Wednesday, January 20, 2010
How Much is an Autism Cure Worth?
Business Week's Ellen Gibson reports on accelerating efforts to find a drug to effectively treat autism. As the charts from BW above show, the affliction is destined to grow to be hideously expensive--and that's just in dollars-and-cents terms, to say nothing of the enormous human costs.
So again, looking at those sorts of costs, is it cheaper to think about saving money by shaving a few points off the growth trajectory of autism treatment? Or by tackling the problem of autism itself? The answer is obvious.
But in the meantime, Washington DC is abuzz with proposals for reducing the deficit and debt. But the question is whether or not any such budget-cutting commissions will actually think through the best way to cut spending. Will they look, for example, at strategies that involve eliminating the disease--such as a cure for autism? Or will they seek, simply, to reduce the rate of growth on future spending? A look at those charts reminds us: A huge percentage cut in future spending would still be a huge increase from where we are now.
The cheapest treatment is a cure.
Posted by James P. Pinkerton at 10:02 AM