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b_b  ·  844 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: “Is curing patients a sustainable business model?” Goldman Sachs analysts ask

I agree that patient care is not incentivized to work properly as a traditional for-profit enterprise. Drug development is a different beast altogether. Drugs need to make a return, because they are really, really expensive to develop, and something like 95% of them fail, which means that a 20x return is the minimum sustainable number that investors have to meet to keep their business from folding. The number of drugs out there that are going to cure a serious, life threatening illness like HepC are really low. Even if they become more numerous with personalized medicine approaches, there will always be chronic disease. Anyway, it doesn't really matter if the disease is cured, because once you know that information, it's very easy to mathematically model how many people you should expect to treat per year (assuming you know the incidence rate, the cure rate, and the disease course--all really well defined for HepC), and you can base your pricing on those predictions. If investors at Goldman or anywhere else didn't do that modeling, then they should lose their jobs. Any mathematical biologist or epidemiologist worth their salt could do that calculation in a matter of minutes.

I sort of disagree that healthcare is about the nation; it's about people as individuals. It's not really up to you or me to tell people how to live. Everyone already has limitless free access to the best medicine god has ever invented (walking regularly), but very few people use it. It's up to the private sector to make up the rest. Even if we do end up making the choice to have a more robust safety net, drug companies will still always be around to try to improve upon what's out there (where it gets muddy is in the definition of "improve"). If healthcare were about the nation, we'd outlaw smoking and make exercise mandatory, but then we'd be living in a place that none of us wants to live in.