Editor's Corner

Higher costs, better care

A new study from Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development (below) helps to highlight the economic reality of complex drug development work. The advances offered by biotechnology are considerable, but the price tag is steep. Inevitably, those costs will be passed on to consumers and companies footing the bill. And that will heighten the political pressure to bring prices down.

It is almost certain that the controversy over prices will lead to a strong push for new legislation paving the way to biosimilars. The new Democratic majority in Congress is focused squarely on lowering the cost of drugs, and biosimilars will eventually offer one way to do that. Rather than try to fight the move, the industry would be far better off guiding lawmakers in their understanding of the economics of biotech development work. Innovation will continue to push healthcare inflation, but we need to do a better job demonstrating that some of these higher costs are associated with some startling scientific advances. -- John Carroll