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Vaccine Miracle: U.S. Pharma Naturally Leads the Way

Posted on Friday, November 13, 2020
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by Outside Contributor
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vaccineThis week, American pharmaceutical innovators delivered a new miracle of human ingenuity:  Less than twelve months since the coronavirus arrived, Pfizer Inc. announced a vaccine exceeding 90% effectiveness.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the private U.S. pharmaceutical sector led the way in bringing that miracle to the world, just as it has for decades.  As we’ve often highlighted – but which cannot be emphasized enough – the U.S. accounts for fully two-thirds of all new drugs introduced to the world, even though we’re just 4% of the world’s population and 25% of the world’s economy.  We introduce as many new drugs as the rest of the world combined.

That astonishing number didn’t occur by accident or coincidence.  Rather, it results directly from America’s tradition of market-based incentives and strong intellectual property (IP) protections for those innovators.  Whereas other advanced economies that practice socialized medicine and impose price controls inevitably experience drug shortages and less innovation, Americans consumers can access the full panoply of new drugs that our domestic innovators create each year.

As the results of a new nationwide survey released by CFIF confirm, the American public overwhelmingly understands that cause/effect relationship, and wants to preserve it.

In the poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies for CFIF, voters across all parties, by a 70% to 30% supermajority, prefer that the federal government provide oversight and incentives to health care and pharmaceutical innovators, rather than have government bureaucrats set prices and micromanage health care policy.

In other words, by more than two-to-one, American voters prefer a guiding hand to a heavy governmental fist.

And that’s precisely the market-based system that incentivized Pfizer’s vaccine breakthrough, as noted enthusiastically by The Wall Street Journal:

The apparent breakthrough is a credit to the innovative capacity of the private pharmaceutical industry.  Pfizer has developed the vaccine using its own capital.  That requires making a return on investment, which the politicians in both parties should keep in mind when they promise price controls on drugs.  That would mean fewer resources to tackle the next coronavirus or deadly disease.  

In other words, America’s system of market incentives, rather than socialized medicine or price control regimes, fueled this remarkable achievement.

Moreover, Pfizer’s vaccine trial results thus far exceeds performance expectations and comparable disease vaccines.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) generally requires a 50% effectiveness rate in order to consider expedited approval, while European officials have expressed willingness to approve vaccines even below 50% effectiveness.  In fact, common influenza vaccines typically top out between 30% and 60% effectiveness.  Pfizer’s vaccine, however, has apparently achieved an incredible 90% effectiveness.

Just as importantly, no significant safety concerns have emerged during testing of Pfizer’s new vaccine, boosting the likelihood of rapid approval and distribution.

Meanwhile, on the same day that Pfizer announced its breakthrough vaccine, federal regulators also approved emergency use of a new coronavirus treatment developed by Eli Lilly & Co., which has proven effective in preventing confirmed cases from becoming serious or life-threatening.  Markets skyrocketed to new record territory on the news, as it offers promise that our economy might soon reaccelerate to the full speed that we reached before the pandemic unexpectedly hit.

Taken as a whole, this week’s news provides just the latest testament to the value of America’s world-leading pharmaceutical sector.  Outside of the U.S. military, few institutions can claim as many lives saved and improved over the years and decades as our domestic drug innovators.

In turn, that reflects America’s deliberate choice to elevate free market incentives and strong intellectual property protections over heavy-fisted government regulation and suffocating drug price controls.

Our system has provided this latest welcome pharmaceutical miracle, and it’s critical that our political leaders recognize this cause-and-effect relationship, lest we make future miracles less likely by opting for pharmaceutical and health care policies that have invariably failed everywhere else they’ve been attempted.

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PaulE
PaulE
3 years ago

Where in this article is the acknowledgement that President Trump made all this possible by streamlining the regulatory processes surrounding drug development and testing to run concurrently instead of the usual sequential way?

Where is the mention that all the drug companies involved in Operation Warp Speed were are paid the the United States government, at President Trump’s direction, to begin mass manufacturing of each of their vaccines ahead of clinical trials, so as to have millions of doses available should their vaccines pan out?

Where is the mention of the distribution plan that President Trump had the military put together to ensure the vaccine could be quickly and efficiently distributed nation-wide to speed access to the most at risk (first responders, health care workers, the elderly segment of the population most at risk, etc.)?

If President Trump had NOT done any of this and the so-called standard federal government bureaucratic process was followed as usual, not only would we NOT have one vaccine developed with two more ready to be announced in the next few weeks, but we would be YEARS AWAY FROM SEEING ANY VACCINE AVAILABLE. Does anyone think the Biden / Harris or Harris / Bidden administration (or any other administration led by career politicians with ZERO real-world experience) would have been smart enough to realize what would need to be done to achieve the same results? I seriously doubt it.

CharlieSeattle
CharlieSeattle
3 years ago

For COVID-19, data to date suggest that 80% of infections are mild or asymptomatic, 15% are severe infection, requiring oxygen and 5% are critical infections, requiring ventilation.

Soo, the CCP Virus Bio-Weapon is weaker than originally thought, much to the chagrin of Dr. Fauci and the DNC.

Perhaps Dr. Fauci and the DNC will sue Communist China and get the 3.7 million back they gave them to study? No, develop the Bio-Weapon.

John S.
John S.
3 years ago

Disappointed in everyone who said the virus was a hoax. The vaccine, singlehandedly created by Trump, is real! Therefore the virus is real!

Gordon E. Browning, PhD
Gordon E. Browning, PhD
3 years ago

My lady friend had fever for 3 days. When checked by a nurse on the 5th day, she was Covid-free.

Bill Humiston
Bill Humiston
3 years ago

How was this vaccine made (i.e., were any fetuses used in its manufacture)? What comprises this vaccine’s makeup (i.e., does it contain mercury or any other potentially harmful elements)?

GT Patriot
GT Patriot
3 years ago

Huge achievement by the administration, key govt offices, and the private sector. CNN continues on tonight with
their “we’re all going to die” mantra. At age 73, I’m more worried about a car wreck and Joe Biden that the
China virus.

GT Patriot
GT Patriot
3 years ago

I spoke with an elderly lady ( 65 ?) who had covid and said that she was ill for three days, took tylenol and a lot of liquids and is now
fine. I know no one who has died from covid. I’m 73

GT Patriot
GT Patriot
3 years ago

When ( and IF) Trump is no longer president, he should be appointed head of the CDC.
He’s far more effective than the pack of govt clowns we have now. Want to solve a problem ?
Bring in someone from the private sector except Goldman-Sachs which has run the US
treasury for decades.

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