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The history of biomedicine/biotech and economic policy

Posted Dec 20 2008 6:46pm

Two quotes from yesterday’s online media caught my interest as a historian of contemporary biomedicine:

First from an interview in yesterday’s Nature online with former Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Elias Zerhouni:

The economic stimulus package is $500 billion, with $1 billion for science. It’s outrageous. This is the future of our country. So now we’re subsidizing the industries of the past at the expense of investments in the industries of the future. It’s almost an insult, frankly.

Second from a post on yesterday’s Medgadget about a European Union (EU) funded project that aims to develop a microchip that can do DNA analysis for clinical applications:

This is one of the examples of pan-European cooperation that we constantly see over the wires, that never seem to make it past EU’s bureaucratic directives … It seems to us that an average 10 person startup from Silicon Valley tends to deliver results better than multinational projects run by Brussels.

Both quotes remind me how direly we need historical studies of the long-term interaction between medical science/tech development and economic policy.

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