Wednesday, September 01, 2004

The Doctor Diagnoses Another Case of Simplistic Socialism

Dr. Henry I. Miller is a physician and a fellow at the Hoover Institution and the Competitive Enterprise Institute. He was an FDA official from 1979 to 1994. And he understands economics. It's too bad that most other medical insiders aren't as savvy as Dr. Miller. Writing today at Tech Central Station he delivers a deadly diagnosis of Dr. Marcia Angell's The Truth About the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What to Do About, a compendium of simplistic, socialistic nostrums. Miller's bottom line about Angell's book:
Dr. Angell's proposals to, in effect, nationalize the American system of drug development reflect almost inconceivable naiveté. They are reminiscent of economist Milton Friedman's example of a flawed syllogism: Capitalism has worked everywhere it has been tried; socialism has failed everywhere it has been tried; therefore, let us try socialism.

A spirited diatribe can educate and entertain, but in The Truth About the Drug Companies, Dr. Angell does neither. Her diagnoses are wrong, and her remedies -- which are reminiscent of the government controls and centralized planning of the old Soviet Union -- are far worse than the disease.
Don't bother to read the book, but do take the time to read Dr. Miller's article, and anything else by him that pops up on the web.