The Social Value of Health Research and the Worst Off by Nicola Barsdorf, Joseph Millum :: SSRN

January 21, 2017

In this article we argue that the social value of health research should be conceptualized as a function of both the expected benefits of the research and the priority that the beneficiaries deserve. People deserve greater priority the worse off they are. This conception of social value can be applied for at least two important purposes: (1) in health research priority setting when research funders, policy‐makers, or researchers decide between alternative research projects; and (2) in evaluating the ethics of proposed research proposals when research ethics committees (RECs) assess whether the social value of the research is sufficient to justify the risks and burdens to research participants and others. In assessing how far a proposed research project will advance the interests of people who are more disadvantaged, research priority setters and RECs should examine (at least) the diseases that the research targets and the type of research. Just as certain diseases impose a greater burden on people who are more disadvantaged, so certain types of intervention and forms of research are more likely to benefit people who are more disadvantaged. We outline which populations are likely to be representative of the global worst off and identify what types of health research, and which disease categories, are priorities for these populations.

Source: The Social Value of Health Research and the Worst Off by Nicola Barsdorf, Joseph Millum :: SSRN


How Does Technological Change Affect Quality ­Adjusted Prices in Health Care? Systematic Evidence from Thousands of Innovations by Kristopher Hult, Sonia Jaffe, Tomas Philipson :: SSRN

January 5, 2017

Medical innovations have improved survival and treatment for many diseases but have simultaneously raised spending on health care. Many health economists believe that technological change is the major factor driving the growth of the heath care sector. Whether quality has increased as much as spending is a central question for both positive and normative analysis of this sector. This is a question of the impact of new innovations on quality-adjusted prices in health care. We preform a systematic analysis of the impact of technological change on quality-adjusted prices, with over six thousand comparisons of innovations to incumbent technologies. For each innovation in our dataset, we observe its price and quality, as well as the price and quality of an incumbent technology treating the same disease. Our main finding is that an innovation’s quality-adjusted prices is higher than the incumbent’s for about two-thirds (68%) of innovations. Despite this finding, we argue that quality-adjusted prices may fall or rise over time depending on how fast prices decline for a given treatment over time. We calibrate that price declines of 4% between the time when a treatment is a new innovation and the time when it has become the incumbent would be sufficient to offset the observed price difference between innovators and incumbents for a majority of indications. Using standard duopoly models of price competition for differentiated products, we analyze and assess empirically the conditions under which quality-adjusted prices will be higher for innovators than incumbents. We conclude by discussing the conditions particular to the health care industry that may result in less rapid declines, or even increases, in quality-adjusted prices over time.

Source: How Does Technological Change Affect Quality ­Adjusted Prices in Health Care? Systematic Evidence from Thousands of Innovations by Kristopher Hult, Sonia Jaffe, Tomas Philipson :: SSRN


A Very Depressing Paper on the Great Stagnation – Marginal REVOLUTION

December 22, 2016

Since 1950 life expectancy at birth has been growing at a remarkably steady rate of about 1.8 years per decade but that growth has only been bought by ever increasing number of researchers. Here, for example, is cancer mortality as function of the number of publications or clinical trials. Each clinical trial used to be associated with ~8 lives saved per 100,000 people but today a new clinical trial is associated with only ~1 life saved per 100,000.

Source: A Very Depressing Paper on the Great Stagnation – Marginal REVOLUTION


Hours Worked in Europe and the US: New Data, New Answers by Alexander Bick, Bettina Brüggemann, Nicola Fuchs-Schundeln :: SSRN

November 10, 2016

We use national labor force surveys from 1983 through 2011 to construct hours worked per person on the aggregate level and for different demographic groups for 18 European countries and the US. We find that Europeans work 19% fewer hours than US citizens. Differences in weeks worked and in the educational composition each account for one third to one half of this gap. Lower hours per person than in the US are in addition driven by lower weekly hours worked in Scandinavia and Western Europe, but by lower employment rates in Eastern and Southern Europe.

Source: Hours Worked in Europe and the US: New Data, New Answers by Alexander Bick, Bettina Brüggemann, Nicola Fuchs-Schundeln :: SSRN


How 5G technology enables the health internet of things | Brookings Institution

July 19, 2016

By the end of the decade, the fifth-generation (5G) network is expected to support 50 billion connected devices with speeds of more than 100 megabits per second. 5G’s connectivity, computing power, and virtual system architecture will soon expand the mobile internet of things (IoT). The connection of billions of digital devices through IoT will pave the way for innovation across industries and markets; in particular, connected medicine has the potential to transform health care through imaging, diagnostics, and treatment improvements, among other groundbreaking new possibilities.

Source: How 5G technology enables the health internet of things | Brookings Institution


Book: Pharmaphobia – AEI

April 24, 2015

To learn more, read Tom Stossel’s “Pharmaphobia,” on how rules against pharmaceutical marketing and industry-sponsored research are undermining innovation.

via Pharmaphobia – AEI.


Gary Pisano: Big Pharma Needs to Get Busy in the Lab – WSJ

March 20, 2015

Consultants, Wall Street analysts and pundits have long urged pharmaceutical companies to cut back on internal research and buy drugs from small biotech companies instead. Invoking various theories about economies of specialization and the efficiency of small firms, they’ve argued that it is cheaper and less risky to buy from the outside than to develop on the inside. This argument has been repeated so often and for so long—I first heard it in 1985—that it has almost become beyond dispute.

There’s just one problem: It’s wrong. In my own research, I compared the costs over a 20-year period of drug development at large pharmaceutical companies and biotech firms. I found no meaningful difference on average between what large pharmaceutical companies and biotech companies spent to successfully develop a drug. The blanket generalizations about biotech firms being more efficient are unfounded.

via Gary Pisano: Big Pharma Needs to Get Busy in the Lab – WSJ.