The U.S. is in the midst of unprecedented innovation and the entire drug system would change if enough investment occurred, if the government let it happen, and “if we don't do stupid things like price controls,” one investor says.
“Price controls will actually kill people, and will have the perverse result of reducing innovation and increasing costs over the long-run,” Robert Nelsen, co-founder and managing director of Arch Venture Partners, recently told Patient Daily. “Even the talk of price controls will kill people because it slows down the flow of investment, which slows down clinical trials, and people that would be getting cured miss the window ... and sadly die."
Nelsen thinks that generic drugs should be cheap, while innovative, curative drugs can be expensive if they save lives and also save money by helping patients avoid “an antiquated and expensive system of hospital and long-term care.”
“Patients need to advocate for innovation and rewards for high-impact curative therapy while demanding cheap generics as well,” he said.
In fact, society wins big in a system that cures and prevents diseases instead of a reactive, treatment-based system, he told Patient Daily.
“We can whack price gougers in generics by making sure there is competition,” Nelsen said. “We don't need price controls that hurt innovation.”
For its part, Nelsen said that the federal government – namely the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) -- has stifled innovation and in the past, “many innovations died because [the FDA] would not let patients and doctors decide for themselves what risks to accept.”
Lately, however, he said the government has been much better and new legislation should accelerate the trend.
“I think that anyone that has had a sick loved one understands the current system sucks,” Nelsen said. “It is expensive, and they cut you, poison you, and mostly don't cure you – yet -- and we spend $3 trillion a year.”
Massive investment in curative therapies is needed, he said, in order for the situation to turn around.
“It will save money and save lives,” Nelsen said. “Biotech innovators have done a poor job of making this case to the public, but patients and legislators understand it when you show them what exciting cures and treatments are in the pipeline.”