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Int J Health Serv. 2008;38(4):731-50.

The benefits and savings from publicly funded clinical trials of prescription drugs.

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Center for Economic and Policy Research, Washington, DC 20009, USA.


The current system of financing for clinical drug trials creates numerous perverse incentives. Since the trials are typically performed or controlled by the company who owns the patent, it has enormous incentives to report positive findings and conceal results that indicate the drug might be ineffective or even harmful. In addition, the large patent rents earned by drug companies are justified by the need to recoup research costs, approximately half of which are attributable to clinical trials. This article outlines a system of publicly financed clinical trials under which all results are fully available to the public. The system would be financed by paying lower drug prices under the Medicare drug program and other public health care programs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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