Have you ever walked along a shoreline, only to have your footprints washed away? That’s what Alzheimer’s is like,” said famed-basketball coach Pat Summitt. As someone who watched my own grandmother slowly fade away to the disease, I can attest to this feeling.
Article by Hannah Cox from FEE.
Alzheimer’s Disease is a (currently) incurable neurodegenerative condition that affects 6 million Americans. Few people are unaware of its devastating impacts on families and elderly populations, but despite the government throwing loads of taxpayer dollars at the problem, remedies have been slow-coming.
In fact, it has been 20 years since a new drug was approved for Alzheimer’s, a trend that was (thankfully) reversed this month as the FDA cleared the way for the drug Aduhelm to enter the market.
Notably, Aduhelm is the first drug aimed at slowing cognitive decline rather than just addressing the symptoms of the disease—making it a potentially life-altering treatment for millions of families. But despite the drug’s potential, it has received surprisingly little fanfare.
Aduhelm on the Fast Track
On June 7th, the FDA fast-tracked approval for the drug, creating much dissension in the ranks and leading to the resignation of three outside FDA advisors. There are some questions over the drug’s efficacy and it also carries a pretty steep price tag of $56,000.
Dr. Aaron Kesselheim, a professor at Harvard Medical School who is also director of the Program On Regulation, Therapeutics, and Law at Brigham and Women’s Hospital was one of those to resign. He called the FDA’s decision, “probably the worst drug approval decision in recent US history.”
All of these elements put the drug in an interesting place.
On one hand, Aduhelm is a potential “miracle drug” for one of the country’s most heartbreaking diseases — and it’s one patient advocacy groups lobbied heavily for. On the other hand, its high price tag means it will be unaffordable to most Americans.
This is a tricky problem, especially for Democrats who have railed against capitalism, profit incentives, and “greedy” manufacturers in the prescription-drug sector for some time. In fact, the approval comes just as Congress is gearing up for a fight over those drug prices this summer.
Spoiler: Because Australia has universal healthcare. https://t.co/c8BemM1y6h
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 16, 2019
But few politicians want to get caught criticizing what could be a very popular medicine.
All in all, Aduhelm is poised to become a hot potato between the two parties, drawing attention to many of the core problems in our healthcare system that both political parties would rather ignore.
Profit Drives Innovation and Competition
While the Democrats hoped to be able to stump over drug prices this summer, the debate of Aduhelm subtly reveals the true culprit behind sky high drug costs. Government regulation.
Many progressives in Congress may be suspicious of profits, but the profit motive is precisely what brings drugs like Aduhelm and other innovations to the people and ultimately drives their prices down.
The profit motive spurs competition, which leads to more research and development, and more treatments entering the market. A higher supply of treatments, more options, and competition would actually bring prices down. But those economic components are currently being stifled by a tremendous amount of red tape in the healthcare industry tying up the invisible hand of the market.
And much of that red tape comes from the FDA itself.
The FDA serves as a roadblock that impedes competition and increases the cost of developing new treatments. The agency has a notoriously cumbersome and slow process for approving potentially life-saving medicines. The process involves lengthy clinical trials, trial design, approvals, and execution—which take six to eight years on average at a huge cost to drug developers in terms of money and time, and a huge cost to patients deprived of potentially life-changing medicines.
If a company actually manages to get through all that red tape, the FDA then takes another year or more for analysis and possible approval. This is no small matter. The government impedes innovation, produces the sky-high costs politicians then like to grandstand over, and denies freedom of choice to patients who might very well opt for early access to drugs, but who often die waiting instead.
Despite efforts to expand early access through Right to Try legislation and other compassionate use laws, research shows only a small percentage of patients gain that ability. All of this proves that the showdown over healthcare prices ought to revolve around the FDA itself.
People should have access to potentially life-saving measures without the government standing in the way, and developers should have a clear pathway to willing customers to incentivize more innovation. These are the common-sense policies that would actually save lives and bring down healthcare costs.
What does that look like? The Promising Pathway Act is a good model for such legislation.
Under this act, patients with especially serious diseases would be able to make informed decisions, with the advice of their doctors, about the use of new drugs that have passed safety trials and shown preliminary efficacy. These drugs would receive provisional approval, which would enable access five to seven years earlier.
Not only would such legislation allow many more people to access potentially life-saving treatments, it would also produce more and better research and lead to a faster-to-market and broader set of treatment options. Notably, this would also mean reduced costs for the development of new drugs.
And, such measures would also allow smaller, financially-constrained drug companies to develop more drugs under a reduced cost structure. Ultimately, that would mean many promising drugs that were never tested due to insufficient expected revenue could have a second shot at market-entry.
The fact that progressives are largely staying mum on Aduhelm shows that they know profit incentives work despite constantly bashing them in the medical field. Instead of pursuing legislation that would diminish the profit incentive, they should turn their attention to legislation that would make access easier and the pathway to cures smoother.
To learn more about The Promising Pathway Act, see the following slideshow.
New Conservative Network Seeks Crowdfunding Help
They say we have to go big or go home. We’re trying to go big and bring the patriotic truth the the nation, but we need help.
Readers may or may not realize that over the past year, we’ve been bringing more conservative news and opinion outlets under our wing. Don’t take our expansion as a sign of riches; all of the “acquisitions” have been through sweat and promises of greater things to come for all involved. As a result, we’ve been able to bring together several independent media sites under a unified vision of preventing America from succumbing to the progressive, “woke,” Neo-Marxist ideologies that are spreading like wildfire across America.
The slow and steady reopening of America is revealing there was a lot more economic hardship brought about from the Covd-19 lockdowns than most realize. While we continue to hope advertising dollars on the sites go up, it’s simply not enough to do things the right way. We are currently experiencing a gap between revenue and expenses that cannot be overcome by click-ads and MyPillow promos alone (promo code “NOQ” by the way).
To overcome our revenue gap and keep these sites running, our needs fluctuate between $3000-$7000 per month. In other words, we’re in the red and hemorrhaging.
The best way you can help us grow and continue to bring the truth to the people is by donating. We appreciate everything, whether a dollar or $10,000. Anything brings us closer to a point of stability when we can hire writers, editors, and support staff to make the America First message louder. Our Giving Fuel page makes it easy to donate one-time or monthly. Alternatively, you can donate through PayPal as well.
As the world spirals towards radical progressivism, the need for truthful journalism has never been greater. But in these times, we need as many conservative media voices as possible. Please help keep NOQ Report and the other sites in the network going.
Thank you and God Bless,
They’re Trying to Shut Us Down
Over the last several months, I’ve lost count of how many times the powers-that-be have tried to shut us down. They’ve sent hackers at us, forcing us to take extreme measures on web security. They sent attorneys after us, but thankfully we’re not easily intimidated by baseless accusations or threats. They’ve even gone so far as to make physical threats. Those can actually be a bit worrisome but Remington has me covered.
For us to continue to deliver the truth that Americans need to read and hear, we ask you, our amazing audience, for financial assistance. We just launched a GiveSendGo page to help us pay the bills. It’s brand new so don’t be discouraged by the lack of donations there. It’s a funny reality that the fewer the donations that have been made, the less likely people are willing to donate to it. One would think this is counterintuitive, but sometimes people are skeptical because they think that perhaps there’s a reason others haven’t been donating. In our situation, we’re just getting started so please don’t be shy if you have the means to help.
Thank you and God bless!