Will Patients Get New Meds FDA Approved?

  • by: |
  • 01/05/2015
Lot's of high-fives about the record number of approvals coming out of FDA.   Not to be a buzz kill but who cares unless patients are nickled and dimed to death by the intellectually empty barking of health plan and pharmacy benefit management firms that to use new treatments is simply allowing drug companies to rake in unjust profits that will bankrupt America and drive premiums sky high.  

In particular AHIP, the AHIP funded sock puppet called the National Coalition on Health Care and Express Scripts have been feeding the media beasts scare stories of greedy Big Pharma and their high prices forcing health systems to ration care.   In the wake of all the new drug approvals (and the FDA is still too damn slow) anticipate the next wave of articles about "How Can We Afford All These Drugs?"

The fact is, new medicines are developed not to save health plans money.  They do by replacing sick hospitalizaed patients with healthy productive comsumers and premium payers.  But new medicines -- especially this generation of drugs and the next -- are developed to predict, and prevent diseases from progressing by using what Eric Topol and Stephen Quake called molecluar stethoscopes:  chips and high powered computers that can detect and sequence the gene expression networks impllicated in disease or disease risk in real time.  That will lead to more precise answers about how to prevent and how to treat disease.  And it will lead to an acceleration of drug development and to determining with nearly 100 percent accuracy what works.

The AHIPs and Express Scripts of the world, as well as most hospitals (at least in the US) are seeing their business model crumble.  They don't know it yet, anymore than the record companies and movie chains and department stores had the foresight to anticipate how digitization of information would force them to the brink of extinction.   It's happening to the big box approach to health care.   And the rent seekers and businesses that will be destroyed are panicking.  

The only ways they have left to defend the status quo is lobbying, regulations and scaring the public.  And they will fight like hell to limit access to new, targeted treatments that deliver most of the economic and social benefits to indivudals.   WIth a willing and biased media behind them, they will have some initial success.  But soon the winds of change will sweep them and their pre-industrial approach to managing care will away.  

We are on the edge of the Cure Century and they hate it.  

Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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