Pharmaceutical companies justify their drug prices on the basis of the cost of research. Seldom mentioned is the role other agencies play in the development of those products. Often, the original work is conducted at universities which are publically funded, not in private laboratories. In addition, one of the largest of those centers belongs to the government, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory — the site famous for its role in the development of the atomic bomb. Now its gigantic computer, Titan, is used by scientists and private laboratories alike at no cost to themselves. Procter & Gamble, for example uses the lab to make better hair products like Head & Shoulders. (“High-Tech Shampoo, Via the Department of Energy,” by Becky Quick, Fortune, May 20, 2013 pg. 112.)
The Titan computer can store the equivalent of 227,000 miles of stacked books, its servers occupying 200 cabinets throughout the lab and its software is capable of making 27 quadrillion calculations a second. (Ibid pg. 18) The computer cost the taxpayer $100 million and all that’s required of the private sector is that they share their scientific findings with the public. This public/ private partnership has lead to a wide range of discoveries, including how to make shampoo to treat dandruff.
When commercial corporations factor in the cost of research and development, they should factor out the price paid by the taxpayer to bring those products to market. A little credit where it is due, please.
(Courtesy of bazzazbarg.persianblog.ir)