Friday, February 17, 2006

A Superfine, Golden Bullet anti-Cancer drug - at what price?

Apparently the drug Avastin shows promise treating several different cancers, but at $100,000/yr, doctors lament that its use will be limited. Let's take this issue to its natural extreme. Suppose some company produces a drug that simply and quickly cures most cancers. Can you imagine reading a story like the following in, say, 2026:
"In 2007, Company X released a very expensive cancer cure, effective against most of this dread complex of diseases. For ten years relatively few people could afford the treatment, and many cancer-sufferers died, untreated, prematurely ...

I think it's obvious: any company that develops a supremely effective anti-cancer drug must be prepared to give it away. Perhaps they will be reasonably rewarded by a gratetful world.
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