Daily Kos discusses a Families USA report asking whether families have better health care today than they did four years ago. The report cites all kinds of grim statistics, such as rising health insurance premiums and an increase in the number of Americans without insurance.
My health insurance is much less generous than it was four years ago. At the same time, my family has access to better health care today than we did five to seven years ago. That’s because a drug used by my daughter, Singulair, was approved by the FDA for children aged two to five in March 2000. (The drug was approved for older children and adults in February 1998; seven years ago the drug was not available at all in the U.S., except in clinical trials.)
We gave our daughter several different medications earlier this year. Her symptoms were terrible. Singulair, manufactured by Merck, was the only medication that worked.
Given a choice between our current situation and going back to January 1998, when Singulair wasn’t yet available, there’s no question my daughter is better off today.
I am not a kneejerk defender of the pharmaceutical industry, but I am extremely grateful for the existence of Singulair and the free-market health care system that produced it. If the federal government had imposed price controls on pharmaceuticals, as Hillary Clinton wanted to do 10 years ago, I doubt Singulair would exist today. Nor would a lot of other innovative products that have come to market during the past decade.