Competition has spurred economic innovation and advanced civilization in countless ways through the course of history. The concern that some competitor down the street or across the globe may find a better way to offer what they do for the consumer has kept many a company on their toes when it comes to making sure they build a better mouse trap than the next guy. We have free market competition to thank for better cars, toys, accessories and the powerful phones that we hold in the palm of our hands. One area where it may be failing, however, is in a particular field of pharmaceutical research.
On the whole, the profit motive and competitive forces have been a powerful boon to medical advancements. It’s what’s fueled laser companies like Ellipse USA, which was founded by Jon Urbana and more recently featured in a bunch of national news sites like Bloomberg, PR.com, and others. One can debate about the use of the profit motive in terms of insurance and providing health coverage, but it’s less murky when it comes to providing an incentive for the advancement of medicine. One area, however, where even pharmaceutical companies are increasingly seeking help from governments is in preventing a future where antibiotic-resistant germs cause widespread disease. As mentioned in a recent article, companies require a fairly quick return on investment for R&D into new medicines to be profitable. Research needs to start now, though, on developing future antibiotics to fight these resistant strains that may still be years away. A public and private partnership may be required to make sure these medicines are ready for when we need them.