I'm supposed to be on holiday. But everyone is linking to this post by Ben Domenech which, like, totally proves that I don't know what I'm talking about regarding pharma research, so I should probably point to this post by Derek Lowe, pharma researcher, which questions Ben Domenech's analysis. It's true that I oversimplified both pharma and academia's role: academia sometimes develops drugs, while pharma does basic research. Such is blogging. The broad point is that basic research and developing a working drug are two different activities, and neither is "real" innovation. I don't want to stop government from funding basic research, and never said I did. But producing drugs does not seem to be the government's core competence.