Synopses & Reviews
Why do life-saving prescription drugs cost so much? Drug companies insist that prices reflect the millions they invest in research and development. In this gripping exposé, Merrill Goozner contends that American taxpayers are in fact footing the bill twice: once by supporting government-funded research and again by paying astronomically high prices for prescription drugs. Goozner demonstrates that almost all the important new drugs of the past quarter-century actually originated from research at taxpayer-funded universities and at the National Institutes of Health. He reports that once the innovative work is over, the pharmaceutical industry often steps in to reap the profit.
Goozner shows how drug innovation is driven by dedicated scientists intent on finding cures for diseases, not by pharmaceutical firms whose bottom line often takes precedence over the advance of medicine. A university biochemist who spent twenty years searching for a single blood protein that later became the best-selling biotech drug in the world, a government employee who discovered the causes for dozens of crippling genetic disorders, and the Department of Energy-funded research that made the Human Genome Project possible--these engrossing accounts illustrate how medical breakthroughs actually take place.
The $800 Million Pill suggests ways that the government's role in testing new medicines could be expanded to eliminate the private sector waste driving up the cost of existing drugs. Pharmaceutical firms should be compelled to refocus their human and financial resources on true medical innovation, Goozner insists. This book is essential reading for everyone concerned about the politically charged topics of drug pricing, Medicare coverage, national health care, and the role of pharmaceutical companies in developing countries.
This trade book looks at the politcally charged topic of drug pricing in the United States. Goozner debunks the myth asserted by the pharmaceutical industry that astronomically high drug prices are justified by the costs of research and development of new life-saving drugs.
"The $800 Million Pill
is a masterful work of explanatory and investigative journalism. Merrill Goozner has versed himself in the interlocking worlds of medicine, business, politics, and basic science to explain how pharmaceutical breakthroughs truly occur. He also explains why drug costs are now so needlessly high. This is a compelling and important book."James Fallows of The Atlantic Monthly
, author of Breaking the News
"Merrill Goozner does a superb job at explaining just how the pharmaceutical industry gets away with systematic overcharging, and why bio-medical advances do not require the current profiteering. This is the definitive book on this vital topic."Robert Kuttner, Co-Editor of The American Prospect and author of Everything for Sale
"Why do your prescription drugs cost so much? The real answers may surprise you. In a lively and straightforward narrative, veteran journalist Merrill Goozner goes behind the headlines and pharmaceutical industry spin to uncover the politics and the practices that drive up drug costs. His diagnosis and prescriptions make a valuable contribution to the growing national debate over safe, quality and affordable health care for all Americans."Clarence Page, syndicated columnist for the Chicago Tribune
"Merrill Goozner has written an important book. The high-stakes national debate over what to do about prescription drug coverage and costs too often suffers from a dearth of facts and analysis. This volume helps to fill that gap by illuminating the seemingly opaque world of pharmaceutical research and development."Susan Dentzer,Health Correspondent for The News Hour with Jim Lehrer on PBS
About the Author
Merrill Goozner is former Chief Economics Correspondent at the Chicago Tribune. Winner of six Peter Lisagor Awards, Goozner is a contributing editor for The American Prospect. His work has also appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Magazine, Columbia Journalism Review, Washington Monthly, Fortune Small Business, Slate.com, and Salon.com, among other publications.
Table of Contents
Part I. Biohype
1. The Longest Search
2. Rare Profits
3. The Source of the New Machine
Part II. Directed Research
4. A Public-Private Partnership
5. The Divorce
7. The Failed Crusade?
Part III. Big Pharma
8. Me Too!
9. The $800 Million Pill
10. The Future of Innovation