The movie is set in an alternate reality which closely mirrors the contemporary world of the 1980s (except Richard Nixon is in his fifth term). The movie’s primary point of divergence from our reality is the presence of superheroes and it examines what would happen if they had human frailties. The main theme (adapted by me here to health care policy) is to trust in openness, transparency, and dialogue (like in these blogs) as opposed to blindly trusting ‘heroes’ who often operate with ‘power politics’ and shallow idealism. So in that regard, I guess we are attempting to turn the tables so that we are the new Watchmen (and women) of the health policy world (see Peanuts picture below).
So, now to the posts….drum roll please.
Bob Vineyard, over at Insureblog, explores the little-known world of “ophan drugs.” The Orphan Drug Act (ODA) of January 1983 is meant to encourage the development of drugs for diseases that have a small market (a drug for a disorder affecting fewer than 200,000 people) by instituting certain patent protections and tax incentives for manufacturers and the resulting drugs are often very necessary for beneficiaries. But manufacturers have come under increasing criticism because of the drugs’ high cost, which are often measured in terms of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars per year.
Bob wonders what effect the increased scrutiny will have on drug development, cites Pfizer’s discontinuation of two drugs, and notes that even though the new drugs may be no better or cheaper than existing drugs, if manufacturers don’t develop them, how will we know? This one is easy as the Comedian is killed off before the movie even begins…kind of like Pfizer’s drugs.
[OK folks, that does it for MFP’s take on the Health Wonk Review. I hope you found it both informative and entertaining. Look for the next edition of HWR at David Harlow's HealthBlawg on March 19th. Until then, enjoy. ~BAA]