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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 20403

Warning: This library includes all items relevant to health product marketing that we are aware of regardless of quality. Often we do not agree with all or part of the contents.


Publication type: Journal Article

Stein P, Valery E.
Competition: an antidote to the high price of prescription drugs.
Health Aff (Millwood) 2004; 23:(4):151-8


Patent protection and factors unique to prescription drugs weaken the forces keeping prices near costs for other products. A growing public consensus that affordable drugs should be available to all is likely to increase the upward pressure on prices. To restore competition to all parts of the pharmaceutical industry, we propose a new institute at the National Institutes of Health that would compete with the private sector for pharmaceutical intellectual property by establishing competition for research and development contracts open to public and private institutions; retain the resulting patents; and grant cost-free, nonexclusive licenses to all qualified producers.

Cost Control Drug Industry/economics Drug Prescriptions/economics* Economic Competition* Federal Government Ownership Patents as Topic United States


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Cases of wilful misrepresentation are a rarity in medical advertising. For every advertisement in which nonexistent doctors are called on to testify or deliberately irrelevant references are bunched up in [fine print], you will find a hundred or more whose greatest offenses are unquestioning enthusiasm and the skill to communicate it.

The best defence the physician can muster against this kind of advertising is a healthy skepticism and a willingness, not always apparent in the past, to do his homework. He must cultivate a flair for spotting the logical loophole, the invalid clinical trial, the unreliable or meaningless testimonial, the unneeded improvement and the unlikely claim. Above all, he must develop greater resistance to the lure of the fashionable and the new.
- Pierre R. Garai (advertising executive) 1963