Thursday, August 23, 2007

Overdose: Richard Epstein on the Pharmaceutical Industry

University of Chicago Professor of Law Richard Epstein, author of Overdose: How Excessive Government Regulation Stifles Pharmaceutical Innovation talks with us about the impact of universal health care on drug research, why pharmaceutical companies are treated almost as badly as the tobacco industry and why there is no outcry for the thousands of people who are denied drugs by the FDA and die. It's easy for politicians and pundits to make simplistic statements about "compassion," universal healthcare and the evils of drug companies but much more difficult to understand and discuss in depth what impact government regulation would have on drug innovation, research and distribution. If you want to hear more than phony platitudes about the evils of drug companies put out by the media and other agenda-driven groups, take a listen.

You can listen directly (no downloading needed) by going here and clicking on the gray Flash player. You can download the file directly and listen at your leisure by clicking right here. And you can get a lo-fi version suitable for dialup by going here and selecting "lo-fi." As always, you can get a free subscription via iTunes and never miss another episode. You can't beat free.

This podcast is brought to you by Volvo USA. Music is by Mobius Dick.



Blogger leon said...

Wonderful interview, thank you.

11:28 AM, August 23, 2007  
Blogger Flash Gordon said...

I heard a few years ago about a drug that had dramatic effects for lung cancer but was not available because it had not been approved. Lung cancer often is inoperable when first diagnosed. In those cases the patient usually dies within months of diagnosis. It seems crazy to deny a drug that has any chance of helping in those circumstances for no more reason than it hasn't been proven safe and effective to the usual standard.

11:35 AM, August 23, 2007  
Blogger Unknown said...

Yes. My brother had his left lung removed. Then he developed spots in his right. Standard chemo was the only thing available to him. He died last December.

It's not like someone in that position is betting anything other than a few weeks on the chances of a new drug and it's not like he wouldn't have tried one. It just wasn't available.

12:10 PM, August 23, 2007  
Blogger Cowboy said...

Flash--I understand your position & oligonicalla, I'm so sorry for your loss.

I think the point here, though, is that government intervention in the approval process is simply wrong-headed. When was the last time you remember that the government was able to do something better than the private sector?

If anything, I would suggest increasing the responsibility we lay on the pharmacuetical industry to test--and decrease the responsibility of the FDA.

5:23 PM, August 23, 2007  
Blogger Unknown said...

You might be misunderstanding me. I don't want gov intervention, I want things loosened. No one has the right to tell me, if I develop terminal cancer, that I may not try a new drug.

The pharmas test the crap out of things. There are thalydamide level mistakes, but they are notably a safe sector. Nothing is 100% safe.

7:25 PM, August 23, 2007  
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