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Mother of InventionHow the Government Created "Free-Market" Health Care$
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Robert I. Field

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199746750

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199746750.001.0001

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How the Government Created the Pharmaceutical Industry

How the Government Created the Pharmaceutical Industry

(p.48) 3 How the Government Created the Pharmaceutical Industry
Mother of Invention

Robert I. Field

Oxford University Press

The pharmaceutical industry, perennially one of the most profitable,requires a steady flow of biomedical research to develop new products. However, investment in basic scienceis difficult for private firms because discoveries are public goods available to everyone. The government has stepped in to fill this gap through the National Institutes of Health, which funds almost $30 billion of biomedical research each year. Often, it does so throughexplicit partnerships with private companies. Recent proactive initiatives, such as the Human Genome Project,areleading the industry to new scientific frontiers in genomic and personalized medicine. The government lends the industry further support by overseeing safety through the Food and Drug Administration, funding drug purchases through Medicare and Medicaid, and granting patents to new products. Without the government’s help, the industry would still exist, but it would be smaller, sell fewer products, and generate far less in profits.

Keywords:   Pharmaceutical industry, National Institutes of Health, Food and Drug Administration, Human Genome Project, Cooperative Research and Development Agreement, Biomedial research, Statins, Taxol, Genomic medicine, Drug safety

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