If Only Drug Companies Spent as Much on R&D as They Do On Marketing

We talk a lot about health care costs, and what can be done to keep a lid on them. While studies indicate that health insurance premium growth slowed after the implementation of Obamacare, the fact of the matter is that health care costs still continue to rise, and they aren't likely to slow.

We can point to any number of factors, but the underlying reality of our health care system is that it's all a business. And as long as health care is a business, related companies will continue to work to rake in profits. Whether it's health insurance companies or drug companies. Health insurance companies, no matter their surpluses, aren't going to reduce premiums (even for the healthiest of us). After all, there are CEOs to pay. On top of that, it's clear drug companies aren't going to reduce the cost of drugs, and they aren't going to be overly concerned about developing drugs for diseases that aren't profitable.

In fact, no matter how much you hear drug companies bemoan the cost of research and development, the reality is that you can tell where their true priorities are. It's not on R&D. The truth is that drug companies are far more interested in boosting profits with the help of marketing. I've known for years that marketing costs far outstrip R&D spending. There are executives that need ungodly amounts of compensation and shareholders that need to see their stock values rise.

Affordable health care isn't in it — at any level of our health care system. We have a system in which it's more profitable for us all to be unhealthy, and in which corporations and corporate “non-profits” from drug companies to health insurance companies, aren't sad to see continuing health care problems. Especially as long as costs are so high that health care is flat-out unaffordable without the help of insurance, and as long as drug companies can keep complaining about the R&D they aren't really spending money on.


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