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Will lower drug prices jeopardize drug research?

Anyone who has filled a prescription lately was probably astonished at the cost and would agree that we have to find a way to lower prescription drug prices.  So will lower drug prices jeopardize drug research?

Understandably the pharmaceutical companies have to be able to recoup the cost of bringing new drugs to market.  At an average of 10 years and billions of dollars, I suppose that it is tough to fund that on an on-going basis especially if you are expected to do this on lower profits.

Yes, lower drug prices would decrease the available funds to bring drugs to the market.  Many people don’t realize how important the clinical research process is and, while it is not a perfect process, it is designed to protect the American public.  Clinical research provides a method of testing investigational medications in humans under a controlled environment with oversight by Review Boards whose primary purpose is to protect the research volunteer.

While lower drug prices could jeopardize drug research it doesn’t have to stifle it all together.  America will continue to be a leader in development of new medications.  Despite our current economic climate and the challenges that we face we will continue to be a great nation.  While there is great concern about our healthcare system, we will overcome these issues.  It won’t happen quickly, it will certainly be controversial and it will probably be painful;  they don’t make a drug for that.

Every American could make a difference though.  The cost of developing new drugs could be drastically reduced, if the rate of enrollment in clinical studies was increased.  One of the biggest delays in the process is the recruitment of people into studies.  In order to better test the medications, it has to be tested in a statistically significant number of people.  The more volunteers, the better the data.  The quicker the data is collected the lower the cost of the data.

Many people think that people who volunteer for studies are risk takers or that they are only doing it because they are looking for a cure for their own disease but many people volunteer because it will help others.  Many diseases are hereditary so perhaps they are paying forward … even without their knowledge.

Many people are adverse to taking any medications.  While I subscribe to the philosophy that prevention is the best medicine and that anything should be done in moderation I bet that if you check a burn center or a veteran’s hospital you would find any number of people who never thought that they would take medication.  They would now doubt be grateful for the fact that the medication has been tested for safety and effectiveness.

Increasing participation in clinical studies is one way to lower the cost of research resulting in lower drug prices.  So, will lower drug prices jeopardize drug research?   Only if we let it!

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