Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Many thanks to Ken Houghton, who pointed out a Health Affairs press release titled "Europe Has Expanded Its Lead Over The United States In Pharmaceutical Research Productivity." The press release states that Europe has more drug innovation than the United States, which "never overtook Europe."

Bethesda, MD -- It is widely believed that the United States has eclipsed Europe in pharmaceutical research productivity. However, a comprehensive data set of all new chemical entities approved between 1982 and 2003 shows that the U.S. never overtook Europe in research productivity, and in fact Europe is pulling further ahead, according to a study published today on the Health Affairs Web site.

The study is one of three released by Health Affairs dealing with prescription drugs and intellectual property.

The U.S. share of approved new drugs did increase in the decade from 1993 to 2003, as compared to the previous decade from 1982 to 1992, but that simply reflected the fact that the pharmaceutical industry poured more of its research dollars into American labs, says study author Donald Light, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and the Lokey visiting professor at Stanford. Over both decades, the U.S. share of approved new drugs lagged behind its share of research funding.

On a dollar-for-dollar basis, Europe was more productive in discovering new drugs than the U.S. was, and the European productivity advantage was greater in the period from 1993 to 2003 than it had been in the period from 1982 to 1992. Japan outstripped both Europe and the United States in pharmaceutical research productivity over these twenty years.

“Congressional leaders and others concerned about high prices of new patented drugs will be heartened by this analysis, because lower European prices seem to be no deterrent to strong research productivity,” writes Light. He cites previous research showing that pharmaceutical companies are able to recover research costs and make a “good profit” at European prices, and he rejects the notion that Europeans are “free-riding” on American pharmaceutical research investments.

To nobody's surprise, Megan McArdle did not cite her claims regarding drug innovation because she could not. She bases her "philosophy" on ideology and emotion, not facts and analysis. It is easy to dismiss McArdle because she is a woman and so very inept, but she is not the only one who trades in fake incidents and "hypothetical" statistics. Every journalist and politician should be subjected to the same scrutiny, and thanks to the internet and the overall compulsiveness of human behavior we can. It is also human behavior to mock pretentiousness and arrogance. If the Village doesn't like it they can stop being pretentious and arrogant, a solution that never seems to occur to them. Our wanna-be Villagers suffer from the same syndrome. They have the vapors or lash out when criticized, instead of actually trying to improve their work. They will not question, and a journalist who won't ask questions is an utterly useless creature.


Ellis Weiner said...

"...a journalist who won't ask questions is an utterly useless creature."

O you godless liberal cynic. There are a number of uses for a journalist who won't ask questions. They include stenographer, p.r. flack, puff-piece propagator, network news reporter, network news anchor, (voice fades away)...right-wing reporter... on-screen expert...Chris Wallace...

clever pseudonym said...

And any writer who will not use criticism, even the meanest and least constructive, as a tool to improve their output doesn't deserve a paid national platform. Megan's been at the Atlantic for a couple of years now and the task of simple editing still eludes her. She hasn't even so much as cracked a copy of "Journalism For Dummies." She adds absolutely nothing of value to any conversation.

Susan of Texas said...

Fortunately she is driven to respond to her critics, providing us with a little comedy.

Kathy said...

Another reason we American's think were Number 1 at everything-

Our FDA has often made European Drugs (Ibuprofin (Motrin)) wait DECADES for approval for use here. Thanks to our wonderful privately-funded (Ha) research Labs.

Kathy said...

...and then we get LIPSTICK with toxic amounts of lead.

Yay Yay, FDA!

Anonymous said...

Congrats Susan! I just saw this at TNR:

Great job with that question.

Susan of Texas said...


Like aimai said, they don't expect people to remember what they say, even if it was said only a week before. And they don't believe they should ever be held accountable, no matter how many times they are wrong.