>And how many of those drugs being tested were developed using government-provided research funding? I believe that something like 30-40% of all medical research in the US is federally funded. That seems like a much more productive way to redress that particular burden.
That may be true in terms of % of money spent, but that does not mean that it's actually produced anything of value. But really, no, the government is hugely terrible at doing any sort of real research or producing products.
I can go into the economics behind it and how the lack of profit motivation and the ability to do proper accounting makes it impossible to accurately gauge the demand and usefulness of products, but most people would have no clue what I am talking about. It's not 'government is teh suxor', but simply a result of a facet of human nature.
One of the major problems we have in the USA is that the FDA is making it increasingly impossible to bring new drugs and procedures to market. The amount of red tape and regulatory burden is extreme. It's beyond belief for most people.
I had to have a operation done a couple years ago. In order to get it done I had to sign up to it as a 'research project'.
Why? Because due to our regulatory system it makes innovation almost impossible. The FDA never approved the operation I needed and the medical devices that were being used in the operation. Even though this operation has been successfully done on numerous people for a decade (and the basis for the procedure has been around for decades longer, this is a improvement to a established practice and nothing radical) and millions of dollars was pored into the research and development of the medical devices.
Right now we exist in a society with a medical system and regulatory environment that would rather see people die from cancer and other diseases then let them have access to life saving drugs and operations because those drugs and operations are deemed too new and too risky by mindless bureaucratic government processes. Then to make up for the fact that it takes millions of dollars to simply deal with government red tape, beyond just developing the products in the first place, we compensate corporations through the patent system which further restricts access and keeps medical advances outside the ability for most people to afford it.