So obviously the budget needs to be the primary concern and the priority needs to be give no ground, offer no quarter, take no prisoners, show no mercy.
But after that let’s deal with some health care issues again.
First, and I said this before but the legal barriers that prevent insurance companies from crossing state lines need to be revoked. No single act could reduce health care costs as much as this. (And while we’re at it remove the barriers for all other kinds of insurance as well). I know, I know, this was the first law I suggested in this series, but it simply cannot be repeated enough.
The next thing the government should do is extend the patents of drugs. Right now the patent for a drug is 20 years. First off if this seems a little short to you, it should. The patent for most technology is much longer, but for some reason we think drug companies shouldn’t profit off of the millions, sometimes billions of dollars they put into researching a drug. (And you wonder why they charge so much for drug…probably because they need to make up their money in the short period of time they have a patent for not only the research on that drug but on the research for other drugs that didn’t pan out).
But here’s the really fun thing. Apparently, that 20 years starts from when the drug company first applies to the FDA for drug trials, not when the drugs is actually approved. FDA drugs trials, universally acknowledged as insane, take on average 8-10 years, but sometimes more because they want to make sure that the drug is absolutely safe for everyone with every possible physiological chemistry. What would be smarter is passing tort reform laws that say for the first 15 years a drug is on the market requiring every doctor and pharmacist to tell you, “Look this was only tested for 5 years, the chance of your having an adverse reaction are: A.)highly unlikely and B.) we didn’t know it would happen, so you can’t sue us if you happen to be the one in a million case that doesn’t react well to the drug that helps 99.9999% percent of the people who take it.” But tort reform would make too much sense. So what also needs to be changed is the patent law. While I would love to see the patent extended, I know that’s a fight that we would just lose because people are stupid. So in the meantime while I wait for humanity as a whole to grow a frontal cortex, we need to make the 20 year patent start from when the FDA approves the drug not from when trials begin.
If a company has 20 years, instead of 10 years or less, to make back all of its investments on a drug that has a limited market then you will actually see prices drop. Not immediately mind you, but over the course of the next decade you will see companies lowering their prices because they can now afford it.
Now, some socialists out there will complain they can afford it anyway because the pharmaceutical industry has a profit margin of around 20%. Yeah they do. 20% profit, seems more than fair for coming up with drugs to save my life. How much profit is reasonable for the person who saves your life? But at more basic level it needs to be that high. Why? Because all those chemists and doctors who make the money on that hideously expensive research, if they don’t get massive salaries and make lots of money that comes with that kind of profit margin, well guess, what, the food industry is always looking for new ways to develop new food coloring and coming up with a better alternative to NutraSweet (you know one that doesn’t leave that god-awful aftertaste that makes us all hate Diet Coke). If you don’t pay for it, these people will go to other industries where the rewards are better (kind of like when you bog teaching down with huge amounts of red tape, unnecessary requirements and low salaries is a shock that most teachers are morons).
Extend how long drug companies can have their patents; it’s the only rational thing to do.
(All of this of course ignores that the majority of drugs are either going to people with perfectly preventable conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular problems that would be solved by exercise and right eating or to old people who are trying to deny the fact that they’re going to die someday).