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posted by janrinok on Sunday April 15, @06:48AM   Printer-friendly
from the enough-to-make-you-sick dept.

One-shot cures for diseases are not great for business—more specifically, they’re bad for longterm profits—Goldman Sachs analysts noted in an April 10 report for biotech clients, first reported by CNBC.

The investment banks’ report, titled “The Genome Revolution,” asks clients the touchy question: “Is curing patients a sustainable business model?” The answer may be “no,” according to follow-up information provided.

[...] The potential to deliver “one shot cures” is one of the most attractive aspects of gene therapy, genetically engineered cell therapy, and gene editing. However, such treatments offer a very different outlook with regard to recurring revenue versus chronic therapies... While this proposition carries tremendous value for patients and society, it could represent a challenge for genome medicine developers looking for sustained cash flow.

[...] Ars reached out to Goldman Sachs, which confirmed the content of the report but declined to comment.


Original Submission

Related Stories

U.S. Hospitals Band Together to Form Civica Rx, a Non-Profit Pharmaceutical Company 29 comments

Health systems representing around 500 U.S. hospitals have formed a not-for-profit pharmaceutical manufacturer called Civica Rx. The drugs will be cheap, and the CEO will not receive a paycheck:

A drugmaking venture backed by major U.S. hospitals has picked a chief executive officer, hastening the arrival of another threat to generic pharmaceutical manufacturers.

Martin VanTrieste, 58 and a former top executive at biotechnology giant Amgen Inc., will run the organization, a not-for-profit called Civica Rx. Dan Liljenquist, 44 and an Intermountain Healthcare executive, will be chairman. Health systems with a total of about 500 hospitals -- including Intermountain, HCA Healthcare Inc., Mayo Clinic and Catholic Health Initiatives -- will help govern the venture, alongside several philanthropies.

Civica Rx will work to combat drug shortages and skyrocketing prices for some treatments given in hospitals by manufacturing generics or contracting with other firms to make them. Generic drugmakers have faced scrutiny for raising the prices of certain older drugs, particularly when hospitals lack alternatives. The supply chain for such treatments has also been vulnerable to disruptions, leading to persistent shortages.

"Civica Rx will first seek to stabilize the supply of essential generic medications administered in hospitals," the group said in a statement. "The initiative will also result in lower costs and more predictable supplies of essential generic medicines."

The venture, announced by Intermountain in January, said it plans to have its first products ready by as early as next year. It's focused on a group of 14 drugs given in hospitals, but a spokesman for the group declined to identify them. Liljenquist said that the drugs are in categories such as pain relief, antipsychotics, antibiotics and cardiovascular treatments, including drugs that are stocked on so-called crash carts used in emergencies.

Also at NPR, CNBC, The Washington Post, and Forbes.

Related: The Cheerios Theory of Branded Medicine
Mylan Overcharged U.S. Government on EpiPens
Martin Shkreli Points Fingers at Other Pharmaceutical Companies
Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase to Offer Their Own Health Care to U.S. Employees
Analysts Question Whether Curing Patients is a Sustainable Business Model
FDA Has Named Names of Pharma Companies Blocking Cheaper Generics [Updated]


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Dr Spin on Sunday April 15, @07:03AM (60 children)

    by Dr Spin (5239) on Sunday April 15, @07:03AM (#667187)

    I read about this elsewhere, and one of the companies who claims it is not sustainable says their profit is down to $3bn.

    If they don't want the $3bn, let them give it to me!

    The greed involved in the Pharma business is legendary. In a another recent news item, an American drug with a price of (ISTR) $6,000
    was no better than one costing $6 made in the middle east.

    The average American Pharma company is a drug dealer appears no better than the people pushing drugs in back alleys in our inner cities. Possibly worse.

    We in Europe need to address this issue more seriously.

    --
    Putting your data in the cloud is like sending your teenage daughter backpacking in a 3rd world country with a pimp
    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, @07:28AM (4 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, @07:28AM (#667192)

      If you can provide competitive pricing and doctors for Americans who need medical care nowadays. While many are stuck here and unable to afford both travel and health care, there are quite a few others, especially the middle aged to elderly who could certainly afford medical tourism in Europe, including travel expenses, for less than they pay monthly for health care here in the U.S. Most Euro prices are already 1/2 to 1/3 of what similar equipment and procedures are in the US, which means even yearly checkups could often be cheaper in Europe overall for people without US based medical insurance or with limited emergency only medical coverage.

      Food for thought, and a great way to pull one over on the US Government :)

      • (Score: 1) by Ethanol-fueled on Sunday April 15, @02:32PM (1 child)

        by Ethanol-fueled (2792) Subscriber Badge on Sunday April 15, @02:32PM (#667273) Homepage

        There's also Mexico, if you don't mind risking waking up from the surgery with somebody else's leg grafted to your head.

        • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, @06:11PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, @06:11PM (#667341)

          That'd be an IQ boost for some americans I could think of.

      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by frojack on Sunday April 15, @08:16PM (1 child)

        by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Sunday April 15, @08:16PM (#667373) Journal

        This is not about medical tourism or "its cheaper in Europe". You've TOTALLY missed the point.

        Its about the cost of development and production of a drug that most people never need and a small percentage will need ONCE in their life.

        Just because your government taxes the hell out of you and then gives you "free health care" doesn't solve this problem.
        Pharma companies, big or small, won't want to spend the research money or maintain production lines for once-in-a-lifetime drugs.

        You will have to find another funding model, or set up another government operation to buy up the patents, and manufacture these drugs, (or fund the developers or third parties to do so).

        Look this is not the Red Car Line [99percentinvisible.org] conspiracy all over again. Its not a conspiracy at all.

        Its just economics 101. You have to cover your costs. Even in socialist economies or purely communist ones, if something does not pay for itself somebody else has to pay for it somehow, or the producers will just walk away and become farmers or janitors. When that happens it won't be available in that heaven on earth called Europe either.

        --
        No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
        • (Score: 4, Informative) by PartTimeZombie on Sunday April 15, @09:38PM

          by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Sunday April 15, @09:38PM (#667393)

          Its about the cost of development and production of a drug...

          No, no it's not. [sciencebasedmedicine.org] It's about profits. [npr.org]

          It looks like the drug companies are OK with lying about their costs to justify the prices they charge.

    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, @07:42AM (37 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, @07:42AM (#667194)

      Curing patients one-shot - even if it's a hugely expensive one-shot - can be a very sustainable business model, because people have been doing it for ages! Broken legs are treated with a one-single-treatment-regime-and-then-you're-done of ~6 weeks duration. Sure! It works, and is sustainable.

      Cure a genome broken by trisomy 21 for 2 million US$ in a single shot? Sure, it's expensive, but compared to the lifetime cost of care for a typical sufferer that's still a bargain - and I think it very likely this calculation will hold for most, if not all, sicknesses, esp. when we as a society inevitably improve our knowldge of gene therapy.

      Of course, if instead of extracting 2M$ for a single, final cure you want to extract 200k$ a year for continuous treatments over a 60year lifetime (i.e.: 12M$ total) .... than a rational society will throw you into jail for a) failure to assist a person in danger, potentially even assault or (depending on the sickness) manslaughter/murder, and b) racketeering.

      Does it sound like contemporary big pharma already?

      • (Score: 2, Informative) by adun on Sunday April 15, @09:22AM (1 child)

        by adun (6928) on Sunday April 15, @09:22AM (#667213)

        > Curing patients one-shot - even if it's a hugely expensive one-shot - can be a very sustainable business model, because people have been doing it for ages!

        It's not too surprising, considering that many of these diseases are age- and/or environment-related. For every patient getting a one-shot cure, there's another one getting sick right now.

        It may not be as efficient as continuously delivering overpriced drugs to two patients at the same time, but it sure as hell is sustainable.

        • (Score: 2) by frojack on Sunday April 15, @08:30PM

          by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Sunday April 15, @08:30PM (#667377) Journal

          Its only sustainable if carefully contrived examples posted by the GP.

          Lets say the infrastructure and manufacturing (to say nothing about the development costs) costs 5 or 10 million per patient, and there's less than 100 people in the US with this disease.
          Still sustainable? Keeping that facility open and technicians employed after you treat those 100, waiting for the next one to be born - Still sustainable? You've got zero income, and
          people don't want to work for free for some reason.

          Things to treat a broken leg, gauze, plaster, pain killers, cost next to nothing, and have multiple uses. The doctor/nurse time costs very little.
          Comparing that to custom single patient drug that costs millions to produce for a one time use is a dishonest cheap-shot comparison.

          --
          No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by The Mighty Buzzard on Sunday April 15, @10:39AM (30 children)

        ...a rational society will throw you into jail for a) failure to assist a person in danger, potentially even assault or (depending on the sickness) manslaughter/murder, and b) racketeering.

        I think you misunderstand what a rational society is. A rational society would simply require X% of quarterly profits for drug companies go to researching cures and that these cures then make it to the market. The system you're looking for isn't "rational society" but "slavery". You know, forcing people to work for others and offering them violence or imprisonment if they fail to... slavery.

        --
        "Buzzy, you're probably the dumbest person I've ever encountered. Well, there is aristarchus, so make it 2nd dumbest."
        • (Score: 5, Touché) by tonyPick on Sunday April 15, @11:36AM (27 children)

          by tonyPick (1237) on Sunday April 15, @11:36AM (#667239) Homepage Journal

          A rational society would simply require X% of quarterly profits for drug companies go to researching cures and that these cures then make it to the market.

          So, is the government forcing companies to do this research, and offering them violence or imprisonment if they fail to do so (you know, the thing you called "slavery")? Or is your view of a rational society Market Socialism [wikipedia.org], with a specified Social Dividend [wikipedia.org]?

          Oh Buzzard, you've changed.

          :D

          • (Score: 2, Interesting) by The Mighty Buzzard on Sunday April 15, @06:03PM (24 children)

            What ever gave you the idea that I was an anarchist? I'm fully aware that natural (mono|duo|etc...)polies are going to exist and that the government needs to set some minimalist ground rules for them. I side with at least a small amount of government regulation most every time the word monopoly comes up in the conversation because monopoly means no competition and competition is what makes capitalism work so amazingly well.

            --
            "Buzzy, you're probably the dumbest person I've ever encountered. Well, there is aristarchus, so make it 2nd dumbest."
            • (Score: 2) by tonyPick on Monday April 16, @11:07AM (23 children)

              by tonyPick (1237) on Monday April 16, @11:07AM (#667573) Homepage Journal

              What ever gave you the idea that I was an anarchist?

              Nothing, but you've come out strongly against the idea of public intervention based on the idea of a social good, for example: here's one [soylentnews.org].

              And this isn't a case of n-opolies or increased competition: the competitive marketplace is behaving as expected, finding the optimally profitable solution. We might find it reprehensible, or want ti to do something else, but it's behaving "rationally" in exactly the way a capitalist system is *supposed* to.

              You're advocating direct intervention in the operation of companies in the market based on a preferred social outcome, and that _is_ a change from the classic Buzzardian economics of "Make them compete and let the market sort it out": instead it's pretty much the Utilitarian-European-Centre-Left position of social good over free markets, which you have characterised as [soylentnews.org] things being "being taken from me by force because you think it should".

              • (Score: 3, Interesting) by The Mighty Buzzard on Monday April 16, @03:47PM (22 children)

                Oh it very much is a case of opoly-itis. Patents are a government granted monopoly and there's not a damned thing wrong with requiring something in exchange for said monopoly.

                --
                "Buzzy, you're probably the dumbest person I've ever encountered. Well, there is aristarchus, so make it 2nd dumbest."
                • (Score: 2) by tonyPick on Tuesday April 17, @01:38PM (21 children)

                  by tonyPick (1237) on Tuesday April 17, @01:38PM (#668040) Homepage Journal

                  Patents are a government granted monopoly and there's not a damned thing wrong with requiring something in exchange for said monopoly.

                  Which is great. But there's nothing unique about biotech companies in this regard, is there?

                  So the argument that the government should be able to demand development for free, and dip into your wallet to enforce that[1] applies equally to tech companies, no? Or to telecoms, or electronics manufacturers, or anyone
                  else with patents.

                  Taking this to the extreme you'd support the government making Netflix spend X% of its production budget on "why encryption is evil, guns are bad, and Fishing is just Plain Wrong" programming, because Netflix has Patents, so the government should be able to get what it wants in return?[2]

                  And lets be honest, there's nothing particularly unique about patents here either - they're just the particularly geek-visible edge of the whole IPR tangle, which includes copyrights and trademarks, all of which assign government granted monopolies to specific aspects of business operations. In fact there's a name for the set of companies survive because the government assigns monopoly control over unique aspects of the marketplace they operate in: "All of them".

                  [1] Because fundamentally that's how Governments pay for things they do...
                  [2] Well, clearly not, but where and why you draw the line here is interesting.

                  • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Tuesday April 17, @02:15PM (20 children)

                    There indeed is. Receiving a patent on nearly everything else arguably serves to "promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts". When applied to the pharmaceutical industry though, it is clearly not having the desired effect and should absolutely be either tweaked to do so or removed as a patentable category. These government granted monopolies are not a right, they are a means to an end with a specific condition that must be met to be eligible.

                    --
                    "Buzzy, you're probably the dumbest person I've ever encountered. Well, there is aristarchus, so make it 2nd dumbest."
                    • (Score: 2) by tonyPick on Wednesday April 18, @07:49AM (19 children)

                      by tonyPick (1237) on Wednesday April 18, @07:49AM (#668486) Homepage Journal

                      In 2015 the biomed Industry "invested $102.7 billion" [teconomypartners.com] in R&D, and they're getting patents, but that's on non-trivial work that takes years to develop. As per TFA this is a whole new set of developments in the sector, and while we don't like where the market is going, that's not to say there's some novel work that's going on there.

                      Compare this to, say, the Software-Tech sector has given us everything from "Patent Trolls" to "the-obvious-with-a-computer", and lowlights from IBM's "paying for the work of the ancient greeks" [forbes.com] to Creative's "Charge Carmack to use Carmack's Reverse" [geek.com]

                      And given these two, you think it's the biomed sector where things have fallen over? When the tech sector has companies that not only know that a halfway-bright teenager can independently reinvent their entire patent holdings, but literally built their entire business around that fact?

                      Of the two biomed is doing way more than most other sectors to "promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts". The main complaint here is that there's some _other_ stuff they could be doing, and we would like them to do, but they aren't, "because capitalism".

                      If you're going to argue that there's a "specific condition that must be met to be eligible." then the fact is that the Software industry, and most everyone else, is below the level of Biomed in these regards, and if Biomed companies are subject to "development for free, and dip into your wallet to enforce that" then so is most everyone else.

                      • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Wednesday April 18, @10:47AM (18 children)

                        Comparison to other sectors is irrelevant. What's relevant is that the biomed industry is not supplying what people actually need. You can remedy that either by stealing from absurd amounts from taxpayers to fund the necessary research and then creating a government entity to produce the cures or you can require something in return for those extremely lucrative, government granted monopolies the biomed industry has been enjoying for so long. I know which I prefer.

                        --
                        "Buzzy, you're probably the dumbest person I've ever encountered. Well, there is aristarchus, so make it 2nd dumbest."
                        • (Score: 2) by tonyPick on Thursday April 19, @08:46AM (17 children)

                          by tonyPick (1237) on Thursday April 19, @08:46AM (#668938) Homepage Journal

                          Comparison to other sectors is irrelevant. What's relevant is that the biomed industry is not supplying what people actually need.

                          Of course it's important to compare this to other sectors.

                          You're arguing that if industry "foo" is not supplying what people need then the government can just come in and seize private property. Your reasoning for this comes down to "They could maybe do other stuff I want more, and the Government does things for them, so take the means of production".

                          The biomed industry is one of the more tightly regulated, behaving better than most others in patent terms, working just how the market "rationally" expects and it's relying on exactly the same framework of government services and IPR that every other industry sector and business in the modern world relies on.

                          Why shouldn't these "just take their stuff" rules apply other industries that are less well regulated, or exploiting IPR in worse ways, or just not providing the things someone else would like them to?

                          Why shouldn't they apply to you & yours?

                          • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Thursday April 19, @10:40AM (16 children)

                            You're arguing that if industry "foo" is not supplying what people need then the government can just come in and seize private property.

                            No. I'm not. I'm arguing that congress has both the ability and the duty to adjust copyright and patent laws until it makes sense to have them at all. They are currently being treated as a near permanent pass at competition for anyone who gets them in return for fuck all. They either need to be done away with entirely or they need to be rewritten in such a manner as to actually benefit the nation in return for that pass, as that is the reason for their existence in the first place.

                            --
                            "Buzzy, you're probably the dumbest person I've ever encountered. Well, there is aristarchus, so make it 2nd dumbest."
                            • (Score: 2) by tonyPick on Friday April 20, @12:01PM (15 children)

                              by tonyPick (1237) on Friday April 20, @12:01PM (#669599) Homepage Journal

                              This is a distinction that makes no difference. The list of industry segments that behave like this _is_ essentially everyone in technology, and the argument you make for the government taking their property for the benefit of the public can apply equally to taking your property for someone else's benefit as a result.

                              • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Friday April 20, @12:20PM (14 children)

                                What property is being taken? They'd be being given patents in exchange for something while being under no obligation to enter into the agreement at all. That is what we call voluntary exchange in capitalist circles.

                                --
                                "Buzzy, you're probably the dumbest person I've ever encountered. Well, there is aristarchus, so make it 2nd dumbest."
                                • (Score: 2) by tonyPick on Monday April 23, @01:10PM (13 children)

                                  by tonyPick (1237) on Monday April 23, @01:10PM (#670721) Homepage Journal

                                  What property is being taken?

                                  From your opening comment you'd "require X% of quarterly profits for drug companies" to be spent in a way the government dictates as "good". Or are you going to get finicky about the definition of property here?

                                  And you've swung around to a version of "Government provides service, and dictates the required payment for this service through a taxation scheme".

                                    You have previously referred to this theft [soylentnews.org] and slavery [soylentnews.org]. The distinction you have stuck to in *this* case is that you expect other people to pay, and that you will benefit.

                                  And what's interesting here is the move from this being "theft and slavery" to "reasonable and voluntary exchange" based on the "does it apply to me or to other people?" rule.

                                  • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Monday April 23, @01:55PM (12 children)

                                    When Party A asks something of Party B and Party B requires something in return but Party A is free to refuse the deal, this is the very definition of a voluntary agreement. Explain to me how this is not so or this is a lost argument for you.

                                    --
                                    "Buzzy, you're probably the dumbest person I've ever encountered. Well, there is aristarchus, so make it 2nd dumbest."
                                    • (Score: 2) by tonyPick on Tuesday April 24, @01:51PM (11 children)

                                      by tonyPick (1237) on Tuesday April 24, @01:51PM (#671148) Homepage Journal

                                      When Party A asks something of Party B and Party B requires something in return but Party A is free to refuse the deal, this is the very definition of a voluntary agreement.

                                      Sure - and let's go further and fill in the blanks from upthread, where "Party B" is "The Government", and the required "something" is to "define and enforce private property rights", and the "something in return" part is "X% of the money made by Party A".

                                      Let's assume we can fill in those things and the original statement remains true. There are objections, but they are neither interesting nor unique, so for the sake of argument let's say you're right.

                                      What is curious here is how you have called this "slavery" and "theft" elsewhere, and "reasonable" in this thread, yet the only substantive difference you've highlighted so far is that in the other cases Party A was you, and here Party A is someone else.

                                      • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Tuesday April 24, @06:21PM (10 children)

                                        Patents and coyprights are not property rights. They are artificially created monopolies that would not exist sans government declaring them to. I have never been in the "yay monopolies!" camp. Very limited monopolies can serve a useful purpose but that does not imply that they should be without cost. You'll have to try a different approach.

                                        --
                                        "Buzzy, you're probably the dumbest person I've ever encountered. Well, there is aristarchus, so make it 2nd dumbest."
                                        • (Score: 2) by tonyPick on Wednesday April 25, @01:59PM (9 children)

                                          by tonyPick (1237) on Wednesday April 25, @01:59PM (#671622) Homepage Journal

                                          Patents and coyprights are not property rights.

                                          Go on.

                                          They are artificially created monopolies that would not exist sans government declaring them to.

                                          So, purely social and legal constructs? aka: the textbook definition economists use [sioe.org] for Property rights? [wikipedia.org].

                                          And if you're going to try to draw a distinction here, are you now saying parties A and B from above can't enter voluntary agreements about things that *aren't* solely created by the government? Like land? Or stocks and shares? Or contracts?

                                          I have never been in the "yay monopolies!" camp

                                          Congratulations. But this has nothing to do with that. It's where you draw the line so that the whole "A provides a service to B in return for a cost" will work when A is the Government and B is "these other people", but won't apply to your case to such a dramatic extent that it's theft as opposed to paying what you owe. And honestly, I'm just curious at this point to see where it goes, and why you think that.

                                          • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Wednesday April 25, @02:53PM (8 children)

                                            Property rights are natural rights. Nothing needs be granted you by an outside entity for you to claim and hold property (though disputes are likely if you go around claiming things others also claim). Patents and copyright are abstract social constructs that do not exist without first being defined and granted by an outside entity; they are not rights but at most contractual agreements between the government and its citizens. They are also in fact explicitly spelled out as being authorized only for a stated purpose. If said purpose is not being satisfied congress is not only legally entitled to adjust the contract but obligated to do so. The manner in which they are allowed to do this is left undefined and is thus entirely up to congress, subject to judicial review.

                                            --
                                            "Buzzy, you're probably the dumbest person I've ever encountered. Well, there is aristarchus, so make it 2nd dumbest."
                                            • (Score: 2) by tonyPick on Wednesday May 02, @05:38AM (7 children)

                                              by tonyPick (1237) on Wednesday May 02, @05:38AM (#674467) Homepage Journal

                                              Patents and copyright are abstract social constructs that do not exist without first being defined and granted by an outside entity; they are not rights but at most contractual agreements between the government and its citizens.

                                              So, like money? (Government being the thing putting the fiat in fiat-currency)

                                              They are also in fact explicitly spelled out as being authorized only for a stated purpose.

                                              So, exactly like money and taxation? I would think given those things that you would be happier about the latter.

                                              Property rights are natural rights. Nothing needs be granted you by an outside entity for you to claim and hold property

                                              You know that for a large part of history those things you call "natural rights" would have included other people [boredpanda.com], right? And we're really happy this is no longer the case, with "natural" rights being just another term for "social and legal construct", right?

                                              • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Wednesday May 02, @11:01AM (6 children)

                                                So, like money?

                                                You're confusing the idea of money with the ownership of a given amount of money. You're also under the misapprehension that the government controls money. It somewhat controls the dollar but the dollar is not remotely the only currency even Americans exchange and the government does not set its value relative to anything it is exchanged for.

                                                So, exactly like money and taxation? I would think given those things that you would be happier about the latter.

                                                No. Neither of those are actually true.

                                                You know that for a large part of history those things you call "natural rights" would have included other people [boredpanda.com], right? And we're really happy this is no longer the case, with "natural" rights being just another term for "social and legal construct", right?

                                                Utterly incorrect. You're still stuck with the idea that rights are created or granted by external entities. They are not. External entities of any sort can only either protect or infringe upon rights as rights exist independent of them. Anything they grant that you did not naturally possess is not in fact a right. It can be an entitlement but that is not remotely the same thing.

                                                --
                                                "Buzzy, you're probably the dumbest person I've ever encountered. Well, there is aristarchus, so make it 2nd dumbest."
                                                • (Score: 2) by tonyPick on Friday May 04, @02:10PM (5 children)

                                                  by tonyPick (1237) on Friday May 04, @02:10PM (#675658) Homepage Journal

                                                  You're confusing the idea of money with the ownership of a given amount of money.

                                                  You're simply describing what money is for and how it is used - this doesn't change what it _is_. (Although yes, I was specifically referencing the dollar, that being what you use, and what your arguments have references)

                                                  It's a fiat currency - which is to say, an inherently worthless object assigned a value that is backed by the government that issued it. That ticks the "do not exist without first being defined and granted by an outside entity" box on which you lean heavily, and from which you justify the power to arbitrarily define the terms under which it is provided.

                                                  No. Neither of those are actually true.

                                                  Then you might want to find a different definition for what you believe the objectives of patents to be - it's on the same piece of paper, and if you do not stand by the notions at the top of the page you should not lean so heavily on a subsequent detail further down.

                                                  Utterly incorrect. You're still stuck with the idea that rights are created or granted by external entities. They are not. External entities of any sort can only either protect or infringe upon rights as rights exist independent of them. Anything they grant that you did not naturally possess is not in fact a right. It can be an entitlement but that is not remotely the same thing.

                                                  If personal property was such an independent right, as opposed to being inextricably linked to social constructs, then the definition of it would not change so fluidly over time: You would not be arguing that something regarded by "Wise men" in the 6th century as a natural right was some imposition of modern governments, or that the "havoc of paper-money", something objected to up until the 19th century, was not. We would not be horrified by the mindset that could consider other people property, but not land, though that was seen as natural around the 11th century.

                                                  However, it looks like you've decided to go with Lockian-17th-century-Jesus-put-our-name-on-it-natural-law, which I find unconvincing, but you really should have said that up front.

                                                  • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Friday May 04, @10:43PM (4 children)

                                                    You misunderstand. All money is inherently worthless unless it's being used as barter of the underlying substance instead of as money. That does not make ownership of a given bit that you have exchanged goods or services for any less a right.

                                                    If personal property was such an independent right, as opposed to being inextricably linked to social constructs, then the definition of it would not change so fluidly over time...

                                                    Definitions are social constructs. They cannot affect things that exist independent of societies. We could all start calling rain "dry" tomorrow but we'd still be using umbrellas.

                                                    However, it looks like you've decided to go with Lockian-17th-century-Jesus-put-our-name-on-it-natural-law, which I find unconvincing, but you really should have said that up front.

                                                    Horse shit. I've repeatedly defined what a right is in this thread and it has nothing to do with being granted anything by any entity.

                                                    --
                                                    "Buzzy, you're probably the dumbest person I've ever encountered. Well, there is aristarchus, so make it 2nd dumbest."
                                                    • (Score: 2) by tonyPick on Sunday May 06, @08:47AM (3 children)

                                                      by tonyPick (1237) on Sunday May 06, @08:47AM (#676303) Homepage Journal

                                                      However, it looks like you've decided to go with Lockian-17th-century-Jesus-put-our-name-on-it-natural-law, which I find unconvincing, but you really should have said that up front.
                                                         

                                                      Horse shit. I've repeatedly defined what a right is in this thread and it has nothing to do with being granted anything by any entity.

                                                      You've just restated what John Locke's natural law based labour theory of property rights *say*. And they're from the 17th century because it's not a new idea. And it's dependent on religion because that's one of the fundamental axioms in how natural rights are generally formed (and if you have a neat solution to that then tell Van Dun, or Rothbard, or Nozick, or any of the many politicians or economists or philosophers of the past few centuries who would have liked a neat obvious answer to this one that doesn't end up in "just because").

                                                      Aaaaaand at this point I realise I've been trolled, since you can't be doing this "say it's different, then highlight the ways in which it's identical" thing so much by accident. Crap. Well played.

                                                      • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Sunday May 06, @10:28AM (2 children)

                                                        *sigh*

                                                        Okay, I'll spell it out one more time. Rights do not come from anywhere. Not from other humans and not from any supernatural entity. The combination of every possible action a person could take or refrain from taking (from freedom of speech to the right to spontaneously turn purple) starts out existing as one big superset of rights in every human being. Only when the question of a specific subset of the superset being infringed upon or voluntarily set aside comes up is there even a need for the naming of a right. Like the infinite potential arcs in a circle.

                                                        We voluntarily set aside many rights for the sake of getting along with other people. More are infringed upon by whatever government we live under. For practical purposes, any named right is simply a part of the superset that is in contention enough to be worth defining.

                                                        So asking where a right comes from is not an intelligent question but a fundamental misunderstanding of what a right actually is. It makes precisely as much sense as asking where a particular arc in a circle comes from. Likewise asking why you have a right should always be answered "Because I refuse to surrender it." if the person being asked understands what a right is.

                                                        You're currently arguing that the ability to limit the rights of others, granted you and backed by implied violence by the government, is also a right. It, however, has an origin other than preexistence in every human and thus can not be considered a right. That can be an entitlement or whatever other word you care to call it but it can never be a right.

                                                        Does this clear things up for you?

                                                        --
                                                        "Buzzy, you're probably the dumbest person I've ever encountered. Well, there is aristarchus, so make it 2nd dumbest."
                                                        • (Score: 2) by tonyPick on Wednesday May 09, @06:52AM (1 child)

                                                          by tonyPick (1237) on Wednesday May 09, @06:52AM (#677356) Homepage Journal

                                                          Like the infinite potential arcs in a circle.
                                                          ...
                                                          It makes precisely as much sense as asking where a particular arc in a circle comes from.

                                                          Oh, for a minute there you had me going, and I though you might be serious despite everything, but then these lines gave it away, and that's the funniest thing I've read all week. Very *very* clever to bring in a geometry reference just there. I get that you don't necessarily want to break character, but that's such an excellently done joke that I think you deserve congratulating for it.

                                                          • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Wednesday May 09, @08:04AM

                                                            No joke. Take stepping off with your right foot when you start walking. Do you have the right to do it? Why? Where does that right originate from? Wrong question, ain't it? That right exists because it has not been called into question. Its origin is exactly the same as every other right. It does not have one. A right is simply a defined absence of oppression.

                                                            --
                                                            "Buzzy, you're probably the dumbest person I've ever encountered. Well, there is aristarchus, so make it 2nd dumbest."
          • (Score: 5, Insightful) by frojack on Sunday April 15, @08:35PM (1 child)

            by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Sunday April 15, @08:35PM (#667381) Journal

            No, its simply a cost of doing business. The people are free to choose another line of business, or become farmers, or what ever.

            Forcing businesses to do certain things in a certain way. The electrician can't wire your house any way they want. They are required to follow the electrical code. Is that slavery? When was the last time you saw an electrician in chains being sold in the slave market?

            --
            No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
            • (Score: 2) by qzm on Monday April 16, @01:39AM

              by qzm (3260) on Monday April 16, @01:39AM (#667451)

              much MUCH more than that.

              These companies enjoy a special, place protected by both questionable intellectual property protections (they are allowed to 'own' often natural
              compounds because they found a use for them - like giving the first person who found that oil could burn a patent over burning oil), and by having
              regulatory capture, whereby only certain companies are even allowed to supply these types of products because 'medical'.

              However, basically NOTHING is required in return for this special position.
              That is inequitable to society, and society should demand a more equitable situation, or remove those protections.

              And that, ladies and gentlemen, is entirely compatible with not only current market philosophy, but is actually demanded by accepted natural law.
              The thing standing in the way is of course corruption allowed by these companies backdooring huge money in to political decision making processes.

              Their cries of 'We need the money for research, we are only doing this for the good of humankind' is such an obvious lie these days that it is beyond laughable.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 16, @06:03AM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 16, @06:03AM (#667527)
          A rational society would just make more and more tests for rare unwanted genetic diseases and abort the fetuses that have them. After a number of generations you'd have fewer people with those diseases. There's no need to even genetically modify fetuses.

          After all if you have a serious genetic problem that might be passed to your children, with 7+ billion people already on this planet what makes your disease ridden fetus so worth keeping? Just because it has your crappy genes?

          If you want a baby without those faulty genes I can donate some sperm and someone else can provide the eggs. It'll be 99% like you minus your serious diseases, even if it's not even the same race or color, that's what those anti-racism scientists claim right? So you can achieve mostly the same thing without gene modification if it's all about being rational.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, @05:15PM (3 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, @05:15PM (#667315)

        Not just that, but in some parts of the world the traditional business model for healing people is that you pay when you feel well and stop paying until the medical provider has resolved the ailment. Which in many ways makes a lot more sense as there's less conflict of interest.

        Also, in most parts of the world, they don't focus on profit in the first place as it's pretty disgusting to draw all those lines about life based only on the bottom line.

        There is going to be a point where it's just too expensive to provide further treatments, but that kind of thing should be considered carefully. Any such evaluations should be based more on the quality and quantity of life that the patient would have later on. Trying to treat brain cancer in a 90 year old is probably not worthwhile, but not because the company doing the procedure can't get paid, but because it offers relatively little quality of life after the procedure.

        • (Score: 2) by frojack on Sunday April 15, @08:42PM (2 children)

          by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Sunday April 15, @08:42PM (#667383) Journal

          traditional business model for healing people is that you pay when you feel well

          Yes, and the witch doctors and shamans that practice there know that most people will heal themselves if left alone, (because that's what all animals do), and the rest can be blamed on evil spirits. So the cures and treatments don't actually have to work at all.

          This is why we have nephropathy and homeopathy and assorted other quack treatments.

          But hey, way to champion a rational medical system!

          --
          No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 16, @01:46PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 16, @01:46PM (#667620)

            Ah, nice to see some "rational" bigotry going on here.

            The point is that they have a system where the money is aligned with the best interests of the patients to a much larger degree than in the US.

            Also, despite your arrogant chortles, the medical system in Europe and the US at the same time that those "witch doctors" were the main source of medicine was hardly any better. They'd have people taking all sorts of weird treatments with no particular evidence of efficacy, but they'd be making money directly off the cures that ranged from questionable to fraudulent to downright dangerous.

            Homeopathy is something that people like you like to trot out because it's an easy target for pot shots, the more typical treatments for things involve herbal remedies which remain the main source of pharmaceuticals in the current era. We've just recently gotten to the point where we can do things that don't require a plant to do it first. And yet, you make it sound like we're centuries further ahead of those practices than we are. Western medical science isn't as advanced as people like you would have us believe. We're still behaving like bacteria cause illness when there's scant evidence to support that version for most diseases. It's superstition that kills a lot of people.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 17, @09:59AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 17, @09:59AM (#667976)

            Yeah but it's funny how lots of companies interview those shamans and witch doctors to learn what herbs they use in order to find more stuff to patent.

            https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/mother-natures-medicine-c/ [scientificamerican.com]

            They often need to know more than just what herb:

            https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/health-and-human-body/human-body/medicines-in-nature/ [nationalgeographic.com]

            Gomes told me how, a year earlier, he had visited a healer in rural West Bengal whose plant successfully countered cobra and viper poison. The healer's recipe had come from his grandfather to his father to him.

            Gomes took the healer's plant to his laboratory to test on rats. He prepared a dosage of snake venom that he could predict would kill 50 percent of the animals. He administered it by injection, and 50 percent of the rats died. Next, he gave the same dosage to another group of rats, then fed them an extract of the roots. None of the rats died.

            Gomes returned for more of the plants, but the healer had grown suspicious and refused to provide any more.

            So Gomes had a botanist examine what remained of the first batch of plants. Together they went to rural West Bengal, collected the same plant, and again tried the experiment. The new plants did nothing to neutralize the venom. Just as Rasoanaivo had found in his work with anticancer medicines, the chemical composition of plants is complicated. Even with all their modern technology scientists do not know which plants to pick or when to pick them or whether traditional healers might have added other herbal or nonherbal ingredients to the cure.

            There's a very good argument for having standardized pills so you know exactly how much of the stuff you're taking and also for figuring out side effects, doses and interactions. But one should also realize that lots of those cures and treatments we have come from traditional knowledge.

            Lastly:

            Yes, and the witch doctors and shamans that practice there know that most people will heal themselves if left alone,

            In very many cases "modern medicine" doctors do a similar thing - they give patients antibiotics or placebos for milder cases of flu. And the patients heal themselves.

            Even for stuff like surgery and bone setting it's the body that has to do the final job of putting the pieces together. It doesn't always work (e.g. idiot patient smokes after reattachment surgery, diabetes etc).

    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by TheRaven on Sunday April 15, @09:23AM (4 children)

      by TheRaven (270) on Sunday April 15, @09:23AM (#667214) Journal
      I posted a more detailed analysis of this on the Green Site, but here's the short version:

      The cost of bringing a new drug to market is estimated to be about $2.5bn. This includes development costs and FDA approval for all of the failed attempts until you get the one that works and you can start making money.

      The drug in the analysis can be manufactured for $300 per course of treatment (including some profit - that's the price that they're setting for third-party generic manufacturers for sale to third-world countries) but costs $30-80K per course of treatment when you're also covering R&D costs.

      Taking these two things into account, their estimated profit for the decade following 2007 (when the drug was discovered), including the years prior to its FDA approval in 2013, is around $25bn, on an initial investment of $2.5bn.

      Cures (where none exist already), unlike treatments, get fast-track approval from the FDA and so they started making a profit years earlier than they would have done otherwise. The average approval time for the FDA is 12 years, the fast track too less than 6. Given that they made enough profit in the first year to cover the total R&D costs, that's a good 5-6 years when they weren't carrying a $2.5bn liability and were instead carrying a profit forward. That makes a huge difference to a corporate balance sheet.

      Once you develop a cure, you get a complete monopoly until the patent expires. For Sofosbuvir, this is 17 years. It's possible that the disease will be eradicated in that time, but no on else is going to try bringing a competing product to market. A treatment can't compete with a cure, so there's no point developing one. A cure won't get regulatory fast-track approval if there's an existing cure, so any competitor is looking at a 12-year lead time. When the patent expires, any competing drug has to compete with generic (i.e. dirt cheap) copies of the first cure and so has to be able to pay back the R&D budget entirely before your patent expires.

      If you do develop a treatment and someone else develops a cure, then your treatment becomes worthless almost overnight, unless it is very effective and it's cheaper for people to take it until the patent expires on the cure and then take the cure when it's cheap (very unlikely).

      All of the numbers in TFA imply that there's big money to be made in researching cures.

      --
      sudo mod me up
      • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, @09:28AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, @09:28AM (#667215)

        > The cost of bringing a new drug to market is estimated to be about $2.5bn. This includes development costs and FDA approval for all of the failed attempts until you get the one that works and you can start making money.

        Regulation for new drugs has been pushed by the incumbent to stomp out competition and drive prices up, though. If big pharma wanted less regulation, they would get it. Public health? This article proves they can't care less. Just avoid having the pill killing you at once after 30 secs, which is bad PR.

        • (Score: 2) by qzm on Monday April 16, @01:42AM

          by qzm (3260) on Monday April 16, @01:42AM (#667453)

          And yes, thats EXACTLY what they do, and a cornerstone of the medical system.

          Not just that, but the 2.5 Bn figure just happens to INCLUDE the massive overheads and profits of the drug companies as well - so no, it is not even close to a real cost figure.
          it is, like most everything in that industry, part of the lie.

      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, @12:19PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, @12:19PM (#667243)

        Here's what we need:

        1. Researchers find underlying gene changes that can cure disorders.
        2. Patient with genetic disorder interacts with one doctor maximum. Computer analysis/AI tailors a gene sequence(s) to the patient, since many different mutations can cause the same or very similar disorder.
        3. Digital sequence assembled by the computer is turned into a personalized biological. Hopefully, one gene editing.system will fit all gene therapies.
        4. Slight adjustments to treatment regimen based on the disorder (eg. Is your bone marrow the source of the problem, eyeballs, brain, etc.?). Minimize this step as much as possible and aim to make the treatment self-administered with no needle.

        If the process is streamlined and the R&D is paid by goverment and universities instead of big pharma, this could end up being cheap. If pharma doesn't want it to exist, a silicon valley company like Google Calico will go for it. Health and life insurance companies would also love to have preventative + curative care available for cheap. Both would also love anti-aging (which necessarily includes curing cancer and other expensive diseases).

        • (Score: 2) by frojack on Sunday April 15, @08:54PM

          by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Sunday April 15, @08:54PM (#667386) Journal

          1. Researchers find underlying gene changes that can cure disorders.
          2. Patient with genetic disorder interacts with one doctor maximum. Computer analysis/AI tailors a gene sequence(s) to the patient, since many different mutations can cause the same or very similar disorder.
          3. Digital sequence assembled by the computer is turned into a personalized biological. Hopefully, one gene editing.system will fit all gene therapies.
          4. Slight adjustments to treatment regimen based on the disorder (eg. Is your bone marrow the source of the problem, eyeballs, brain, etc.?). Minimize this step as much as possible and aim to make the treatment self-administered with no needle.

          Exactly.

          You need to invent an entirely new business model and research/development ecosystem for this kind of medicine to be cost effective.
          That will happen, over time.

          In the meantime, people are dying from very common diseases because our current models and ecosystems can't cure Alzheimer's and heart disease. We can barely treat these, let along cure them, and they are very common. There is simply no hope for the vast majority of those with extremely rare genetic diseases that require one-off medicines and treatments, until your entirely new environment evolves.

          Custom medicine requires a totally new infrastructure.

          --
          No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by ElizabethGreene on Sunday April 15, @02:22PM (8 children)

      by ElizabethGreene (6748) on Sunday April 15, @02:22PM (#667271)

      >> The greed involved in the Pharma business is legendary. In a another recent news item, an American drug with a price of (ISTR) $6,000
      was no better than one costing $6 made in the middle east.

      It's quite possible you lack perspective to see this greed for what it truly is.

      It costs $6 billion USD to bring a drug to market. The failure rate for clinical trials is 50% per phase with three phases, so I'm going to get to the clinical trial phase with an average of 8 drugs to get one useful one. You don't get a refund for the R&D on those failed drugs. That money is gone.

      The math isn't hard. It's going to cost me $6 billion and 10 years to develop and market a cure for disease C. If I put that money in an investment paying 8 percent I'd have 12.9 Billion dollars at the end of 10 years. The drug has to pay more than that to be worth the trouble. If 4 million people have disease C. I need to sell the drug for at least $2580 not to lose money. If I'm going to take that risk I want a big payoff, so I'm going to want to sell it for 10x that, $25,800 per cure. I know that insurance companies are going to want a fat discount for something that expensive, so I have to mark it up so I can afford that discount and still make a profit.

      So I price the cure (Sovaldi) for disease C (Hepatitis C) for $65,000 so I can give insurance companies their 60% discount.

      Which specific action here is greed?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, @05:18PM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, @05:18PM (#667320)

        Other countries manage to provide the same medical care that costs us tens of thousands of dollars for much, much less by negotiating with the manufacturer. In the US, the largest provider of medical care, the government, is barred from negotiating the cost of medications.

        In some cases the difference can be thousands of dollars per dose.

        • (Score: 2) by frojack on Sunday April 15, @09:12PM (1 child)

          by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Sunday April 15, @09:12PM (#667390) Journal

          Its no secret that tig Pharma pays for drug development with high US pricing. Slightly lower EU pricing, and dirt cheap third world pricing.
          This is a well known fact. The theory is that the US can afford it, and if average prices were used world wide, some places (Africa) would never be able to afford these drugs, but they would be very cheap in the US.

          As for US government negotiating cost of medications...
          Some people [thefiscaltimes.com] are just fine with that.
          Other people, [cnn.com] not so much.

          You'll be surprised at who is in which camp.

          --
          No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 16, @04:46AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 16, @04:46AM (#667510)

            And then Trump talked to someone from the industry for five minutes and his mind was changed. Try again.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by VanessaE on Sunday April 15, @06:18PM (4 children)

        Which specific action here is greed?

        It's the combination of actions and inaction, but it all boils down to you demanding to make back in mere months what took you ten years to spend, when you could spread that revenue out over the 28 year (double) term of the cure's patent.

        You act as if those 4 million will be the last to ever have it - but you've developed a cure in this scenario, not a vaccine. Meanwhile, there are actually between 71 and 150 million infected worldwide (depending on who you ask), with about 1.7 million new cases every year (keeping with the example of Hep. C)

        So, let's assume your 4 million figure is right. Let's cure 'em all right now, in one massive months-long campaign.

        Assuming everyone affected has insurance that will cover it, or otherwise can afford your per-cure 65 grand figure.... minus 60% for insurance discount, minus your stated 6 billion in R&D costs, and losing 90% of the final result to advertising costs, internal re-investments, litigation, hookers and blow, and everything else that doesn't add up to unallocated cash in the company bank accounts...

        ((65'000 × 0.4 × 4'000'000) - 6'000'000'000) × 0.1 = 9.8 billion dollars net profit.

        Now, let's cure all 71 million (using the lower end of my quoted range, to be conservative) with the same medicine, same assumptions as above, but spread it out over two years since there's so many more people:

        ((65'000 × 0.4 × 71'000'000) - 6'000'000'000) × 0.1 × 0.5 = 92 billion dollars net profit each year. For one medicine.

        Add on top of that the 3 to 4 billion you'd net every year curing new cases (again assuming insurance discount and 90% loss).

        Yeah, that's greed.

        • (Score: 2, Informative) by frojack on Sunday April 15, @09:01PM (2 children)

          by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Sunday April 15, @09:01PM (#667389) Journal

          If it was as easy and simple as you suggest, it would already be done this way.

          You're not as bright as you think you are, and those with that kind money aren't idiots. They run the odds on just about everything, under multiple different scenarios, and would have come up with your simplistic calculations before you were born.

          --
          No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
          • (Score: 2) by VanessaE on Monday April 16, @03:21AM (1 child)

            Simplistic or not, the math doesn't lie. X dollars times Y recipients is still X times Y, no matter how much estimation, forecasting, etc. you do to figure out what values to plug in for each variable.

            Twist it any way you want, it's greed.

            • (Score: 2) by Alphatool on Monday April 16, @12:47PM

              by Alphatool (1145) on Monday April 16, @12:47PM (#667600)

              Hate to have to say it, but your maths is way off. First you have to allow for the time value of money, then for the fact that all of the people who can afford it will get treated at the start, so the price has to keep dropping to keep demand up. Additionally, as a cure it will reduce the transmission of the disease on a population basis. This means the demand will taper off, even with price reductions (unless something else causes the transmission to increase... it can be hard to predict). Then you have to take physical realities into account. It's not possible to instantly get a complex medicine out to tens of millions of people per year. Even if it was possible to ramp up production quickly enough, the supply chains and clinical infrastructure just won't get to that many people in a year or two - it takes time. You may doubt this, but there is enough money in it a company would do almost anything to make it happen if they could. Each country also has its own regulatory and cost structures, so each country needs its own detailed analysis. Once you get passed these issues in developed countries you need to start looking at pushing into the developing and less developed world, and that's a whole new ball game.

              All of this combines so that a simple X times Y is just wrong, to the point of being a lie.

        • (Score: 2) by ElizabethGreene on Tuesday April 17, @06:20PM

          by ElizabethGreene (6748) on Tuesday April 17, @06:20PM (#668218)

          You've _assumed_ they can sell it for the same price in the rest of the world. That is not the case. Rich countries subsidize the poor ones.

          Rerun your numbers again with 1/7th of the population* paying retail and the rest of the world getting it for free. Then check that against Gilead's annual reports.

          * Justification for this number: (300 million americans+700 million europeans)/7 billion global population

    • (Score: -1, Spam) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 16, @08:49AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 16, @08:49AM (#667552)

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    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 16, @12:55PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 16, @12:55PM (#667602)

      I completely agree with you about the absurd prices of American drugs and the moral issue with putting profit above superior medical treatment.

      I want to talk a bit about the $3B dollars. This perfectly demonstrates how the for profit health care system in the U.S. is flawed. $3B sounds like a lot, but you have to consider the scale of the company. Usually profit refers to gross revenue - cost of revenue. Take that number and subtract payments to creditors, administrative costs not related to product production or logistics, taxes, and preferred stock dividends. What is left over is what ends up as net income for common stock share holders, or the ones with voting rights that collectively own and control the company. Suppose all of this leaves $1.5B left for common stock holders. To make things simple, lets say there are 100M shares of common stock. 1.5B / 100M = $15 per share of common stock. If the price of one share is $300, that is only a 5% return on investment. Now consider assets. $300 * 100M is a $30B market capitalization. Right now, most companies are selling on the stock markets for about 3 times their net assets. This means if the company were to liquidate, you would at BEST, get a 1/3rd of what the current share price is in cash. A 10% return on assets is considered very good. Lets use it for this company. To get $3B gross profit, you would need $30B of total assets. Assuming average numbers, you can see how $3B gross profit might not be anything to call home about when it is applied to a $30B company. Ask yourself this. Would you want to own shares of a company that could be put out of business by regulation, scientific breakthrough, lawsuit, or competitors that gives you 5% return that would liquidate for a best case a 1/3rd of what you paid (realistically 1/6 or 1/8th)? You can get a 4% dividend yield from the Vanguard real estate ETF that owns shares of thousands of office buildings, hotels, apartments, etc around the US. You can get 5.5% in dividends by buying a preferred stock index ETF that owns a few shares of every preferred stock that is representative of the preferred shares market. I'm going to demand a much higher return, much higher liquidation value, or a significant competitive advantage to buy an individual company like this that has the risks of a pharmaceutical company.

      Consider the cost and risk of spending huge amounts of money developing medical devices and drugs. In order to attract (sane) investors to fund this development, it has to have the potential for a substantial profit. This is why for profit health care systems are flawed. Once you factor in the profits rightfully demanded by share holders and the overhead that quickly shrinks gross profits, it significantly adds to the cost. No sane investor would buy a company that risks putting itself out of business because the products it sells reduces demand for its own products. It creates a conflict of interest where the most profitable services and treatments are the most widely available. Taxes funding health care has the problem of the incentive of keeping the long term costs as low as possible, regardless of the results. I would like to see a health care system optimized for cost and quality. I don't know what that system would look like, but it isn't what we have now in the U.S., and I have my doubts about U.K. or Canadian style systems being optimal.

    • (Score: 2) by Wootery on Monday April 16, @02:21PM

      by Wootery (2341) on Monday April 16, @02:21PM (#667633)

      If they don't want the $3bn, let them give it to me!

      That's a completely vacuous quip. I'm sure you understand as well as the rest of us that investors are looking for growth, not absolute worth.

      The greed involved in the Pharma business is legendary

      All companies tend to be greedy. The real issue is entrusting the whole affair to for-profit companies in the first place. I'm sure we could just as rightly accuse The Lego Group of being greedy; the difference isn't the greed, it's the life-or-death problem-domain.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Bot on Sunday April 15, @08:02AM (1 child)

    by Bot (3902) on Sunday April 15, @08:02AM (#667201)

    They admitted big pharma reliance on treatments instead of cures.
    Another field day for the tinfoil helmets.

    This report, translated:
    Guys, don't fund gene therapy projects that cure, fund those who treat, even better fund those who treat in tandem with chemicals. Do it the monsanto way, not the nature way.

    Guy bombing a puny dictator for a bunch of chlorine deaths has his testicles handed to these guys at home, interesting.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, @07:27PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, @07:27PM (#667368)

      We didn't already know that?

      This is a complicated industry. They use profits from things like boner pills to pay for things like antibiotics that they have to sell despite being less effective the more doses they produce, being short term and generally not having the greatest profit margins.

      The industry has a lot of problems and most of them come from the fact that they have to make a profit but are allowed to ask whatever they want knowing that somebody will have to pay and that person probably isn't the one getting the treatment.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by snufu on Sunday April 15, @09:22AM (6 children)

    by snufu (5855) on Sunday April 15, @09:22AM (#667212)

    and decided to keep you sick for profit.

    • (Score: 0, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, @02:19PM (4 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, @02:19PM (#667269)

      These "analysts" have succombed to the kind of fallacious economic thinking that was dismantled over 150 years ago.

      Of course it is NOT more profitable to squeeze productivity from sick people; it would make far more sense to offer sick people a cure, and then have them pay for that cure out of their healthy productivity—the cure would be an investment, and could indeed be organized as such, by payment via a loan.

      What derails this sensible conclusion is a decidedly NON-free-market wart on society: The Welfare State, which forces a dwindling population of healthy, productive people to pay for the ongoing maintenance of unhealthy, unproductive people.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, @06:21PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, @06:21PM (#667347)

        You're an idiot if you actually believe that.

        It is far more profitable to keep people on the line for an extremely expensive drug for their entire life - a drug that keeps them "healthy" enough to work productively and afford medical insurance that pays most of the costs. Insulin is an excellent example of this. Why cure diabetes when you can charge people their entire lives for the ability to manually manage their sugar levels.

        The only way that won't be true is if the 1-shot cure conveniently costs more than a lifetime (say 25 years) supply of the expensive drug. Something that likely won't be covered by any medical insurance due to the enormous up front cost with the chances of of relapses or failure to actually cure.

        So yeah, it will most definitely hit their bottom line if they actually provided the cure at reasonably affordable prices. (hint: Even the currently lifetime treatment options aren't "reasonable" to be honest. The only way they're even feasible is due to extensive, expensive, insurance plans for the wealthy and welfare benefits for the rest of us.)

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, @07:13PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, @07:13PM (#667366)

          People don't mind working as much as they mind being sick.

          Sick people would pay big bucks to be cured, even if that meant spending the rest of their lives making monthly payments to pay for that cure.

      • (Score: 2) by qzm on Monday April 16, @01:46AM (1 child)

        by qzm (3260) on Monday April 16, @01:46AM (#667454)

        Ummm. No.
        THESE 'analysts' are looking at the pharma industry, which most certainly does NOT profit from increased productivity from healthy people.
        It profits from maximising the amount of money it can extra from the medical/instruance industry, which itself profits from how terrified people are of the huge cost of treatements.

        They are in a race to the top - just about everyone in the US medical/healthcare system profits more as the cost of treatement increases, so they all support increased costs.

        The only question is, where does the balloon eventually pop.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 16, @10:14AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 16, @10:14AM (#667564)

          The comment to which you replied would be a decent response to your comment; you haven't made a point.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, @07:10PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, @07:10PM (#667364)

      These "analysts" have succombed to the kind of fallacious economic thinking that was dismantled over 150 years ago.

      Of course it is NOT more profitable to squeeze productivity from sick people; it would make far more sense to offer sick people a cure, and then have them pay for that cure out of their healthy productivity—the cure would be an investment, and could indeed be organized as such, by payment via a loan.

      What derails this sensible conclusion is a decidedly NON-free-market wart on society: The Welfare State, which forces a dwindling population of healthy, productive people to pay for the ongoing maintenance of unhealthy, unproductive people.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, @11:18AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, @11:18AM (#667235)

    If there is no germline editing, then there will be a steady stream of people getting mutations that need to be fixed. However the mutations may be distinct enough to make mass production not feasible (aka the gene therapy has to be "personalized").

    The solution is to make a programmable gene therapy that can be quickly tailored to work for any desired changes. Research will be needed the understand each disease and the necessary edits. Fund universities and nonprofits to do the research, and make it impossible to patent each gene therapy. Maybe just the underlying delivery system for all of the therapies.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, @05:20PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, @05:20PM (#667322)

      Yes, but presumably the cost of doing this kind of procedure will continue to drop over time, albeit more slowly if it's individual treatments rather than over a larger pool of individuals getting the same exact treatment.

      This is just one more example of why it's generally better to have a single payer system covering at least all the typical diseases and disorders that people get. Now, if we want to let people pay for other things that are more expensive and have less impact on people's welfare, that's a different matter.

  • (Score: 2) by Azuma Hazuki on Sunday April 15, @02:35PM (2 children)

    by Azuma Hazuki (5086) Subscriber Badge on Sunday April 15, @02:35PM (#667274) Journal

    This is why, as I have been saying since junior year of high school after the economics primer, we should not let "the market" rule when it comes to something with such inelastic demand. It's a hostage situation, literally "your money or your life," and in some cases they want both. When even Uzzard gets to the point where he's proposing government intervention, regulation, which he called one of the world's great evils not a week ago on this very forum, what does THAT say?

    Oh Mr. Vim, where aaaarrreeee youuuuu...? You're already going to Hell, but I'd love to see you stamp your own passport there with your argument about why it's perfectly fine for this to happen.

    --
    I am "that girl" your mother warned you about...
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, @05:17PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, @05:17PM (#667317)

      Here. [soylentnews.org]

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 16, @12:24AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 16, @12:24AM (#667423)

        Well, that's slightly better than just reposting the who damned comment again and again and again.

  • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, @03:53PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, @03:53PM (#667287)

    Khazar jewish banker vermin have been keeping us ill for centuries. Cures for most diseases and conditions are already known and hidden from us by the evil powers. They want to keep us ill and suffer. These sadists and rapists of humanity need to be put out of their misery. If it were a human in their place, he would immediately want to give away the cures for free.

    Let us all be cured and free of the khazar jewish vermin.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, @04:23PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, @04:23PM (#667297)

      I don't know what pills you're popping, but you need either more or less.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 16, @12:27AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 16, @12:27AM (#667425)

      Are the khazar jewish bankers working with the lizard people, or are both the lizard people and the khazar jewish bankers competing with each other for human energy?

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