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Author: Carpian Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 73106  
Subject: Re: why is medicine a public good? Date: 12/26/2004 11:07 PM
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I am torn between a firm belief that the profit motive is the driver for the great breakthroughs in drug
based treatments on one hand


Off the top of my head, I'm not so sure about this one. I've known some top-flight scientists (not in medical fields), and money was not real high on the motivation scale for them. I'm sure there is a lot of variation from person to person, but many of our top scientists do what they do because of a fascination with their field, and/or a desire to add to mankind's body of knowledge, and/or a desire to do something valuable for others, and/or the thrill of accomplishing something or finding something that nobody else has been able to. If money was the primary goal, they wouldn't go into science. University professors don't make that much. Are the chemists coming up with the new drugs the ones making the big bucks off them, and even if so, is that why they are doing the work?

Where the profit motive comes in is channelling efforts to where there is money to be made--giving the people what they want (which can and is often be debated whether it is for their "good"). So we have huge amounts of money in the sports and entertainment industries, because that is "what the people want". And medically, we have Viagra (and heavily marketed at that) instead of a cure for Parkinson's.
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