Saturday, August 30, 2014


Between ice-bucket challenges and BeLoud!Sophie and my brother-in-law Walter's raising more than $11k riding in the Pan-Mass Challenge for breast cancer research and Jack Pringle's solo efforts in Rowing to Gainesville for Tyler's Hope to raise money for and consciousness around Dystonia, I've seen a lot of noble and valiant efforts going into fund-raising for various medical causes.  Which is all very tremendous.

But it is also rather lossy and tends to direct funding to the squeakiest wheel.  Research $ tends to get attention to the extent that it impacts people with time, energy, and wherewithal to mount campaigns.

And thus, we have another example of the withering of the state, as Republicans would have it.  Allocating dollars for medical research is very much a public interest thing, and while bottom-up strategies and frameworks definitely have a place in determining how cash flows, there is also a need for top-down views that can take into account asymmetric risks.  Like, say, developing vaccines and treatment protocols for something like an Ebola virus.  It's good that some pharma and biotech companies are out there trying to look at that kind of stuff and other "orphan" diseases (which are within the pharma world are regarded as profitable niches), but a strong central strategic vision for medical research is important.

Net net, I think this is an important government function that should be funded.  And yet, the budgets of the NIH and other allied government organs are under considerable attack.  Which is no surprise within the Republicans' highly orchestrated War on Government.

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