This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," September 22, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: OK, here's a novel idea. How about talking to the doctors? Is anyone bothering to ask them? Ask them if they fear health care reform will crush important, life-saving industries. But here's what we know. "Investors Business Daily" conducted a poll of doctors around the country. Some poll results are disturbing. When asked a simple question - - "Under a government plan, do you think drug companies will have incentives to develop as many life-saving new drugs?" -- 60 percent of doctors said no.
Joining us live is Steve Moore, senior economic writer for The Wall Street Journal editorial page. Now, Steve, of course, we don't know what the bill is that's ultimately going to emerge from Congress. But when you see these numbers, these 60 percent either direction, it makes -- I mean, it's astounding! Is anyone even talking to these doctors?
STEPHEN MOORE, WALL STREET JOURNAL, "THE END OF PROSPERITY" CO- AUTHOR: Yes, Greta, this was a very scary finding. I mean, when you think about it, what is health care reform all about? It's supposed to be about improving the health and the medical system for curing diseases and stopping chronic diseases, and so on.
And what we've found over the years is that the United States has really been leading the world in all of the new wonder drugs. In fact, 25 of the 30 last great life-saving drugs were developed here in the United States.
But here's the problem, Greta. It's very expensive for these pharmaceutical companies to develop a new drug. Some estimates, a half a billion dollars to develop a new drug and put it on the market. And if the drug industry is worried that they're going to face new taxes and price controls, they're not -- it's going to slow innovation. It's going to lead to slower drugs that deal with things like cancer and heart disease and multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer's. So this is serious business.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, it is, indeed, but there's a part of me that also sort of -- I mean, I don't have a huge amount of sympathy for the drug industry. I just heard today about how in Montgomery County, Maryland, how much was spent in one particular year for the drug Valium, and it was extraordinary amounts. I mean, you know, we are pretty drug-happy out there.
I guess the thing that bothers me so much is that -- is that they're - - you know, is that it doesn't seem anyone is consulting the doctors, whether it's about how do we encourage research, how do we deliver the service better. You know, when you've got -- you know -- you know, are -- these are the people who have the most information about how to make it better, and I don't see them being asked much.
MOORE: We should be listening to the doctors. And by the way, in a previous poll that was done by Investors Daily, they found that many doctors said that they would quit the medical profession if "Obamacare" came into place because they don't want to be involved in a health care system that's run by the government.
But the point about this medical drug issue is we should be encouraging this industry. If you want to cut health care costs, rather than having expensive surgeries, if you can find drugs and vaccines that deal with all sorts of illnesses and chronic diseases, you dramatically cut costs. And you know, if you look over the past 50 years, we have cut the death rate from cancer and heart disease in half mostly because of medical devices, new surgical procedures and the pharmaceutical industry. This is a...
VAN SUSTEREN: Yes, but -- but...
MOORE: This is a life-saving industry!
VAN SUSTEREN: But any doctor will tell you that, you know, the reason why they're prescribing drugs to help with hearts because of the heart problem is because we've got such a terrible problem with obesity. I mean, so you can back that up, like, you know, beyond that. I mean, like, we probably wouldn't need as much if -- you know, if we were all a little -- whatever.
But anyway, so I mean, there are a lot of issues. It's just the question is who are we -- who are we going to for health care reform? You know, where -- where -- where's Congress getting this information? Are they just playing with numbers on Capitol Hill and talking to each other and answering constituent mail, or are they doing, like -- you know, I mean -- I mean, our show actually went to the Cleveland Clinic.
MOORE: I remember that.
VAN SUSTEREN: We went out to the Midwest, to my hometown. We talked -- I mean, these -- the doctors, the hospitals, those are the ones that, you know, should be heavily, you know, considered in this discussion.
MOORE: And these are the people who've really been dealt out of the discussion. I agree with you entirely, Greta. But we should remember, if we want to reduce health care costs and prolong life and end diseases, win the race for the cure for cancer, that's going to require medical research. And if you're going to put price controls on, if you're going to tax that industry -- you know, if you tax something, you get less of it. If we tax our pharmaceutical industry, we're going to get less drugs that save lives and that's going to drive up costs, and it defeats the whole purpose of this exercise.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it's the president and the Congress -- they want this bill, they got to find some place to pay for it, so you know, someone -- you know, someone's going to get a tax.
MOORE: That's right!
VAN SUSTEREN: We'll see.
VAN SUSTEREN: Someone's going to get it.
MOORE: But I like your idea...
VAN SUSTEREN: This is not free!
MOORE: Listen to the doctors. Listen to what they have to say. They know the health care system best.
VAN SUSTEREN: Steve, thank you.
MOORE: Thank you.
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