Ken's Project Blog

January 25, 2011

National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences

Filed under: Health Care,In The News,Politics — Ken @ 10:53 am

Apparently in response to complaints that so-called “ObamaCare” will limit the development of new drugs and/or treatments, the Obama Administration is re-directing funding from other initiatives to fund a new drug development center to help create medicines.

The US Drug Industry invested $45.8 billion in 2009 in research, and reports are that it can cost up to $1 billion to bring a single new drug to market, and many believe that drug companies may spend twice as much on marketing to help ensure the success of their new drug.

Enter the U.S. Government – their plan:

Under the plan, more than $700 million in research projects already under way at various institutes and centers would be brought together at the new center. But officials hope that the prospect of finding new drugs will lure Congress into increasing the center’s financing well beyond $1 billion.

Source: New York Times

Wait, what? They are going to take existing programs, transfer “ownership” to a new entity, and “hope” they can get their financing increased… That’s a plan?

And what if something comes of this “arrangement”?

The job of the new center, to be called the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, is akin to that of a home seller who spruces up properties to attract buyers in a down market. In this case the center will do as much research as it needs to do so that it can attract drug company investment.

That means that in some cases, the center will use one of the institutes’ four new robotic screeners to find chemicals that affect enzymes and might lead to the development of a drug or a cure. In other cases, the center may need to not only discover the right chemicals but also perform animal tests to ensure that they are safe and even start human trials to see if they work. All of that has traditionally been done by drug companies, not the government.

“None of this is intended to be competitive with the private sector,” Dr. Collins said. “The hope would be that any project that reaches the point of commercial appeal would be moved out of the academic support line and into the private sector.”

Source: New York Times

So once a new drug is found to be successful/effective, this center will will simply hand it over to the private sector to profit off of?

Also, let’s remember one of the little secrets in the “ObamaCare” solution to the famous Medicare Part-D “Donut Hole” – 50% discounts on brand-name drugs, not generics, until you pass through the “Donut Hole” and can start enjoying the 95% discount on all drugs again, generic and branded…

So, no new funding and no new research (yet)? Remind me again how this does anything other than allow the administration to issue a press release and add another Center to the budget…

Sources:

Heritage Foundation: The Impact of Obamacare

New York Times: Federal Research Center Will Help Develop Medicnes

About.com: Understanding the Medicare Part D Donut Hole

Ken’s Project Blog: Reminder on Medicare Part D Donut Hole

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