Hillary Clinton wants a cure for one of the world’s most dread diseases: Alzheimer’s. But to do so, she will need the help of an industry she and Democrats love to hate: the innovator pharmaceutical companies.
Clinton recently announced that the “signature piece of [her] commitment to target and defeat the diseases of our day is a groundbreaking investment in research to prevent, effectively treat and make possible a cure to Alzheimer’s disease by 2025.” [Emphasis original]
She intends to achieve this goal by throwing $2 billion a year at the effort.
While Alzheimer’s is a serious problem that affects more than 5 million Americans—including about 10 percent of the population age 65 and older—Clinton’s proposal is more political than medical and underscores her liberal faith in big government.
She thinks government can solve every problem. Like Barack Obama, Clinton believes government can solve all of our problems, from the economy to racial tensions to medical cures. She has no evidence to back up her faith, since under the Obama administration big government has made most of our problems worse. But that failure hasn’t crimped her belief that all things are possible with government—if only the right person [i.e., Clinton] is running it.
She wants taxpayers to pay for her promise. Clinton’s only solution to any challenge is to throw more money at it. But why $2 billion?
The Wall Street Journal says that’s about four times what the National Institutes of Health (NIH) spends annually on Alzheimer’s research—out of a total budget of $30.4 billion in 2015—and that experts in the field recommended that amount.
I’m not questioning the good intentions of researchers who dedicate their careers to finding a cure for Alzheimer’s or any other disease. But nearly all of them want more money for research, and many would benefit handsomely from a four-fold increase in Alzheimer’s funding, even as Clinton is shamelessly trying to buy votes with taxpayers’ money.
Clinton makes promises she can’t keep. Clinton may have learned from Obama’s “if you like your health insurance policy, you can keep it.” She isn’t quite saying, elect me and I will cure Alzheimer’s; she is only alluding to a cure.
The experts were a little more restrained about the connection between more money and a cure. The Journal adds, “Experts in the field praised Mrs. Clinton’s proposal, though they said there are no guarantees researchers can find a cure for Alzheimer’s by 2025.”
She empowers government even as she lambasts the private sector. Here’s the real duplicity in Clinton’s proposal: Private sector innovator drug companies invested $51.2 billion in R&D spending in 2014—two-thirds more than the NIH—and $600 billion since 2000. And unlike the government, those companies have actually found cures for diseases.
And yet Clinton is in full attack mode when it comes to the drug companies, claiming that she will force them “to redirect more of their profits into meaningful investments in research and development.” The lady who couldn’t handle two mobile devices will decide what these research-based companies will investigate.
I guess the drug industry hasn’t donated enough to the Clinton Foundation to be on the candidate’s good side.
But the fact is the government doesn’t find cures, the private sector does. The NIH does basic research; the drug companies translate those efforts into actual medicines. And drug companies have poured billions into Alzheimer’s research—money that they, not taxpayers, will lose if they fail.
If Clinton is serious about finding a cure for Alzheimer’s—and I’m not at all sure she is—she will need those same drug companies she habitually denigrates. Imposing the kinds of restrictions and regulations she is considering would only ensure that there is not cure for Alzheimer’s by 2025.