segunda-feira, maio 23, 2005

Big Pharma exagera custos de desenvolvimento de medicamentos

Lawmaker Says New Study Needed to Estimate Drug R&D Costs

The estimated costs of bringing a new drug to market may be inflated by as much as 750 percent, according to a House Democrat who has called on the Bush Administration to conduct a study on pharmaceutical R&D costs.

Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) disputes the $800 million figure the pharmaceutical industry often cites as its costs for developing new drugs. That figure is also cited in the "2005 Economic Report of the President," which concluded that it takes an average of 12 years to develop a new drug. The White House report, released in February, perpetuates a myth cultivated by the drug industry, Brown says in a recent letter to President Bush.

"We ask that you correct that error by working with us to develop an independent, scientifically valid estimate of the average costs of new drug development," the letter says. Brown points to a peer-reviewed article in The American Journal of Bioethics (AJB) that suggests actual R&D costs average $108 million per drug.

The $800 million estimate, calculated by Joseph DiMasi, director of economic analysis at the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development, is "widely used by drug companies to justify the high and rapidly rising price they charge American consumers," Brown says.

But roughly half of the $800 million figure consists of "opportunity costs," which is money that would have been made by the drug developer if the R&D funds had been invested in equities, Brown says, citing the AJB article. "The treatment of opportunity costs as actual costs reduces the concept of cost to meaninglessness," Brown says.

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