We got a chuckle out of Henry I. Miller’s rant in Forbes today where he describes Public Citizen as “the rabidly antidrug, anti-industry, self-styled public-interest group.” The premise behind Miller’s commentary is that the Obama administration’s political appointments — and government regulation in general — are bad for business. Specifically, it’s getting harder and harder for the pharmaceutical industry to make a buck.
But excessive, erratic and highly risk-averse regulation has pushed development costs into the stratosphere, made approvals uncertain and slowed them to a trickle. As Fred Hassan, CEO of drug company Schering-Plough, said of the current regulatory climate: “What will it take to get new drugs approved? The point is, we don’t know.”
Excuse me while I wipe the foam from my mouth. Someone needs to clue these guys in on the fact that despite the “burden” of FDA regulation, the top pharmaceutical companies still rake in billions of dollars in profit each year. And while they complain about their research and development costs, the industry continues to spend almost twice as much money on marketing. Obviously, Miller and Hassan weren’t paying attention in 2009 when the FDA approved 26 new drugs, more than any of the previous four years.
But why should Miller, an anti-regulatory crusader and fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution, rely on facts when hyberbole will do?