The Myth of an Obesity Epidemic, Genetic Testing Now Routine, and a New Drug Now Costs $1 Billion to Develop

There is no obesity epidemic: Two new studies by the CDC — one about obesity in children and the other about adult obesity — both published in JAMA.

Births of babies with cystic fibrosis, Tay-Sachs and other less familiar disorders have dropped. Reason: Gene testing as part of routine prenatal care.

Cost to develop a new drug: $1 billion. Previous estimate was $802 million. (Hat tip to Jason Shafrin.)

Comments (8)

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  1. Devon Herrick says:

    The drugs most likely to be left on the pharmacy shelves was pain medication – with 45 percent of new prescriptions never filled. Prescriptions for depression, asthma and gastrointestinal problems went unfilled between one-quarter to one-third of the time.

  2. Ken says:

    The obesity studies are interesting. They refute so much of what we have been hearing — at lest if their conclusions are true.

  3. Virginia says:

    I don’t visit doctors all that often, but I find that on every visit, I end up either refusing medicine that either has too many side effects or I don’t feel is necessary or I take the prescription home and don’t bother having it filled.

    It’s probably part of our culture. Doctors want to do something, so they prescribe a medication. Consumers take the prescription slip but decide not to take the medicine either because of cost, side effects, etc.

  4. Devon Herrick says:

    I’ve heard it suggested that doctors pull out their prescription pads to signal patients that the office visit is over.

  5. artk says:

    One of the excuses used to explain away better health outcome statistics for other countries is the claim that the obesity epidemic skews the results. If there’s no obesity epidemic, then maybe our inferior statistics aren’t because of the lifestyle choices of the American public but a result of the inadequacies in the US health care system.

  6. Linda Gorman says:

    It has been known for a few years now that the data suggest that the distribution of overweight shifted slightly to the right, became more skewed, and then pretty much stopped changing, at least if data from NHANES are to be believed.

    Katherine Flegal of the National Center for Health Statistics has published a number of papers on obesity statistics. She explains that the definition of overweight (which is based on correlations with the weight of 20-29 year olds) and obese has changed markedly since the 1960s. By changing the overweight cutoffs, the government changed the estimated number of overweight adults 61.7 million to 97.1 million in the 1990s. The estimated percentage of overweight adults went from 43.3 in the earily 1960s, to 46.1 in 1971-1974, to 46.0 in 1976-1980, to 54.4 in 1988-94.

  7. Jamie Apple says:

    Obesity is really an epidemic these days. People have become very lazy and does not want to exercise anymore. I do a lot of jogging and brisk walking everyday just to be fit and healthy.

  8. Jimmy Cruz says:

    here in Philippines, obesity is also becoming a problem. More and more children are getting obese due to a lifestyle that is not fully of physical activities. most kids just wants to watch TV, play computer games and surf the net.