From inside the drug industry:
Those of us in the drug industry don’t really know what to expect from the Obama administration (although we’re pretty sure that we’re probably not going to like a lot of what we’re likely to get). But it’s not like things were going wonderfully during the Bush years, either, to be honest. Decisions on Medicare pricing, liability law, reimportation and other issues can all have their effects, but none of them will change the underlying problems that have put the business where it is.
And how bad is it today?
…we’ve learned a lot more about potential problems with drug candidates, but not so much about how to fix them. Aspirin, acetominophen, and penicillin wouldn’t have made it through a modern drug discovery effort. We’d have found their problems early (intestinal bleeding, liver toxicity, and anaphylactic shock, in that order), and either killed them off or spent years trying to get around them. Some of the things our modern safety assays turn up are unfixable show-stoppers, others are just warning lights that put the fear into companies who decide that they’d rather spend the money on something that looks cleaner.
If the FDA had existed in the 19th century, we would not have aspirin, acetominophen or penicillin today. We’ll never know how today’s massive regulatory state has destroyed America’s future because we’ll never see what ideas of genius were strangled in their birth by companies fearing the arbitrary power of regulators. Remember that the next time some politician crows about his compassion for the little guy.