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posted by janrinok on Monday August 15 2016, @01:22AM   Printer-friendly
from the money,-money,-money dept.

I ran across a story in the acclaimed “medical journal”, International Business Times, about how an old PMS medication from the 60s might be an Alzheimer's cure. Considering the source, I don't put a ton of stock in the story but it was interesting enough to look around a little more. That led me first to wikipedia to learn a little more about the drug in question (sounds like it has nasty side effects), which is when I got totally sidetracked:

Mefenamic acid is generic and is available worldwide under many brand names.[5]

In the USA, wholesale price of a week's supply of generic mefenamic acid has been quoted as $426.90 in 2014. Brand-name Ponstel is $571.70.[15] In contrast, in the UK, a weeks supply is £1.66, or £8.17 for branded Ponstan.[16] In the Philippines, 10 tablets of 500 mg generic mefenamic acid cost PHP39.00 (or the equivalent of $0.88USD) as of October 25, 2014.

The numbers in wikipedia may be extreme, but not by much. Looking online, I see that thirty 250mg tablets cost at least $111 at Walmart. In an almost direct reversal of the quantity and price numbers, one hundred 250mg tablets cost $35 from a UK manufacturer, but to get the drug at that price, you must break Federal law.

The rest of my comment would be a long string of expletives which I shall omit.


Original Submission

Related Stories

Pfizer Halts Research Into Alzheimer's and Parkinson's; Axovant Sciences Abandons Intepirdine 11 comments

Pfizer has announced that it will halt efforts to find new treatments for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. Meanwhile, Axovant Sciences will halt its studies of intepirdine after it failed to show any improvement for dementia and Alzheimer's patients. The company's stock price has declined around 90% in 3 months:

Pfizer has announced plans to end its research efforts to discover new drugs for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. The pharmaceutical giant explained its decision, which will entail roughly 300 layoffs, as a move to better position itself "to bring new therapies to patients who need them."

"As a result of a recent comprehensive review, we have made the decision to end our neuroscience discovery and early development efforts and re-allocate [spending] to those areas where we have strong scientific leadership and that will allow us to provide the greatest impact for patients," Pfizer said in a statement emailed to NPR.

[...] Despite heavily funding research efforts into potential treatments in the past, Pfizer has faced high-profile disappointment in recent years, as Reuters notes: "In 2012, Pfizer and partner Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) called off additional work on the drug bapineuzumab after it failed to help patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's in its second round of clinical trials."

Another potential treatment for neurodegenerative disorders — this one developed by Axovant, another pharmaceutical company — also found itself recently abandoned. The company dropped its experimental drug intepirdine after it failed to improve motor function in patients with a certain form of dementia — just three months after it also failed to show positive effects in Alzheimer's patients.

Looks like GlaxoSmithKline got a good deal when they sold the rights to intepirdine to Axovant Sciences in 2014.

Also at Bloomberg.

Related: Can we Turn Back the Clock on Alzheimer's?
Possible Cure for Alzheimer's to be Tested Within the Next Three Years
Mefenamic Acid Might Cure Alzheimers - Generic Cost in US is Crazy
New Alzheimer's Treatment Fully Restores Memory Function in Mice
Power Outage in the Brain may be Source of Alzheimer's
Another Failed Alzheimer's Disease Therapy
The FDA Saved Taxpayers from Paying Billions for Ineffective Alzheimer's Therapy
Alzheimer's Disease: A "Whole Body" Problem?
Bill Gates Commits $100 Million to Alzheimer's Research
Evidence That Alzheimer's Protein Spreads Like an Infection


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 3, Funny) by PartTimeZombie on Monday August 15 2016, @01:34AM

    by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Monday August 15 2016, @01:34AM (#388037)

    Anyone who wants to reduce the cost of any drug is a communist.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15 2016, @01:40AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15 2016, @01:40AM (#388038)

      But the Affordable Care Act is Obama's gift to Americans.

      • (Score: 5, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15 2016, @02:35AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15 2016, @02:35AM (#388058)

        WRONG... It's Obama's gift to the Insurance industry.

        • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Bot on Monday August 15 2016, @02:21PM

          by Bot (3902) on Monday August 15 2016, @02:21PM (#388184) Journal

          If you let insurance companies cut deals with the health care industry, so that a broken bone costs $$$ to the uninsured and peanuts to the insurance, you have done away with the free market and all that shit.

          A society with politically strong insurance companies is doomed, it devolves in a terrorist byzantine regime where you gotta buy insurance or the lady who cannot handle hot coffee sues you, the urologist that visits you needs insurance in case something goes wrong with your pee pee, your hat has instructions so the hat company is safe if you use it as a frying pan.

          --
          Account abandoned.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15 2016, @02:34AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15 2016, @02:34AM (#388057)

      Well, it depends.

      Anyone wanting to reduce costs by hiring H-1Bs, then you are a corporatist slave driver.
      Or by purchasing the drug from the UK, then you are a globalist yahoo libertarian elitist.

      But if you want to reduce costs by increasing taxes to subsidize the costs, then you are twitter communist or corptocracy apologist depending on how much you personally benefit.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15 2016, @03:57AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15 2016, @03:57AM (#388087)

        Pick your poison, Yahoo libertarianism or Twitter communism.

        • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15 2016, @04:23AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15 2016, @04:23AM (#388093)

          I'm more in the smug point-out-the-hypocrisy-of-everyone-else camp.

          Long term, you are probably looking at a very limited nationalized healthcare for the US (and very much not the insurance fiasco we have now) with private insurance specializing in diseases of the wealthy or somesuch.

          However, the ONLY person here who understands the problem is Post-Nihilist. This may or may not be addressed through a national formulary, but regardless the issue isn't evil drug companies exclusively but just as much evil regulation.

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by GungnirSniper on Monday August 15 2016, @02:42AM

      by GungnirSniper (1671) on Monday August 15 2016, @02:42AM (#388059) Journal

      You're just another member of the 47% who wants a handout. If you really need the medication, made it at home.

    • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Monday August 15 2016, @03:05AM

      by hemocyanin (186) on Monday August 15 2016, @03:05AM (#388066) Journal

      Thank you for the compliment.

      • (Score: 2) by PartTimeZombie on Monday August 15 2016, @04:08AM

        by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Monday August 15 2016, @04:08AM (#388090)

        Thank you for the compliment.

        The best possible reply. You should win a prize.

      • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15 2016, @06:59AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15 2016, @06:59AM (#388112)

        But wait!

        You're just another member of the 47% who wants a handout.

        Is that the lower 47%, or the upper 47%? I mean, just wanting a handout hardly distinguishes them. Mitt Romney wanted a tax break for his car elevator. Martin Shkrelei wanted a tax break for his douche-baggery. Free stuff! That is all these Republicans want!! Roads and sewers, and internets, all paid for by the other 47%! Freeloaders! Scum! Entreprenuers! Trump Voters! Get off my lawn!!! What do you mean, public park? Blam, blam, blam! Take that, you . . . oh, sorry, officer. I thought you were black! Yes, it is a mistake anyone could make, since you are black. Wait, how could a N***8 be a cop? Where am I? I want my country back! I want my adult diaper changed! I want jmorris to make sweet, sweet love to me like he did long ago, before the unfortunate accident. Daisies, fields of daisies. We were so happy then.

        So, how much does this drug cost? Is there a discount for Trump voters? C'mon, demonstrated need!!!

        • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Monday August 15 2016, @02:09PM

          by tangomargarine (667) on Monday August 15 2016, @02:09PM (#388182)

          Or put more succinctly, "Fuck you; got mine."

          --
          "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Whoever on Monday August 15 2016, @01:41AM

    by Whoever (4524) on Monday August 15 2016, @01:41AM (#388040) Journal

    Yes, but don't forget that the USA has the best healthcare system in the world (it must be true, I read it on the Internet), so those generic tablets sold in the USA must be better. It's just obvious.

    • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Monday August 15 2016, @03:06AM

      by hemocyanin (186) on Monday August 15 2016, @03:06AM (#388067) Journal

      Another example post for an "insightfunny" mod.

      • (Score: 2, Funny) by fubari on Monday August 15 2016, @04:40PM

        by fubari (4551) on Monday August 15 2016, @04:40PM (#388252)

        Better: +1 Wish That Wasn't Funny :-/

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15 2016, @06:30PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15 2016, @06:30PM (#388312)

      the best insurance system in the world

      fixed that for ya.

      Insurance is at the root of why this crap costs so much.

      For years it was 'your out of pocket is 50 bucks'. What do you care if on the other end it costs 50k? When you are involved in the costs you force companies to compete against each other. In this case the insurance 'just paid it'. I was involved for many years in insurance coverage software. It was sad to see the meltdown of our system to be sold out to the highest bidder :(

  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15 2016, @01:53AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15 2016, @01:53AM (#388047)

    See, the problem is we Americans are too damn stupid. We have everything coming to us.

    Trump 2016!!!

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by Post-Nihilist on Monday August 15 2016, @02:02AM

    by Post-Nihilist (5672) on Monday August 15 2016, @02:02AM (#388050)
    --
    Be like us, be different, be a nihilist!!!
  • (Score: 3, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15 2016, @02:03AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15 2016, @02:03AM (#388051)
    My wife uses mefenamic acid every month to deal with her dysmenorrhoea, so I had to buy some recently. The price quoted for generic 500 mg mefenamic acid is spot on, at ₱39.00 (83¢, £0.64) for 10 capsules, or if you prefer the branded Ponstan, it's at ₱375.00 (US$8, £6.22), reasonably close to the quoted prices in the UK, and a very far cry from the US prices.
    • (Score: 2) by dyingtolive on Monday August 15 2016, @04:48AM

      by dyingtolive (952) on Monday August 15 2016, @04:48AM (#388096)

      God willing perhaps one day I too can live in such an advanced and progressive country.

      --
      Don't blame me, I voted for moose wang!
      • (Score: 2) by butthurt on Monday August 15 2016, @09:31PM

        by butthurt (6141) on Monday August 15 2016, @09:31PM (#388402) Journal

        A "health visa" is offered:

        This is granted to those whose intention is to convalesce from a serious injury or illness. The illness, however, should not be contagious or dangerous.

        -- http://manila.usembassy.gov/wwwha006.html [usembassy.gov]

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15 2016, @02:10AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15 2016, @02:10AM (#388052)

    The remedy might sit in monopoly law.

    Well, I mean, the REAL remedy is to reform the USA's idiotic IP laws, but that will happen just as soon as Disney and the RIAA permit it, which is to say never, so let's stick to something more possible.

    If you're the only manufacturer of a medicinally valuable substance or medical equipment, you may not offer it, wholesale, at anything over 5% + prime of production cost - a simple regulation that, despite being somewhat onerous, prevents profiteering on the health of americans, while permitting a reasonable return on investment so that nobody goes broke serving a valuable need.

    If you're not the only manufacturer of a medicinally valuable substance, or medical device, the price may be what the market will bear - but under the strictest standards defined under monopoly law, which does not even require deliberate collusion to support a finding of improper conduct, and you forfeit to the public domain all relevant IP that your business or its parents, partners or subsidiaries hold.

    Conduct held to undermine the intent of the statute (such as offering things on paper, but not actually offering them for sale so as to help someone else extract high profits) shall be treated as de facto evidence of bad faith, and constitute justification for decertification, fines, forfeit of IP to the public domain, dissolution of the company in question, withdrawal of the corporate veil so as to personally indict and prosecute officers of the company, and so on.

    Discuss.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15 2016, @02:49AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15 2016, @02:49AM (#388060)

      And if a manufacturer decides 5% isn't enough of a profit margin so the drug doesn't get produced, what then?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15 2016, @02:59AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15 2016, @02:59AM (#388062)

        5% over the prime lending rate is actually a pretty darned decent profit margin. It doesn't sound like much today when the prime lending rate is sub 1%, but, given things like amortisation of assets, comes to quite a tidy amount.

        The basic calculation in this case is: do I have something more profitable in which to sink my investment money? Bonds? No. Nothing better than a junk bond will get you anything like 5% over prime. Stocks? ... maybe. If you're lucky. A fancy startup? Odds are you'll lose all your money. Real Estate? The myth of its invulnerability has been thoroughly debunked. It turns pharmaceuticals into a healthy, reliable money-spinner. Give or take some details you can double your money in well under two decades (better than that when you allow for depreciation and related expenses) with strong confidence that the market on your overall production lines is locked in for at least as long as it takes the FDA to approve competing products - i.e. decades.

        The willingness of investors to put their money to 5% over prime is not something I'm remotely worried about.

        • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15 2016, @03:26AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15 2016, @03:26AM (#388075)

          Congratulations on avoiding the question, but to answer your reply-

          The pharmaceutical industry also has high R&D and approval costs, with numerous failures for every success, so if their successes are going to be limited, shouldn't the failures be subsidized?

          5% return isn't in comparison to stocks or bonds, but in relation to other drugs that could be produced. Why bother with a 5% return when those resources could go to a drug that has a 10% return? You may be shocked to learn that there are often drug shortages for this very reason.

          And quite a few drugs are loss leaders, as they are required to keep a supply on hand. Do they get a tax write-off for them? How do you calculate the costs under your model?

          The willingness of investors to put their money to 5% over prime is not something I'm remotely worried about.

          Well then it seems this is a prime opportunity for you to raise capital to produce this drug yourself. I mean sheesh, you should have no problem getting production started and savor those sweet, sweet returns yourself.

          Or just maybe the pharmaceutical market is a hell of a lot more complex than you make it out to be.

          • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15 2016, @03:36AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15 2016, @03:36AM (#388080)

            What are the R&D costs associated with a drug that has been on the market since the 60's ? They have long since recouped those costs and are just profiteering now.

            • (Score: 3, Informative) by archfeld on Monday August 15 2016, @03:41AM

              by archfeld (4650) <treboreel@live.com> on Monday August 15 2016, @03:41AM (#388082) Journal

              I go to Mexico and buy medications all the time. I'll check out the cost at the Purple Stores in Algodones next time I head over the border. Most items are available at a fraction of the cost and despite all the publicity I've never had Customs blink when bringing medicines back even when they are proscription, provided you can show a doctors script. There are limits on the quantity but the exact same medications are available the labels are just in Spanish.

              --
              For the NSA : Explosives, guns, assassination, conspiracy, primers, detonators, initiators, main charge, nuclear charge
            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15 2016, @03:42AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15 2016, @03:42AM (#388083)

              Well gee, you might have a point if they were no longer involved in any type of R&D since the 60s as well.

              Here, let me simplify your argument for you-

              "Bad regulation is what got us into this mess."

              "Well then obviously we need even more regulation."

              I'm done here.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15 2016, @03:57AM

                by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15 2016, @03:57AM (#388086)

                Lets not forget Martin Shkreli, who raised the cost of a life-saving drug 4,000 percent overnight after buying the rights to the drug.

                • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15 2016, @04:10AM

                  by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15 2016, @04:10AM (#388091)

                  Pyrimethamine has been available since 1953,[12] and is not subject to any unexpired patent.[13] However, in the United States, the market for this product is sufficiently small that no generic manufacturer has emerged.

                  Let's not forget the rights to the drug were sold twice before he got it since NO ONE ELSE COULD MAKE A PROFIT ON IT.

                  And screw you for putting me in the position of defending him.

          • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15 2016, @03:44AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15 2016, @03:44AM (#388084)

            The whole story was about generic drugs that are being delivered at much higher prices in the USA than elsewhere. These are already approved drugs.

            As for R&D and approval costs, there's no reason those can't be counted into capitalisation of a product line the same way that expenses are turned into capitalisation when a hot internet startup buys expensive chairs and other crap then goes public.

            I am happy to grant you that people might decide to sell other drugs - and bully for them should they do so - but trying to paint the problems that you're raising as mysteriously insoluble is to ignore the fact that the accounting world has been facing, and solving these problems for centuries. You're proposing that there are costs that, somehow, don't count as costs? Or can't count as costs? Every dirt-covered farmer in the USA deals with that sort of thing, and has for a long time.

            The short answer to what you're asking is: supply and demand carries on as before. We just delineate some conduct as problematic with respect to monopoly law, and consequently place some limits on it. Boom, there's your answer. The details around costs that need to be counted - well, that's why almost every community college in the country has at least a basic accounting course or three. If the FDA places a requirement that certain things be produced and warehoused as a condition for other activities, then the costs of doing precisely that constitute a (regulatorily imposed) cost of production.

            And as for companies stopping production right now? Yeah, that's a thing, and the problem there is one, nine times out of ten, of over-regulation. Lighten the regulations, ease the system, and let the companies actually function as such. If you want to put the screws to them so much that it hurts, simply say that if your necessary drug is not available on the market, the IP obviously isn't relevant, release it to the public domain and every compounding pharmacy from sea to shining sea can go nuts cranking it out like candy.

          • (Score: 3, Insightful) by sjames on Monday August 15 2016, @07:06AM

            by sjames (2882) on Monday August 15 2016, @07:06AM (#388117) Journal

            Don't forget, they have to get the drugs approved in the EU as well and they freely choose to do so, even though they won't get more than a fraction of what they can sell for in the U.S. Apparently they still find that profitable enough to do it every time.

      • (Score: 2) by compro01 on Monday August 15 2016, @09:12PM

        by compro01 (2515) on Monday August 15 2016, @09:12PM (#388396)

        Then we say "fuck the market" and set up a Crown Corporation to make it.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Mykl on Monday August 15 2016, @02:52AM

      by Mykl (1112) on Monday August 15 2016, @02:52AM (#388061)

      I think the remedy is simpler and less onerous than this - have reps from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and other medical legislative teams visit a few other countries (e.g. UK, Australia, Canada, almost anywhere else in the developed world) to see how they manage to achieve this in their own countries. The US is about the only country in the world with such ridiculously high medical costs. No, it's not because the US are subsidising the rest of the world - it's because pharmaceutical companies are allowed to charge the prices they do there.

      I would also be _very_ interested to see how much health insurers pay for these meds vs the general public. I don't believe for a minute that the prices are even remotely similar. Perhaps if manufacturers had to offer medical goods and services to the public at the same price as they offer insurers, that might alter the cost a bit?

      Finalyl, given that this medication is well outside of any patent claims, it seems crazy that the price should be any different to other prices around the world.

      Just checked Australian prices for the branded product (Ponstan) - AUD$13.99 (US$10.71) for 50x250mg.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15 2016, @03:13AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15 2016, @03:13AM (#388069)

        Sure, you could do that, but translating the legislative and constitutional environment would not be easy. This is a law that would be feasible, constitutional and effective.

        But sure, I can see how it would be onerous, so we can always add a rider to the effect that the law sunsets ten calendar years after the USA's medicine costs are no higher than the median of those in the G20, measured over a calendar year with figures to be certified by the FDA, the CBO and, since this is an IP-related issue, the LoC, this certification to be repeated and checked during each of the ten calendar years of delay, and the sunset to be rescinded if the certification is no longer operative.

        You know; give them something to shoot for.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by hemocyanin on Monday August 15 2016, @03:12AM

      by hemocyanin (186) on Monday August 15 2016, @03:12AM (#388068) Journal

      Or how about this -- what's good for the goose is good for the gander -- if it's OK to ship all of our good paying jobs out the country, the people should at least be able to import cheap products without facing Federal criminal charges. All of our "free trade" deals are really just rigged trade that screw the common person.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15 2016, @03:15AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15 2016, @03:15AM (#388070)

        I'm down with that. Medical tourism just got expanded to the US Postal Service. Easy, clean, and what the hell, let the FDA open an office through which doctors and patients can get drugs tested for purity. Or the DEA. Whichever.

    • (Score: 2) by Whoever on Monday August 15 2016, @03:32AM

      by Whoever (4524) on Monday August 15 2016, @03:32AM (#388078) Journal

      No, the remedy is in the laws surrounding generic drugs. These laws effectively allow companies to create an benefit from a monopoly on a drug that lots of other manufacturers should be able to make, but are not allowed to. Remember that Martin Shkreli was selling a generic drug at a huge markup.

    • (Score: 2) by Capt. Obvious on Monday August 15 2016, @05:21AM

      by Capt. Obvious (6089) on Monday August 15 2016, @05:21AM (#388100)

      There are no IP laws at play here, it's already a generic. I know that's a common target of ire, but there are other reasons for market failures. In particular, the startup costs are huge, and the expected profits low (if they compete on price). Also, I don't know the advantage of the second mover competing on price is.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by migz on Monday August 15 2016, @07:15AM

        by migz (1807) on Monday August 15 2016, @07:15AM (#388122)

        This is NOT market failure. As you can see in other markets the drugs are affordable. This is distinctly ANTI-market failure. The absurd American IP laws combined with the ridiculous drug licensing regulation. The problem here is government preventing competition, stop trying to blame the market.

        • (Score: 2) by Capt. Obvious on Monday August 15 2016, @03:56PM

          by Capt. Obvious (6089) on Monday August 15 2016, @03:56PM (#388225)

          Again, there are no IP laws in play here (well, trademark if you wanted to name the drug the same). But we are dealing with generics. That means, there is no patent, and there is no brand name to trademark. Anyone can make the pills.

          Your response seems to betray a total lack of understanding of what a market failure is. The government isn't preventing competition. It requires high start up costs (that is, fixed costs) and there's no reason to pay those if you are only going to make almost nothing a pill. Okay, actually, let's take a step back. Have you ever taken a microeconomics course?

          • (Score: 2) by migz on Monday August 15 2016, @07:19PM

            by migz (1807) on Monday August 15 2016, @07:19PM (#388345)

            The government is responsible for those high start up costs. Somehow, in other countries, it is possible to manufacture the drug at a lower price.

            Furthermore it is government that makes it illegal to import the cheaper drugs from those other markets.

            Marvelous, an ad-hominum attack.

            • (Score: 2) by Capt. Obvious on Monday August 15 2016, @08:03PM

              by Capt. Obvious (6089) on Monday August 15 2016, @08:03PM (#388368)

              Other countries set the prices by governmental decree/national health service negotiation. It's the opposite of "other countries are libertarian paradises." It has nothing to do with a lower cost of production. See, cost of production and cost of a good aren't always equal to each other....

              Which brings back the question of "have you ever taken a microeconomics course?" Using terms that you spent a while learning in that class would expedite the communication. Using terms which can be interpreted differently would have the opposite effect.

              Also, point of fact, even if I had meant "you're an idiot who is wrong" (which is not what I was saying), it would not be an ad hominem. It'd be an insult. It's only an ad hominem if I were to use it as an argument against your point.

              • (Score: 2) by migz on Tuesday August 16 2016, @06:51AM

                by migz (1807) on Tuesday August 16 2016, @06:51AM (#388592)

                Thanks for admitting your insult. Was the insult intended to reduce my credibility, and by association the credibility of my argument? Attempting to undermine my argument by casting disparaging remarks about my alleged lack of formal economic education is an ad-hominum attack. It is a rhetorical device used to reduce the credibility of the argument by "attacking-the-man" and not refuting the argument.

                If I would trot out what my academic credentials were then I might considered to be guilty of using an "argument-from-authority", which is the other rhetorical device employed, when you (implicitly) claimed higher academic credentials than I.

                I will not partake in this rhetoric, as my qualifications (and yours) are of no bearing on the argument.

                I dispute your claim that other countries set prices by government decree / NHS negotiation, this is not universally true. I have not made any claims regarding "libertarian paradises", this is a straw-man argument. I do not consider the US libertarian at all. Nor to I consider libertarianism the ideal.

                If cost of production > price, then the goods will not be manufactured. If cost of production + profit price and profit is high then there is incentive for new entrants into the market. Price controls generally result is shortages, if the price is below cost, depending on the price-elasticity of demand as well as the production possibilities frontier. The positive economics on this are well established.

                Furthermore profit need not be monetary, nor even true. A false belief in some personal glory is sufficient profit to favor production of the good, however without breakeven the enterprise would fail, and the remaining capital goods redeployed to more profitable use.

                • (Score: 2) by Capt. Obvious on Wednesday August 17 2016, @08:52AM

                  by Capt. Obvious (6089) on Wednesday August 17 2016, @08:52AM (#389050)

                  I dispute your claim that other countries set prices by government decree / NHS negotiation, this is not universally true.

                  It's not universally true. But it certainly is true in a great and growing number of countries. Further, those countries include all Western/industrial the countries with the lowest perscription drug costs. Citation [pharmatimes.com]

                  The positive economics on this are well established.

                  Except, they aren't. You're spewing theory. Meanwhile, the real world disagrees.

                  Lastly, I want to address your misunderstanding of fallacies and insults. This diversion is primarily to help you communicate better. First, I never did insult you, nor apologize for insulting you. I needed to know if I could use words like "monopsony" and use the huge amount of implications I could leverage. You obviously haven't taken a course. There's no reason to be embarrassed, and I don't think it makes you unable to speak about this topic. But it does mean I have to communicate differently.

                  But, you really, really, love to refer to fallacies when it's not relevant. I never used an ad homenem, I asked if you took a course. I never used an appeal to authority, although frankly in this case I might be able to legitimately. Remember, it's not "an appeal to authority", it's "an appeal to illegitimate authority". That is, a medical doctor is no authority on macroeconomics, but it is considered a legitimate argument if you're talking about if you have cancer. Authorities only offer some evidence, and obviously shouldn't shut down the conversation, But they inform it. My assuming you thought libertarian policies would be preferred are based on your understanding of economics. But it was not a strawman argument. It wasn't even an argument.

                  If you really want to refer to fallacies, you have to learn to distinguish between something that looks similar, and an actually flawed argument.

                  • (Score: 2) by migz on Wednesday August 17 2016, @08:00PM

                    by migz (1807) on Wednesday August 17 2016, @08:00PM (#389272)

                    "Price Controls Are Disastrous for Venezuela, and Everywhere Else"
                    https://mises.org/blog/price-controls-are-disastrous-venezuela-and-everywhere-else [mises.org]

                    • (Score: 2) by Capt. Obvious on Wednesday August 17 2016, @11:55PM

                      by Capt. Obvious (6089) on Wednesday August 17 2016, @11:55PM (#389379)

                      That piece was long on theory, and short on real world evidence. I would, trivially, point to the economic downturns in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Russia as evidence that it's the price of oil that has the most to do with Venezuela's situation. Yes, their internal policies exacerbate the issue, but petro-dollars are not what they once were.

                      Not all industries are the same. Healthcare, in particular, has low elasticity, low information consumers. Things that work well with toilet paper, may not work on lifesaving drugs.

                      Did you read my citation about drug prices in the UK and Norway (coming soon to Germany?)

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15 2016, @06:17PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15 2016, @06:17PM (#388305)

      You can regulate the prices thru law.

      The *real* way to drive prices down is competition.

      If you wanted to fix many of these things you would not allow companies to merge together. Think about this for a second. You can still buy from circuit city, wards, and radio shack. Zombie companies with 'assets' that were bought out and turned into another monster. Or think about this. I say James Bond you think Sony/MGM. You should be thinking United Artists. MGM is a left over band from mergers and they abandoned the UA name. Drugs are no different. If our country was really serious about this sort of thing they would say 'dead company' intellectual assets are now public domain.

  • (Score: 3, Funny) by aristarchus on Monday August 15 2016, @07:13AM

    by aristarchus (2645) on Monday August 15 2016, @07:13AM (#388120) Journal

    I am not a medical doctor, but I am a doctor of philosophy. Any chance we can get some of this good stuff for the several members of our community that need it? In the interests of privacy, I will not mention any names, except for Runaway1956-2626. I feel he is in great need. He barely recognizes any of us Soylentils any more, he is constantly combative against those who most want to help him, and he seems like he is going to end up being a Trump voter. All classic signs. So, cross-border incursions, smuggling healing drugs? Would almost be like that Firefly episode with the train.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15 2016, @01:24PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15 2016, @01:24PM (#388172)

      Beware of "help"-bearing Greeks.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15 2016, @06:20PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15 2016, @06:20PM (#388309)

      and he seems like he is going to end up being a Trump voter
      Those who disagree with you have a mental disease? Maybe you should rethink your values. Having a degree in philosophy you should know better than most that there is no 'one truth'.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by aristarchus on Monday August 15 2016, @11:40PM

        by aristarchus (2645) on Monday August 15 2016, @11:40PM (#388477) Journal

        Those who disagree with you have a mental disease? Maybe you should rethink your values.

        And maybe you should rethink causality? My claim is that those who have a mental disease disagree with us, and need help. I did not say that all who disagree are mentally ill. Although in extreme cases, that is not unlikely. So, are you mental, or not? Inquiring minds want to know.

    • (Score: 2) by Azuma Hazuki on Monday August 15 2016, @09:26PM

      by Azuma Hazuki (5086) on Monday August 15 2016, @09:26PM (#388399) Journal

      Runaway really isn't that bad, and has shown himself to be far more rational and open to new information than Uzzard or, good grief, our resident scientific racist J-Mo. We clash but there's usually SOME constructive result, ad I've modded several of his posts up because they do make sense.

      --
      I am "that girl" your mother warned you about...
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by GreatAuntAnesthesia on Monday August 15 2016, @08:50AM

    by GreatAuntAnesthesia (3275) on Monday August 15 2016, @08:50AM (#388129) Journal

    Lots of interesting and relevant chatter here about the prices of drugs around the world, which is nice, but what about the other news mentioned in TFA: You know, the frigging CURE FOR ALZHEIMERS!?!?! Anyone care to cast some insight? Could this be real or are we looking at the usual "giddy reporter blows results of a limited preliminary study on mouse cells in a petri dish way out of proportion and announces cure" disappointment? Is there existing research on this interaction or is this a brand new avenue of inquiry? Is it an actual *cure* (ie reverse the effects of alzheimers, restore memories that were thought to be lost) or is it more preventative in nature (ie take it as soon as disease is diagnosed to stop it getting any worse)?

    Alzheimer's is one of those diseases I reeeeeally hope they've cured before I get old.

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by c0lo on Monday August 15 2016, @09:10AM

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Monday August 15 2016, @09:10AM (#388130) Journal

      Alzheimer's is one of those diseases I reeeeeally hope they've cured before I get old.

      But you are old already. Have you forgot, Great Aunt Amnesia?

      (grin)

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0 https://soylentnews.org/~MichaelDavidCrawford
    • (Score: 2) by hendrikboom on Monday August 15 2016, @12:18PM

      by hendrikboom (1125) Subscriber Badge on Monday August 15 2016, @12:18PM (#388154) Homepage Journal

      There is a promising antibody therapy for Alzheimer's going through stage 2 or 3 trials now. The results so far are promising.

      While we're on the subject of aging, there are several promising therapies for Parkinson's going through trials now. It appears to be prion disease. Expect this one to be curable in five or ten years.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by bzipitidoo on Monday August 15 2016, @03:32PM

      by bzipitidoo (4388) on Monday August 15 2016, @03:32PM (#388211) Journal

      So far this year, I've seen a dozen or more news stories about another promising new treatment for Alz. Transfusions of children's blood (well, that's for aging in general, not solely Alz), ultrasound to stimulate the brain's waste disposal system, gene therapy, the M13 virus, and of course magic drugs such as TC-2153.

      Then there are preventative measures such as eating food with lots of turmeric.

      It all sounds great, but it's a big leap to go from these reports to an effective treatment available to all.

      There's bad news too. Hormone Replacement Therapy was a big medical fad around 2000, but was eventually found to cause other problems and not actually help much or at all. One of the problems it caused was a doubling in the chance of getting Alzheimer's. The whole HRT craze turned out to be drug company profiteering at the expense of public health. My mother was subjected to HRT, and now she has severe Alzheimer's. Whether Alz would not have happened if she hadn't been subjected to HRT, I suppose no one will ever know. But I noticed she had a personality change around the same time as she must have started HRT, became a happier, nicer person. I thought she'd turned over a new leaf. Now I think that may have been an early symptom of Alz. One of the most incredibly depressing things about Alz is that the victims often do start acting as if they're on happiness drugs, and it's pleasant for everyone, for a while.

      • (Score: 1) by fubari on Monday August 15 2016, @04:50PM

        by fubari (4551) on Monday August 15 2016, @04:50PM (#388257)

        Can you be more specific about your mother's HRT? I really do want to know - it is something I'm actively researching for my parents. For example, was Premarin involved? Dosing schedule & tests + frequency if you happen to know.

        • (Score: 1) by fubari on Monday August 15 2016, @04:52PM

          by fubari (4551) on Monday August 15 2016, @04:52PM (#388259)

          (also, meant to say sorry to hear about her getting hit with alzheimers before hitting submit)

          • (Score: 2) by bzipitidoo on Monday August 15 2016, @06:41PM

            by bzipitidoo (4388) on Monday August 15 2016, @06:41PM (#388321) Journal

            I can look, may have some records still, but it's been 15 years since HRT for her was quietly dropped. It was for menopause, and I expect she would have received whatever was thought a "standard" treatment at the time.

            • (Score: 1) by fubari on Tuesday August 23 2016, @06:32PM

              by fubari (4551) on Tuesday August 23 2016, @06:32PM (#392232)

              ok, thanks for the context - don't worry about following up. That is long enough ago that my best guess would be they were prescribing premarin (I've yet to read anything good about permarin). At any rate... anyone stumbling on this should search for "bioidentical hormone replacement therapy".

    • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Monday August 15 2016, @09:53PM

      by bob_super (1357) on Monday August 15 2016, @09:53PM (#388422)

      > Alzheimer's is one of those diseases I reeeeeally hope they've cured before I get old.

      I expect it will be, because while old rich guys typically don't give a rat's ass about some poor-people affecting distant Marburg, Dengue or Zika, you're not to only one afraid you'll eventually get diagnosed with it, and there's no sure way to avoid it.
      There's a powerful fan-club for funding research, even government grants, to fix Old-timers, Parkinson's and prostate cancer.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 16 2016, @02:47AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 16 2016, @02:47AM (#388514)

    Sign up to the Trans Pacific Partnership and all your drugs can be as expensive as the Americans want them to be.