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« Court Report | Main | Investors Saw Biotech Rebound Coming »

August 16, 2009


Greenwood: "[T]he American taxpayer spends $30 billion a year on NIH, and that funds basic research. It doesn't make drugs -- it makes good academic papers."

Wow, that's a remarkable trivialization of the contributions of publically funded research scientists to the development of drugs to teach diseases. Breathtaking, really.

"I keep telling all my liberal friends in the Congress, if you want to cure all of these diseases . . . don't you want this industry to be the biggest private sector, at-risk capital, money magnet in the world?"

If that's the goal, then why not minimize the risk and maximize the profit potential for wealthy investors even further! Deregulate the industry and provide them with 30 years of data exclusivity! Why, I can already smell the sweet aroma of pure profit.

Treat, not "teach."

Dear Noise:

I don't think we want universities to become R&D arms of the pharma (or even the biotech) industries. I remember one of my professors saying "Technology is when you know the answer" - the fun and fulfillment of university research is trying to find out the questions. I think, in his own focused way, that this was Mr. Greenwood's message - the university is not the right place to do drug development. It's just not their mission, and would be a terrible waste of taxpayer dollars.

That causes its own set of difficulties for academic researchers - it's why Rochester lost the Vioxx/Celebrex case, but it's also why biotech needs academics. University scientists discover the targets and the genetic polymorphisms relating to disease; the more mundane (but just as difficult) task is to find and produce a drug based on the university scientists' work.

Two different tasks, two different groups of actors.

But if you want to disparage, we'd be happy to let you do a guest post if you can show how the Grabowski study in Nature was incorrect (that is the basis for Mr. Greenwood's economic argument on the need for 12 years of exclusivity to permit investors to recoup development costs). And don't forget, the biogenerics can always do the safety and efficacy studies themselves, and then they won't need the innovators' data in the first place.

Thanks for the comment.

A method comprising: Suplexing Mr. Greenwood with the assistance of a mechanical limb.

Not anticipated. Whoops I think the government just innovated.

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