I find the knee-jerk hostility to private companies that take enormous risks and make products that save and improve lives to be baffling. It's a form of bigotry on the left - a loathing of the private sector and an inane notion that somehow public dollars are more virtuous than private ones. A reader writes:

Thank you for defending the work of the private pharma/biotech sector. I work for a larger biotech company in Massachusetts; we have literally dozens of therapies in development, in trials, or which are all ready commercial; they are all treatments for MS, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's, various autoimmune disorders, blood disorders, or cardiac anomalies.  And that's only from one company, among dozens, if not hundreds of firms, large and small.

How many hard-on and hair pills do you know of in the entire industry, combined?  Six, I think?  A drop in the ocean of biotech.  Do some of our products have their ancestry in NIH-funded university research?  Absolutely.  But I will tell you that our most promising drugs right now, truly potential blockbusters, were in-house research projects. That particular commenter needs to reflect on whether there are shibboleths upon which her own opinions are based.

Among some liberals, there is more concern with controlling research than in promoting it. It reminsd me of the ideology of the Christianists. It's not NIH or private research: it's both. And they have different roles, with NIH funding the kind of basic research that will never be funded for profit, and private companies pioneering specific treatments for specific groups or illnesses.

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