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Author Topic: US pharmaceutical companies score a victory.  (Read 2082 times)
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Raven
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« on: June 27, 2005, 04:59:18 PM »

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8375983/
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« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2005, 05:16:31 PM »

As a pharmacy tech, I'm upset at seeing this. Why? It's simple - our government allows the pharmacutical industry to charge WAY too much for medications.

The worst part? The people that us, the taxpayer, pay for, usually get the most expensive medications absolutely free!

The whole drug industry is screwed up here in the US. Period. I could post some brand vs generic price comparisons that would make your head spin as to how dramatic the difference is.
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Doopri
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« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2005, 06:50:32 PM »

cancer... still workin on it

aids... were gettin there, really guys!

pill trading joint aches for a heart attack - we got em!

pill to give give grampa a hard on like a teenager - oh, we got you covered there!

- in other words destructor, yea, we know how useless the industry has been lately smile
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th'FOOL
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« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2005, 06:58:44 PM »

The problem really lies in the fact that pharmeceutical companies are big business, and are generally more concerned with keeping their revenues up than actually helping people.  You'll notice that most drugs treat the symptoms rather than the illness.  There just isn't as much money to be made from a cure as there is a drug that alleviates symptoms.
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Mike Dunn
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« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2005, 09:29:00 PM »

Quote from: "th'FOOL"
The problem really lies in the fact that pharmeceutical companies are big business, and are generally more concerned with keeping their revenues up than actually helping people.  You'll notice that most drugs treat the symptoms rather than the illness.  There just isn't as much money to be made from a cure as there is a drug that alleviates symptoms.

Ain't that the truth.

Okay, let's take a random drug as far as pricing goes - Claritin. You've heard of it, right? Just recently (within the last few months) went OTC.

Check out the price of Claritin next time you're in the store. Then check out your 'store' brand. Notice the huge price difference? Exact same drug, just made by two different people.

Then go visit your allergy section (where Benadryl and others sit). Notice there's a 'Claritin Allergy'? Take a look at the back. Yup - it's the exact same drug as the normal Claritin. Notice how it's a different price? Makes sense, no?

Yeah, I'm tired of the drug industry. biggrin
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« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2005, 11:34:15 PM »

Then another facet is how much money is DONATED for R&D on these drugs, both by the US Govt, and funds from organizations.  This is especially true of AIDS and cancer research.

But when breakthroughs come from donated money, it just ends up going into the stable of private IP.  Just like the recent complaints that AIDS medicines are priced out of range for most people.  I'm sure this is true of most products, but it is especially true of pharmaceuticals- Americans are being price gouged, and for no other reason than our government allows it.

Just another reason why the entire health care sector is failing its core mission so long as it's profit-driven.  When the economics of the business support NOT curing the sick, something is going wrong.
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Doopri
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« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2005, 11:45:49 PM »

tax em!

use the money and have nih fund university research centers!

then let the intellectual property stuff be easier for others to aquire and use - that way you dont have to rely on market for the actual hard core research that scientists do better...  let the companies mass produce it on the cheap - thats what they do better
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« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2005, 11:56:42 PM »

Im actually starting to buy into the "information needs to be free" crowd.  It seems we are reaching a point where the overhead involved in tracking IP and defending claims are hurting the development of new ideas.

You cant stand on the shoulders of giants if the giants keep shrugging you off.
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Rhinohelix
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« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2005, 09:24:36 AM »

Cancer, Aids, etc.  treating the symptoms and not finding a cure?  Those bastards!

I hear this a fair amount, being diabetic.  "Companies don't want to find a cure, they make more off treating the disease."   Well, that works great in theory but try this on:  think about how much money the company that finds the cure or permanent treatment is going to make, without having to share the profits.

The company that cures AIDS is going to be the wealthiest corporation on the planet.  They are treating the symptoms because they are in the business of making medicines people want and that is all they are capable of right now.  There are vast oceans of money in cures.  Don't forget though we are only a few hundred years out from being having leeches put on them to help balance their humours and having no clue about the existance of bacteria.  How long ago was it we even knew DNA existed?

As far as the price of drugs go, I hear it takes a little bit of scratch to come up with some of these drugs.  Sure they are making money, but how many 200m-1b dollar projects have not worked out?

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use the money and have nih fund university research centers!

then let the intellectual property stuff be easier for others to aquire and use - that way you dont have to rely on market for the actual hard core research that scientists do better... let the companies mass produce it on the cheap - thats what they do better
 

Do universities have the same incentives that companies do?  Do you think that universities will design and make products the market wants in the same manner as corporations?   I don't.   There is Viagra because 1) people (the market) want it; 2) there is science to provide it.  Just as government by itself has no incentive to be efficient, who would direct the research of this new quasi-governmental drug cabal?  If the corporations don't come up with safe drugs peole want, they go out of business.  If the NIH/university system doesn't.... well then they don't give a damn, really.

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Im actually starting to buy into the "information needs to be free" crowd. It seems we are reaching a point where the overhead involved in tracking IP and defending claims are hurting the development of new ideas.


Without any incentive to invest in drug research, which again is on the order  of hundreds of millions if not billions, why do you think anyone would spend that money to do that?  Philanthorpy and government paychecks only go so far.  Making it free only means no one will make it, except manufacturers without market influences, i.e. the government.  You will pay for it just as much if not more in higher taxes and get a much less satisfactory product than if it were made by the private sector.

The solution isn't putting more government in, its taking more government out.  That solution, namely government intervention and over-regulation led to flu vaccine no longer being manufactured by any drug company in the U.S. (along with a host of other issues which are beyond the scope of this thread). The worst way governments sabotage market forces are price controls overseas.  One reason companies charge more here is because they have to in order to come out ahead because socialized medicine overseas limits their ability to charge what its worth.

Remedying that issue? Wow, let's get the easy stuff out of the way, like the cures for cancer and AIDS first.

Rhino
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Rhinohelix
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« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2005, 09:52:02 AM »

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Just another reason why the entire health care sector is failing its core mission so long as it's profit-driven. When the economics of the business support NOT curing the sick, something is going wrong.


I addressed this primarily in my last post but let me tackle this angle here.  Just for the record, while companies make money for taking care of sick people, market forces in the health care business are supremely warped and disjointed.  The reason?  Health care insurance.  People don't associate the price of health care with its actual cost; they think of the price as what they pay for their insurance.  This leads to peoople not making economic decisions based upon the cost of anything but on more emotional grounds.  How could people be expected to?  Think of the number of times you hear someone say "Whatever it takes, Doc", vs. "be sure not to get real wild, I am picking up the bill"?

As insurance masks the real cost of care, the inflationary spiral begins.  There is no downward pressure on costs at all, since people don't pay for anything.  Hospitals and doctors also have other costs of doing business eating away at them, beyond what the care would provide anyway, such as indigient care costs and malpractice insurance.  Look at Mississippi: Doctors are fleeing the state due to malpractice insurance.  As Medicare with its capped cost system becomes a larger and larger part of the system, both in payment setting and regulatory burden, Drs. are unable to charge to make up the added cost of regulation and patient care.  The prices are set in Washington, and another layer is added between the patients, the drs. the providers and accountability.

Look at LASIK:  since it was introduced in the early 1990's the cost has come down many fold, and even since 2001 there have been even more reductions, as the average price per eye fell from $2500 per eye to $1000.  People have a vast range of providers to choose from, and select from a more affordable surgery or a more high-end provider.  All this while other health care providers costs have averaged 10%-ish year-over year cost increases.  The difference?

Typically,  vision insurance plans don't cover it.

Rhino
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« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2005, 03:04:49 PM »

Heck, I wish I could find it, but there was an excellent article comparing health insurance companies to the VA's excellent diabetes program.  The VA started routine screening, and managed to find people with early stage diabetes.  They were able to treat them, and it ended up saving the system tons of money because it was caught early.  Happy patient, happy system.

But contrasted with the profit-driven model, private companies were against that plan.  Yes, there were savings by catching it early, but it was potentially saving some other company money.  They reasoned that in that future point in time, when the diabetic patient's condition came to a point where enough damage had been done to prevent normal operation of the body, that patient might be covered by a different insurance organization.  Meaning, the $20 spent on testing and the $100 in pills to treat it early now were being shoved aside, since they would prefer to defer any expenses til some point in the future, and they may never end up paying anything.

And then, of course, are the tons of cases where insurance companies just use legal dodges to drop sick people who need to file huge claims.  They do this because paying out claims doesnt help profit, and they are a profit driven organization.

That's why there is a campaign against 'socialized medicine'.  The people who are making tons of profit from the system want to continue doing so.  As so many people keep saying, consider the source.  The misinformation campaign regarding Canada's health care system is a great example of this.  These corporations prove every day they don't care about the quality of health care; so why should we continue supporting a system that doesnt work properly?
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« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2005, 03:33:14 PM »

Quote from: "Rhinohelix"
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Im actually starting to buy into the "information needs to be free" crowd. It seems we are reaching a point where the overhead involved in tracking IP and defending claims are hurting the development of new ideas.


Without any incentive to invest in drug research, which again is on the order  of hundreds of millions if not billions, why do you think anyone would spend that money to do that?  

People have been treating the sick since before money even existed.  Necessity is the mother of invention, not money.

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Philanthorpy and government paychecks only go so far.

Thats a claim, but the evidence supporting it isnt very convincing.  There are a lot of NPOs in the health care field; you cant say they arent doing anything.

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Making it free only means no one will make it, except manufacturers without market influences, i.e. the government.

I was talking about the intellectual property being free.  Proprietary information doesnt make a convincing case when it comes to health care.

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You will pay for it just as much if not more in higher taxes and get a much less satisfactory product than if it were made by the private sector.

This hasnt been proven.  And I already pay taxes and have no health care.  So what do I care if I pay higher taxes but get health care?  Seems like a net gain to me; I was paying $300/month on my last plan.  I doubt my tax increase would be $300/month.

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The solution isn't putting more government in, its taking more government out.  That solution, namely government intervention and over-regulation led to flu vaccine no longer being manufactured by any drug company in the U.S. (along with a host of other issues which are beyond the scope of this thread).

1.  Government intervention hasnt been proven detrimental.  It's a talking point with no teeth, since the already existing government-run health organizations do many things very well.
2.  the flu vaccine thing is a smokescreen as well.
3.  deregulation leads to Enron-style abuses.
(all IMO, Ill try to find some supporting links, but I have to leave for an appointment)

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The worst way governments sabotage market forces are price controls overseas.  One reason companies charge more here is because they have to in order to come out ahead because socialized medicine overseas limits their ability to charge what its worth.

Thats an excuse.  If those companies werent making money overseas, they wouldnt be there.  You are trying to tell me these loving, benevolent, profit-driven corporations are price gouging the US consumer for the betterment of mankind?  Puh-leeze.

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Remedying that issue? Wow, let's get the easy stuff out of the way, like the cures for cancer and AIDS first.

Rhino

I think getting a family adequate health care is a much easier issue than curing cancer or AIDS.  One is a logistics issue which doesnt require coming up with new technology, while the latter isnt.

Cancer isnt one thing, so 'curing' it isnt simple.  Brain cancer is different than colon cancer is different from breast cancer, etc etc.

AIDS is a moving target, since it continues to mutate.  Now you have to either come up with a cure for each strain, or a cure that hits all strains.  The best'cure' is to make sure people dont get infected in the first place.  But unfortantely many people turn condom distribution into a political issue rather than a health care issue.
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Doopri
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« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2005, 05:06:22 PM »

Rhino - check out the work done on university campuses - its amazing and its done largely for the sake of science - wander around any engineering chemical bio or any number of lab space at a uni and youll notice they do research on everything from the seemingly most innane and pointless things to the near sci - fi.  its done simply "because" - if you want to know what happens when some isotope of some element hits an iron bar of a compound created yesterday, then chances are some uni already is working on it.  research done for profit isnt very innovative because profit motives focus on things that can quickly return an investment - something not exactly conducive to research that is often costly, long term and tedious with no promise of success.  thats why im all about dumping more funding into those who conduct research for its own sake.  theyre more likely to take risks, test ideas that may initially seem "out there" and the like - and they may actually work.  research is a trial and error process, the market has no room for error so it tends to stagnate pharms around what they know.  i love the idea of market based distribution because it gets you the stuff cheap - right now the pharm industry is NOT market based because of the monopoly status granted to its few participants - hence why we have sort of a weird drug industy.

if you want any idea of how efficient targetted investment is - check out the defense industry - think of what battle was like less than 100 years ago, think how it is today - then think how many of those things were translated over to civ use and largely responsible for the vast amount of technology we have today
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Rhinohelix
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« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2005, 05:37:57 PM »

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Heck, I wish I could find it, but there was an excellent article comparing health insurance companies to the VA's excellent diabetes program.
 You are the only person I know that would cite the VA as a health care model.  And I know that you are 100% wrong about the early detection programs.  Every insurer I know has something similar, as well as every medical facility having a "diabetes awareness" program and many employers having that as well. Preventive medicine is good policy and profitable business for everyone.

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People have been treating the sick since before money even existed. Necessity is the mother of invention, not money.


Sure people have been treated  since before money existed.  How successfully?  A witch doctor applying herbs and cauterizing wounds isn't exactly what people would consider "care".  Up until about 150 years ago, the leading cause of death amongst women was child birth.

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Thats a claim, but the evidence supporting it isnt very convincing. There are a lot of NPOs in the health care field; you cant say they arent doing anything.


 I can say that they wouldn't be doing so well if they were the only ones doing anything.

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I was talking about the intellectual property being free. Proprietary information doesnt make a convincing case when it comes to health care.
 Actually, it does.  Drugs have a schedule by which they become "generic" before which companies have time to recoup their research costs.  Techniques and therapies are not treated as such and are generally spread throughout the medical community.

 
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This hasnt been proven. And I already pay taxes and have no health care. So what do I care if I pay higher taxes but get health care? Seems like a net gain to me; I was paying $300/month on my last plan. I doubt my tax increase would be $300/month.


Perhaps not.  That would be entirely dependant on how much taxes you pay.  If you don't think that a new government-run health care system wouldn't cost $3600 a person covered, you would be mistaken.

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1. Government intervention hasnt been proven detrimental. It's a talking point with no teeth, since the already existing government-run health organizations do many things very well.


Again, like the previous mentioned VA system?  I don't know many people would say much about the government is "well-run"

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2. the flu vaccine thing is a smokescreen as well.


Right.  6 drug manufacturers + Clinton administration= 1 overseas manfacturer.  Smoke screen?  If you choose to ignore that fact, that is your business.

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3. deregulation leads to Enron-style abuses.


There will be abuses under any system.  The only difference is that there are mechanisms to hold business accountable.  Government is a horse of aa different color.

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Thats an excuse. If those companies werent making money overseas, they wouldnt be there. You are trying to tell me these loving, benevolent, profit-driven corporations are price gouging the US consumer for the betterment of mankind? Puh-leeze.


No, I think they are making money every way they can.  Once the drugs are finalized, as long as they are making a little more than manufacturing costs they are in the black.

Should they not be able to charge higher prices in the U.S., the number of drug companies/research concerns would decline, over time steeply.

Rhino
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« Reply #14 on: June 29, 2005, 09:06:03 PM »

Quote from: "Rhinohelix"
Quote
Heck, I wish I could find it, but there was an excellent article comparing health insurance companies to the VA's excellent diabetes program.
 You are the only person I know that would cite the VA as a health care model.  And I know that you are 100% wrong about the early detection programs.  Every insurer I know has something similar, as well as every medical facility having a "diabetes awareness" program and many employers having that as well. Preventive medicine is good policy and profitable business for everyone.

I'll try to find the article.  And insurers are very much against preventative treatments and early detections, at least with the bulk of policies.  I know from my own experiences in treatments I had to out-of-pocket, as well as many of my friends.  Just because a few programs support it doesnt mean they all do.

But anyway, one point is that our system rewards doctors who perform unnecessary surgeries.  A system like the VA or other salaried doctors have no incentive to do so, and are more likely to look for less risky, non-invasive alternatives.

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I was talking about the intellectual property being free. Proprietary information doesnt make a convincing case when it comes to health care.
 Actually, it does.  Drugs have a schedule by which they become "generic" before which companies have time to recoup their research costs.  Techniques and therapies are not treated as such and are generally spread throughout the medical community.


Well, this exact battle is being fought over those who want to treat DNA discoveries as proprietary information.  Should companies have patents on the genetic code?  Seems pretty silly to me, kind of like getting a patent on doing an automotive repair.

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This hasnt been proven. And I already pay taxes and have no health care. So what do I care if I pay higher taxes but get health care? Seems like a net gain to me; I was paying $300/month on my last plan. I doubt my tax increase would be $300/month.

Perhaps not.  That would be entirely dependant on how much taxes you pay.  If you don't think that a new government-run health care system wouldn't cost $3600 a person covered, you would be mistaken.

What Im saying is Im paying taxes and not getting health care.  So if I have to pay taxes AND get health care, I am (and a majority of the country are) coming out with a net gain.

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1. Government intervention hasnt been proven detrimental. It's a talking point with no teeth, since the already existing government-run health organizations do many things very well.


Again, like the previous mentioned VA system?  I don't know many people would say much about the government is "well-run"


Your anecdotes arent very convincing.  Again, I havent seen anything aside from spin pointing to the VA being the evil organization you claim it is; supporting evidence would help, as would first-hand accounts.

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2. the flu vaccine thing is a smokescreen as well.

Right.  6 drug manufacturers + Clinton administration= 1 overseas manfacturer.  Smoke screen?  If you choose to ignore that fact, that is your business.

When in doubt, blame Clinton.

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3. deregulation leads to Enron-style abuses.


There will be abuses under any system.

So we should just give up, and not try to even fix the system; let's just gut all the laws and leave things to the corporations to decide right from wrong?
 
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The only difference is that there are mechanisms to hold business accountable.

Yes, they are called laws.  So repealing them doesnt 'fix' the problem.
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Government is a horse of aa different color.

Laws dont apply to the Government?  I thought the Gvt was sued all the time.

And yes, I know the government exempts itself from many laws.  That is hardly a reason to claim the government doesnt do anything right.  I used to work for the local governement's public health system, and am currently a patient there since I cant afford anything else.  It is just as good as almost any private practice, and treats a far higher volume of people.

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Thats an excuse. If those companies werent making money overseas, they wouldnt be there. You are trying to tell me these loving, benevolent, profit-driven corporations are price gouging the US consumer for the betterment of mankind? Puh-leeze.


No, I think they are making money every way they can.  Once the drugs are finalized, as long as they are making a little more than manufacturing costs they are in the black.

Should they not be able to charge higher prices in the U.S., the number of drug companies/research concerns would decline, over time steeply.

Either that or they would find less wasteful ways of doing things.  Money isnt solving their problems, research and innovation is.  If what you say was true, than the Soviet Union would have had people dying in the streets from lack of health care, since they werent under the loving care of a capitalist health care system.  Or how about another hold-out, Cuba?  They seem to be doing just fine and dandy without privatized medicine.  Or Canada?  I dont see rampaging hordes of zombies and lepers clamoring our borders to eat the brians of our living, healthy citizens.

In fact, all I personally see is private medicine failing.  The people I know who are insured end up paying for almost anything anyway (which makes them wonder what good having insurance is).  Those who arent insured either do without, pay outrageously high fees, get treatment and never pay, or else use a government run program (like I do).  How you can call that a successful model boggles my mind.
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« Reply #15 on: July 01, 2005, 06:15:47 AM »

Quote from: "unbreakable"
Im actually starting to buy into the "information needs to be free" crowd.  It seems we are reaching a point where the overhead involved in tracking IP and defending claims are hurting the development of new ideas.

You cant stand on the shoulders of giants if the giants keep shrugging you off.



That sounds great, but when the average cost for a medication from R&D to FDA trials (from conception to market) runs 880 million dollars, who is going to pay for it, if you can't get a return for your investment?  That's the whole deal with the patent system, in exchange for innovation, you grant the inventor 20 years of market exclusivity (which for meds is really only about 11, since the clinical trials take up a good portion of the patent exclusivity period).  Drugs aren't made by 1 person anymore, more like 20-30 PhDs (or MD/PhDs) working for years, hoping to come up with a workable formula, using incredibly expensive biologic research materials.  

If you want to put medications on a stricter reimbursement schedule, I will point you to Germany.  Germany at one point was a huge pharmaceutical innovator, behind only the US and Japan in creation of new meds (about 10 years ago, Germany put out 11-13% of new medications in the world).  However, they implemented a reference pricing system that really put a crimp on their pharmaceutical industry about 10 years ago.  They're now responsible for about 6% of new meds every year, and that number is falling.  The US, like it or not, has an extremely strong pharmaceutical industry.  It's a huge part of our economy, one place where jobs are not outsourced yet, and the US provides most of the new medications on the market.  Weaken the patent system with pharmaceuticals, you'll see industry flee the country to work in India and the number of new medications will be absolutely crushed.  No one but big business pharma companies can afford to do the research (and before you say Universities, Universities do the basic science research, but cannot afford mass clinical trials and more extensive research, which is why you don't see many University patents on pharmaceuticals.  And yes, Universities can, and do, hold patents, but not in the pharma world...it's just too expensive).

Yeah, there are some HUGELY profitable drugs out there (Claritin was one of them).  But companies like Pfizer, which net like 7 billion in profit a year, get 5 billion of that from the sales of 4 drugs.  The other couple hundred in their staple either make very little, or nothing, and some lose money.

I've done quite a lot of work on pharmaceutical patent issues, and pricing issues, and it's a very complex issue.  The pharmaceutical industry is like no other industry; no other industry is so dominated by a few blockbuster drugs.

It's simple to blame the drug companies, but it's not quite completely accurate.  Medicaid Fraud & Abuse is a huge concern (I went to the Senate Finance Committee hearing yesterday on it, in fact), but a lot of it is due to CMS (Center for Medicare/Medicaid Services) and their idiotic pricing definitions and formulary placement.
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« Reply #16 on: July 01, 2005, 06:20:27 AM »

There actually ARE medical technique patents, but public policy holds you cannot sue a doctor for patent infringement if they use your patented medical technique (in the US).  If the physician performs the technique anyways, you (as the patent holder) can sue the medical supply company that provides the physician the tools, however.

Quote from: "unbreakable"
Should companies have patents on the genetic code?  Seems pretty silly to me, kind of like getting a patent on doing an automotive repair.


The patents aren't to the genes themselves, but to the process of isolating and purifying said genes.  It's hair splitting, but it's a difference.  And most of the genes that are patented are manipulated genes (via recombinant DNA technology), not wild-type native genes.  What that means is the genes are manipulated to be constituently active (the gene is always "on", always producing the target protein) or dominant negative (always "off").
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« Reply #17 on: July 01, 2005, 11:45:45 AM »

Why can't the US Government R+D their own treatments, and sell them to the public at cost.
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« Reply #18 on: July 01, 2005, 03:09:23 PM »

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Why can't the US Government R+D their own treatments, and sell them to the public at cost.


The Government doesn't have the manufacturing capability, first of all, to create or distribute pharmaceuticals.

And if they diverted the R&D funds to pharmaceuticals from basic science research (where most of it is now), you'd cripple the progress on basic science, which would cripple pharm research down the pike.

Let's put things into perspective for you.  Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, gets 440 million per year in research grants from the NIH.  Their probable full research budget hovers around 800-1 billion dollars.

Johns Hopkins, as one of the best funded institutions in the country, could basically research one new drug per year.

Academia and the national research budget just cannot afford the cost it takes to research meds.  It takes a business, with profits driving the business, to do that.
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« Reply #19 on: July 01, 2005, 07:31:39 PM »

Quote from: "Raven"
Why can't the US Government R+D their own treatments, and sell them to the public at cost.


What the government has generally done (and is now cutting back on, due to pressure from private interests) is fund academic research, and then allowed companies to make products based on that research.  I believe the schools doing the research can then own the patent and charge a nominal fee for it (or not), but it doesn't become proprietary.  Others know more about specifics; I might be wrong, but shouldn't be far off.

The reason the government is cutting back on this now is because private organizations would prefer to finance the research, and then own the resulting discoveries, which are then either proprietary or else they can charge a hefty fee for it's use.

Look at it this way- the pharmaceutical industry makes BILLIONS in profit per year, and only a fraction of that is reinvested.  They are falsely crying poor.  Furthermore, medicine has become a product- so when something proves to be a health hazard, they just pay FDA officials to suppress things which would cause them to not approve the drug for use.  They don't make money from failed attempts and lessons learned, only from creating sellable products.  Again, capitalism fails the mission of providing health care.

Quote from: "Eightball"
Academia and the national research budget just cannot afford the cost it takes to research meds. It takes a business, with profits driving the business, to do that.

I dont really buy that.  The government can afford to spend billions on stupid shit (like 2.6+ billion a month in Iraq), so they could realisticly reinvest our tax dollars in the country (and have done so for decades).  The current problem is that capitalism is running rampant at the moment, and bleeding all the money out of the country.  Creating value for investors comes at the cost of reinvesting profits into the country/workforce/business/whatever.

So yeah, it's nice that we can buy foreign made consumer goods for less now, but it comes at the cost of American jobs.  And the average salary has taken a nosedive since 2000 as well, which means those lower prices arent exactly lower- they are keeping pace with lowered wages, higher energy costs, higher food costs, higher costs for education, and especially higher health care costs.  So it balances out somewhat (for those lucky people still employed, anyway), but undercuts the longterm health of the economy.  Service industry McJobs arent reinvesting in the country's future, or doing anything for the trade imbalance.  This is an issue which will be up to our next President to address; our current one made it a problem, so thinking he will help solve it is silly.
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« Reply #20 on: July 01, 2005, 09:07:30 PM »

Quote from: "unbreakable"
[So yeah, it's nice that we can buy foreign made consumer goods for less now, but it comes at the cost of American jobs.  And the average salary has taken a nosedive since 2000 as well, which means those lower prices arent exactly lower- they are keeping pace with lowered wages, higher energy costs, higher food costs, higher costs for education, and especially higher health care costs.  So it balances out somewhat (for those lucky people still employed, anyway), but undercuts the longterm health of the economy.  Service industry McJobs arent reinvesting in the country's future, or doing anything for the trade imbalance.  This is an issue which will be up to our next President to address; our current one made it a problem, so thinking he will help solve it is silly.


But here's one of the biggest problem.  You remove the pharma industry, which is still one of the last industries where the people are 1.  employed almost exclusively in the US at a good salary 2.  the US is a world leader  3.  is a serious part of the economy, and you make it public, what happens then?

Tell me of one industry that the government runs, that runs well.  Medicaid/Medicare (health care)?  No.  Postal Service?  No, partially privatized.  Phone company?  Fully privatized.

Jobs will leave the country (and high paying ones at that), the economy will be crippled, and we'd be left with the government trying to run it.  At a huge cost.  And then if the drugs aren't patented, the US ends up spending the money for researching and developing the drug, so the rest of the world can have it without the attendant R&D investiture.  We end up providing the money to advance medicine for the rest of the world.  Are you ready to subsidize the planet?  I'm not.
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« Reply #21 on: July 02, 2005, 05:19:38 AM »

We already are, by the arguments presented for justifying how Big Pharm works.
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« Reply #22 on: July 02, 2005, 05:01:42 PM »

Quote from: "unbreakable"
We already are, by the arguments presented for justifying how Big Pharm works.




Point about patent law
                                 


                                      <----------Unbreakable.
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« Reply #23 on: July 03, 2005, 09:16:09 AM »

What Im saying is that, from the consumer's standpoint, we are already subsidizing the world.

Does it make any difference if Pfizer is making billions from it, or 20 other companies are splitting the market?  Personally, I would rather have tax money go toward fostering more competition; it saves me as a consumer more money in the long run, and is exactly why we have anti-trust laws in this country.

Personally, I felt much happier when my taxes were supposedly more.  Costs for most basic things are shooting through the roof since 2000.  So instead of paying more money in taxes, the costs of food, education, housing, etc all go up.  And state/local taxes are raising to cover the amount of money states used to get from the federal government, so any drop is taxes turns out to be a false impression.
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« Reply #24 on: July 03, 2005, 07:44:17 PM »

I have one point to make.

"Anal Leaking" isn't a SIDE effect, it's an EFFECT. Drugs treat symptoms, and then new drugs are created to deal with the side effects.

Until money is no longer used in the medical industry we'll have to deal with highway robbery and less-than-ready-for-market products that harm more than they help.
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« Reply #25 on: July 04, 2005, 01:40:19 AM »

Quote from: "unbreakable"
Does it make any difference if Pfizer is making billions from it, or 20 other companies are splitting the market?  Personally, I would rather have tax money go toward fostering more competition; it saves me as a consumer more money in the long run, and is exactly why we have anti-trust laws in this country.


You're getting a few concepts mixed in here.  Patents aren't a true monopoly, as:
1.  There is a limited duration (20 years from first date of application).
2.  There are acceptable generic substitutes for most drugs on the market.  For instance, a physician may prescribe Allegra, when generic claritin might work just as well. Or use the generic iovastatin versus the brand name (on patent) Lipitor.

With acceptable market substitutes out there, a true monopoly cannot exist, which is why you don't see Pfizer, Merck, etc. running afoul of antitrust laws (where you DO see Microsoft, which is much closer to the true antitrust definition of monopoly).

There are actually quite a few big pharma companies.  Yes, there aren't a ton of little guys, but that's simply because bringing a drug to market is so prohibitively expensive, those little guys who start (or even get close to finishing) R&D on the meds license/sell the invention to a big company.

Like I stated before, it's just the wierdest economic model out there.  There's no other industry like it.  I spent the past 7 months researching pricing issues with pharmaceuticals (I started out with my healthcare background, despising big pharma and trying to find an equitable method to reform it).  This is the end result of hundreds of hours spent reading economic reports, law review articles, trade organization publications, public policy papers, and FDA articles.  Depressing, ain't it?
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« Reply #26 on: July 05, 2005, 01:14:34 AM »

Generics can only be made once the patent holder allows it, which means after 20 years.

There are alternatives, but what Im saying is the decisions which allowed those alternatives into being are under attack.  This is because we are allowing capitalistic concerns to overwhelm, for lack of a better term, democratic concerns.  We have anti-trust laws because monopolies (which is a capitalistic end-point) are bad for the industry, progress, and the consumer.  Monopolies have good points, such as standardization of processes, but as an institution, monopolies lead nowhere good.

Yes, its all pretty depressing, and it isnt going to get better.  Our elected officials are now openly citing that they make decisions because it's good for the businesses or whatever.  They are there to voice the concerns of citizens, not businesses.
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« Reply #27 on: July 10, 2005, 03:45:10 PM »

Quote from: "unbreakable"
Generics can only be made once the patent holder allows it, which means after 20 years


I'm well aware of that, and the Bolar provisions that can extend patent terms, but what I was saying is that not all patented drugs are pioneer medications.  Most on-patent medications have therapeutic equivalent generics that can substitute quite nicely.

Like I said, on-patent Allegra and generic loratadine are therapeutic equivalents, but one is on-patent, the other is not.  Or melavonate and Lipitor (generic and the on-patent) are both HMG CoA Reductase inhibitors.  Same drug class, similar therapeutic equivalency.
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« Reply #28 on: July 11, 2005, 04:54:13 AM »

Quote from: "unbreakable"

1.  Government intervention hasnt been proven detrimental.  It's a talking point with no teeth, since the already existing government-run health organizations do many things very well..


Do some research on Tenncare.  It's basically Hillary's national healthcare plan implemented on the state level.  The governor of Tennessee (a Democrat), is having to cut off it's arms and legs because it's such a strain on the state budget and all of the people abusing the system (i.e. out-of-staters, illegal immigrants, people unwilling to take a pay raise because it'll cut their benefits, etc.)  It's been an utter disaster.
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