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The Cure in the Code by Peter Huber

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13

DOLLAR DOCTOR SCIENCE

CHARLES DE GAULLE once wondered how anyone could govern a nation that had 246 different kinds of cheese. Our biochemists could probably stock that many varieties on just the cholesterol shelf of the fromagerie. And while medicine might not need quite that many cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, it certainly needs more than one, because different statins have somewhat different effects in different bodies. The CEO of Novartis switched to Pfizer’s Lipitor after finding that he responded less well to his own company’s Lescol.

But for Washington’s dollar doctors, our biochemical diversity is a disaster. In the short run, fragmentation in the pharmacy is expensive. Every new drug comes with a new patent that keeps prices ...

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