Slash Boxes

SoylentNews is people

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

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
  • (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.

    Starting Score:    1  point
    Karma-Bonus Modifier   +1  

    Total Score:   2  
  • (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 []

              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"

                • (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?)