At the New Yorker, the diligence of its fact checking has been legendary for decades (article here).
That sort of fact-checking is dead as a doornail at New York Times nowadays (a literary reference that can itself be fact-checked to page 1 of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol.")
In a New York Times headline on June 22, "New Drug Could Cost the Government as Much as It Spends on NASA," there are a number of leaky places. It's not a toss-off piece, the authors including one of the NYT main health journalists, Margot Sanger-Katz. But the citation trail doesn't hold up very well.
History of Ridiculous Medicare Projections
New drugs and technologies have often triggered hysterical cost projections for the Medicare program.
- When the prostate cancer drug Provenge (sipuleucil) was approved by FDA in 2010, there was an outcry that its vast expenses would topple the Medicare program, given the prevalence of well over 1M men with prostate cancer.
- In fact, Provenge sales were never surprisingly and the developer (not the Medicare program) went bankrupt. Provenge sales ran around $200M per year, 2011-2013.
- When heart transplants began to become practical in the 1980s, there was a groundswell of federal concern that costs would skyrocket and rapidly overwhelm the Medicare program. (I wrote about the history in 2015 here).
- Never happened. Didn't even get close.[*]
Net net, NYT attributes its high numbers to Kaiser, and Kaiser simply spitballs that 1M patients would be $56B costs, and then Kaiser attributes and hyperlinks the projections to a Biogen deck that says nothing of the sort at all.