurance companies make more like 3-5%.

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