By Jonathan Donald Jenner
Publicly funded research should yield publicly owned drugs which are available to the public at the cost of the production.
In the capitalism of today, research by the pharmaceutical industry is guided the whims of the market, buttressed by companies’ ability to price gouge under the pretense of research-incentivizing patents, or government granted monopoly power. This kills us (see our own Brian Callaci’s great piece ‘Maximizing Shareholder Value Is (Literally) Killing Us’). But we don’t have to pay for and develop new drugs the way we do. A (hypothetical) National Pharmaceutical Development Administration (NPDA), funded by taxpayers, could develop drugs that would then be owned by taxpayers, who, for obvious reasons, wouldn’t price gouge themselves. More, research priorities for which drugs to develop would be set publicly, and go to diseases where we need them the most.