Private companies have little incentive to develop a vaccine for AIDS. The research and development costs would be high, and the company that developed the vaccine would immediately become the target of overwhelming worldwide pressure to give it away for free.
I thought the above statement was so obvious that anyone who had ever given it a moment's thought knew it, but apparently when the federal chief of AIDS research said it, it was "an unusually candid admission."
"If we look at the vaccine, HIV vaccine, we're going to have an HIV vaccine. It's not going to be made by a company," Dr. Edmund Tramont said. "They're dropping out like flies because there's no real incentive for them to do it. We have to do it."
What struck me as especially odd here is that the drug companies immediately denounced Tramont's comment. Why? I guess they want people to think they're deeply committed to public health. If instead they'd be honest enough to admit that (like all companies) what they're deeply committed to is their own profits, we could have much more intelligent discussions about the costs of health care.