BETHESDA--Harold Varmus, MD, Director of the NIH, has removed
the "reasonable pricing" clause from the Public Health
Service's model Cooperative Research and Development Agreement
(CRADA). Many believe that the clause has driven industry away
from potentially beneficial collaboration with government scientists.
"Eliminating [it] will promote research that can enhance
the health of the American people," Dr. Varmus said.
Adopted in 1989 partly in response to the price of zidovudine
(Retrovir, AZT), which many considered too high, reasonable pricing
has been controversial ever since. In 1992, it came under Congressional
scrutiny during development of paclitaxel (Taxol). Many in Congress
and in the pharmaceutical industry maintained that use of the
clause politicized and acted as a deterrent to collaborative public-private
research, especially in cancer and AIDS.