Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Simple math:

In a Washington Post op-ed that goes after Michael Moore and defends the current U.S. medical system, Paul Howard, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute's Center for Medical Progress writes:
The absence of price controls means that more cancer drugs are launched here first than anywhere else. The Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden recently issued a survey of cancer treatment in 25 countries. The report found that "the [U.S.] has been the country of first launch for close to half of the oncology drugs brought to market in the last 11 years." From 1995-2005, the U.S. had 12 "first launches", compared to two in Germany, four in the U.K., three in Switzerland, and one in France.
Let's do some math, okay?

Population of the United States: 300 mil
Population of Germany + U.K. + Switzerland + France: (82+60+7+62) = 211 mil

Oncology drugs brought to market, per 100 million:
United States: 4
European countries: 4.7
This oped by Paul Howard is part of the Washington Post's Think Tank Town. Be forewarned, the tank is full of shit.

CLARIFICATION: The same sort of calculation could have been done with GDP (U.S.: 13 tril, Four countries cited: 7.6 tril). The point is that if Howard is going to compare numbers of oncology drugs brought to market by country, he can't get away by merely counting the numbers and discounting other factors like population or economic size.


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