Thanks to a faithful reader for calling my attention to this nice 6-minute video interview with Dr. Steve Nissen, cardiologist at Cleveland Clinic:
The reporter for Bloomberg asks Dr. Nissen--isn't it bad for medicine that drug firms are in jeopardy of losing profits in coming years due to a shrinking dug pipeline and fewer new drugs approved in 2010 than in recent memory? Isn't this a sign that the FDA is being too obstructionist in approving new drugs?
Dr. Nissen, bless him, is having none of this. Better to have fewer, better, and safer drugs, he says. He offers as two reasons for the dwindling drug pipeline--first, the low hanging fruit theory that I favor in HOOKED--that with so many useful drugs having already been discovered, it is harder and harder to find new ones that are equally good and also safe. (He could have said it a bit more starkly--what the heck ever persuaded anyone that real scientific breakthroughs could be timed to occur precisely in accord with the drug companies' budget and patent cycles?) Second, he points out that increasingly the industry does not invest in real innovation, but instead "me too" drugs that can most quickly be marketed. If you don't invest in innovation, don't be surprised if you don't have any, says Dr. Nissen.
Then he goes on as a bonus to say a few choice things about critics of health reform. But that's not what this blog is about.