Do you have adblock enabled?
 
If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

(SacBee)   Abbott Labs quadruples price of AIDS drug that was developed using taxpayer funded research   (sacbee.com ) divider line
    More: Asinine  
•       •       •

10568 clicks; posted to Main » on 05 Aug 2004 at 12:43 PM (12 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



237 Comments     (+0 »)
 


Oldest | « | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | » | Newest | Show all

 
2004-08-05 05:06:11 PM  
Okay, quick. What percentage of the development was from that grant?
Why did they mention it but left out crucial piece of information?
Can we say media spin?
 
2004-08-05 05:06:34 PM  
Dancin_In_Anson

I'd encourage you to at least look at what the program actually does before you dismiss it:

http://www.sba.gov/sbir/indexsbir-sttr.html
 
2004-08-05 05:07:38 PM  
This article was sort of deceptive. Abbott Labs bought the patent from the federal government as a gamble. Apparently this happens all the time.

The drug was originally designed to be a cancer-fighting drug, but it didn't work, so the government discarded its research, and apparently the popular way to do this is to sell its research to pharmaceutical companies. Abbott bought this (likely with several other failed drugs that don't have any use,) discovered that it blocks some process that AIDS needs at a molecular level, and decided that it might work to fight AIDS.

I forget exactly what Norvir does, but I did a lot of research on this. Essentially, the AIDS activists are saying that because the government did the research, it should be the government's property. The pharm companies are saying that because they bought the rights to the resarch & the drug, they own it. I personally sort of side with the pharm companies on this one.
 
2004-08-05 05:08:03 PM  
Just change the patent laws to give pharm companies say, 10 years max exclusive patent before the generics can come in.

Guaranteed they're already making bucketloads by that time, so some competition won't hurt them....
 
2004-08-05 05:10:18 PM  
and look here to see what we got money for:

http://www.sba.gov/gopher/Innovation-And-Research/Awd98/awdde.txt

Look at the grants for Compact Membrane Systems, Inc.
 
2004-08-05 05:18:12 PM  
darth_shatner:

Clever idea. Unfortunately, the reality is that they get less than that on a typical drug. From the patent phase, they have to go through years of clinical trials, and then years of goat-roping the FDA for approval on their new drugs.

Prozac, a treatment for depression, is one of the most profitable drugs in history. Since its introduction in 1988, it has accounted for US$ 21 billion (23 billion euros) in sales and 30% of Lilly's revenues in that time. It took ten years of clinical trials before Lilly could submit its application to the Food and Drug Administration, and another four years after that before the FDA approved the drug.

Lilly began applying for patents on its product as early as 1973. Eventually, four patents were issued relative to the product that the FDA approved; the first of those was issued in 1977 and the last in 1986. Under the laws then, patent life lasted 17 years from the date of issue. That meant that Prozac would enjoy market exclusivity up until 2003 (seventeen years after the issuance of the last patent).


Nice, huh? The 17 years of patent "protection" that they should have gotten for Prozac netted them a total of three years that they could recoup their losses.
 
2004-08-05 05:22:22 PM  
So, what you're saying is that if you come up with a great idea that has the poteintial for making scads of dough and saving lives (or making the quality better) the only source for funding is the Federal Government?


I still call BS.
 
2004-08-05 05:31:36 PM  
Dr Zombie:
As much as it takes to create cures, not treatments.

If we were to hypothetically cure aids by innoculating people against it, all of a sudden the cost of research into aids treatments drops to 0, saving the consumer. If government based programs were focused on curing then we all win. So sure, I'd be willing to pay another 1% of my gross pay a year for that kind of safety net.
A minor nitpick, but innoculating people against a disease is not a "cure," but a "preventative."

"Treatment" refers to a substance (drug) or procedure (operation, other therapy) that alleviates the symptoms of a condition, and/or improves the prognosis, but the condition still exists, or, if a temporary condition, its duration is not shortened. OTC cold medicines are an example of the latter: the cold does usually go away eventually, but the medicine has nothing to do with that, and therefore it is a treatment, not a cure.

"Cure" refers to a substance or procedure that causes you to no longer have the condition that you had - in other words, you used to have the condition, and now you don't, at all, period (though adverse results may remain: if diabetes results in gangrene which in turn requires amputation of a foot, and a true cure for diabetes is developed, it would still qualify as a cure even if the foot doesn't regrow).

"Preventative" refers to a substance (e. g. vaccine) or procedure that keeps you from ever getting the condition in the first place.

For a vitamin deficiency disease, the vitamin can act as both preventative and cure.
 
2004-08-05 05:34:11 PM  
Dancin_In_Anson

Yes that is exactly what I'm saying. Venture capitalists typically don't fund research of this nature, and the returns they demand and the time frames they insist on are often not reasonable - it's not as if we didn't try to get funds that way as well either. We could sell our ideas or our company to a larger company, but then what's the point of being an entrepreneur?

Why don't you tell me where we couldve gotten funds for that kind of research before you go spreading your bullshiat around?
 
2004-08-05 05:45:00 PM  
2004-08-05 05:08:03 PM darth_shatner

Just change the patent laws to give pharm companies say, 10 years max exclusive patent before the generics can come in.

Guaranteed they're already making bucketloads by that time, so some competition won't hurt them....


There already is a limit. And it's 7 years. Take a look, it was a little more than 7 years ago when Claritin became available as a prescription. Now it's available over the counter AND as a "generic" in the brand name of Alavert.

Drugs are grouped into classes as well, you have different kinds of antibiotics (which will never become over the counter, but generics do get developed), HIV meds (don't know what the fark is going on with those), narcotics have generics, etc...

The only exception to the rule that I can think of right now is when a "delivery method" is patened along with the drug. Not the drug or chemical composition itself, but HOW it is released into the body. That's why we see so many of those "extended release" tabs now... because the drug companies can hold patents on that for as long as they damn well please. My meds for epilepsy is Tegretol XR... but despite the brand name, it is a generic. Tegretol is just the brand name for how the carbamazepine gets released into my system. The plus side to this generic is that it costs less than the generic version of the drug without the delivery method... Due to the delivery method of the drug, I only have to take half as many pills each day for the same levels to be maintained in my blood.

Still farking expensive, though. *sigh*
 
2004-08-05 05:46:12 PM  
Sorry, got that wrong. 17. Not 7. Still limited.
 
2004-08-05 06:02:30 PM  
"My meds for epilepsy is Tegretol XR... but despite the brand name, it is a generic. Tegretol is just the brand name for how the carbamazepine gets released into my system. The plus side to this generic is that it costs less than the generic version of the drug without the delivery method... Due to the delivery method of the drug, I only have to take half as many pills each day for the same levels to be maintained in my blood.

Still farking expensive, though. *sigh*"

Ugh. I took that crap for a while, didn't work for me at all. My neurologist gave it to me when it first came out, it was so expensive that I had to get my mother (who is a Registered Nurse) to get free samples from the company for me. Then I found I could get it as CostCo for about 15 bucks. Fuqqing Kaiser Permanente....
 
2004-08-05 06:06:31 PM  
but then what's the point of being an entrepreneur?


Uhhhh...I dunno...maybe

We could sell our ideas or our company to a larger company
 
2004-08-05 06:07:53 PM  
YELLOW is right. The topic is really not that debatable. There are scads of studies on how much companies devote to R&D. And it's not a lot in most cases. Companies chase the sure thing. Why try to invent a new product that might fail when you've already got a hot seller in the bag?

Government involvement is kind of like affirmative action: "R&D is required for a robust/healthy/productive country. We gotta have it, but you jokers want to sell aspirin and tennis shoes. So get busy researching. What? You're reluctant? Here's some money. Research these topics." Otherwise, we might wait many more decades for useful products. Yes, Necessity if the mother of Invention, but Uncle Sam realizes that sometimes Necessity needs a C-section.

Companies don't HAVE to participate in government-grant research projects. They DO participate in them for legitimate reasons, though:

- Smaller companies stand a chance at finding a holy grail and getting big. Plus, the money helps bolster the top line and will never be reflected as a loss.
- It's a freebie for large companies, who can take lessons learned and apply to other areas -- even if they don't invent what they are aiming for.
 
2004-08-05 06:14:53 PM  
Government involvement is kind of like affirmative action:

Well you just sold me!
 
2004-08-05 06:14:58 PM  
Dancin_In_Anson

[Uhhhh...I dunno...maybe

We could sell our ideas or our company to a larger company]

Because a world full of 4 or 5 mega corporations is a good thing. Because huge corporations are the ones that do all the innovative research.

Believe me, even if we did try to sell those ideas, do you think a big corporation would buy them? Why take a risk, why innovate when you've already got an established product you can just sit there and sell?

Innovation and invention comes from the little guys, plain and simple.

chudstud, nice to see that someone gets it.
 
2004-08-05 06:20:37 PM  
This article was sort of deceptive. Abbott Labs bought the patent from the federal government as a gamble. Apparently this happens all the time.

The drug was originally designed to be a cancer-fighting drug, but it didn't work, so the government discarded its research, and apparently the popular way to do this is to sell its research to pharmaceutical companies. Abbott bought this (likely with several other failed drugs that don't have any use,) discovered that it blocks some process that AIDS needs at a molecular level, and decided that it might work to fight AIDS.

I forget exactly what Norvir does, but I did a lot of research on this. Essentially, the AIDS activists are saying that because the government did the research, it should be the government's property. The pharm companies are saying that because they bought the rights to the resarch & the drug, they own it. I personally sort of side with the pharm companies on this one.


Right on, For every one drug that makes it past the FDA wards many many others are rejected or do not reach that far. Now imagine a whole farm of pH.Ds working on various projects making $60K+ in salary and only a small percentage are sucessful in developing a sucessful drug. Everyone still gets paid, not just the sucessful ones, so there is a lot of risk involved for the company. You cant sell a journal paper to an AIDS patient, and you cannot pay your legions of well trained scientists if you do not have some sort of product on the market making money. Think of it as a deluge before another drought, you make a lot of money while you are hot, this is being run by greedy MBAs that want to retire millionares after all.

As for cutting funding for NIH and such, then you will be cutting a lot in innovation out of the scientific world. MRI was invented from an NIH grant, and much good in science has come about in part or in whole due to NIH and grants granted by the NIH. Cutting scince from teh budget is completely asinine, innovation can only help this country stay afloat in the increasingly competitive world market.
 
2004-08-05 06:24:30 PM  
heh @ my awful spelling
 
2004-08-05 06:26:51 PM  
Believe me, even if we did try to sell those ideas, do you think a big corporation would buy them? Why take a risk, why innovate when you've already got an established product you can just sit there and sell?

Because:

Innovation and invention comes from the little guys, plain and simple.

And the big guys started out the same way. How much did Bill Gates get from the federal government in the 70's for R&D?

I don't think that it's the government's responsibility to give you money to come up with product. They are not a bank and should not be in the business of providing risk capital.

Look at it like this. Think about all of the money that the feds blow. I'm not just talking the SBA. I'm talking the big picture. Just think what the possibilites would be if that money was left not just in my pocket, but yours...and your business partner's and the guy next door's pocket. You wouldn't be reduced to going to the local government office looking for seed money that if successful might just make you (and your investors) rich. I would much rather that I had the choice and the opportunity to give you investment capital directly and take the chance of it paying off than letting Uncle Sam do it and knowing that I will see no return on my investment that was taken at the point of a gun.

You think me to be anti small business? On the contrary. I work for a very small family owned business that spends it's own money on its own expansion and growth. I prefer that my boss (who is a very wealthy individual) keep more of his money to invest in his small business in his local community. This is the entrepreneurial spirit that makes me tick.
 
2004-08-05 06:37:42 PM  
DIA

[And the big guys started out the same way. How much did Bill Gates get from the federal government in the 70's for R&D?]

Actually MS and companies like them did recieve grant money from various programs even before the SBIR program was enacted, so there.

And I agree, the gov't does waste lots of money, but that is not the case with this program. SBIR money is an investment in the future of this country and is necessary to maintain a technological edge on the rest of the world.

And my company also puts nearly every dollar we earn back into expansion and growth, but the fact is we can do more, faster, and better with some government backing. I'd ask what sort of business you work it too, because R&D is a totally different ball game than the business world.

You just don't get it, but feel free to enjoy the technologies programs like SBIR have created anyway.
 
2004-08-05 06:54:08 PM  
You just don't get it, but feel free to enjoy the technologies programs like SBIR have created anyway.

I just think that you have little faith in the American entrepreneurial abilities. I wonder how we ever made the advances we did before the feds started handing out money.

Anyway, it's time to head out. Enjoyed the discussion. Best of luck to you guys...(I mean that too).
 
2004-08-05 07:03:39 PM  
theigorway -Good point in that article.
It is not in any Pharm companys interest to cure anything. Think about it. A cure is bad for the bottom line.

Yes, Bush DID fark everyone with the medicare change that was touted as being caring and cheaper for the elderly. Horse-arse. They can no longer bargin for a better deal with drug companies. And medicare still cost more than Va costs

If there was a cure for Cancer/AIDS/Altimzers invented today, it would cost such an insane amount of money to purchase if they even let it out that it had been invented.

They lose that customer forever if they "cure" whatever is wrong. Cure AIDS, no more funded reaserch and grants and etc etc, Cure Cancer, in 10 years, oncology is a thing of the past, and so is all the research foundations, grants,university studies, etc etc. All gone.

Me, I might have a tin-foil hat, but I have a hard time beliveing in the 21st farking century, we can't cure cancer or Parkinsons, or really any of the older heavy hitters.

/Renyolds Wrap
 
2004-08-05 07:04:47 PM  
Well, I can't wait until Michael Moore's next documentary on "HMO and Pharmaceutical companies" hits the screens.

/pharaceutical companies obviously run by sociopaths
 
2004-08-05 07:06:37 PM  
DIA

Well, we'll have to agree to disagree. SBIR programs are one of the few areas where I don't think the gov't doesn't have it's head fully up its ass.

By the way, the government spent $1,500,331,393 on SBIR programs in 2002, the government spent a total of about $2,052,000,000,000. So 0.73% of the budget was spent on this kind of research, I don't know how else to define maximum benefit for minimal investment.
 
2004-08-05 07:07:26 PM  
2004-08-05 06:02:30 PM Ekupes

"My meds for epilepsy is Tegretol XR... but despite the brand name, it is a generic. Tegretol is just the brand name for how the carbamazepine gets released into my system. The plus side to this generic is that it costs less than the generic version of the drug without the delivery method... Due to the delivery method of the drug, I only have to take half as many pills each day for the same levels to be maintained in my blood.

Still farking expensive, though. *sigh*"

Ugh. I took that crap for a while, didn't work for me at all. My neurologist gave it to me when it first came out, it was so expensive that I had to get my mother (who is a Registered Nurse) to get free samples from the company for me. Then I found I could get it as CostCo for about 15 bucks. Fuqqing Kaiser Permanente....


There aren't any CostCos nearby, but now due to this and the number of people who have been talking about getting great deals there... fark that, I'll drive 100 miles every month if I have to. Even with the current gas prices, it'd still be cheaper.
 
2004-08-05 07:09:32 PM  
For the record, Abbott Labs has contributed a significant amount of money to Bush.
 
2004-08-05 07:14:26 PM  
Dancin_In_Anson

[Uhhhh...I dunno...maybe

We could sell our ideas or our company to a larger company]


Im with Yellow Number Five on this one, DIA
(BTW, both YN5 and I have experience in the lab as scientists, so we arent talking out of our butt here)
You NEED government funding for new ideas, because a government funded system is the best way to create an evironment necessary for new ideas.

Lets start with an example. Way back in the mists of roman time, this dude called Galen wrote down some of the first practical medicinal texts. But there was no mention of Gene therapy in it. Why not? Galen was certainly as smart as modern geneticists?
The answer is that modern science needs a collective body of knowledge which is free to all. Gene therapists needed the work of watson and crick (who unlocked the base-pair code of DNA) to build from. Watson and crick needed, in turn, the atomic concept of neils Bohr in order to do their thing.

Now suppose Watson and crick worked for Pfiser? and Bohr worked for General electric? Would a gene therapist be able to benefit from their lifes work? In a word, no. Their scientific knowledge and discoveries would have been tightly patented and kept secret in order to avoid giving trade secrets away.
End result? no advances in basic science, because the scientists can't share ideas. In a public forum, funded with taxpayer money, they can. Theres no fear of competition (except between individual scinetists) and so more can get done.

this is why I and many other scientists feel that if a private corporation uses public discoveries to make money, they should be required to give a certain percentage of their proceeds BACK to public science, in order to fund more basic research. A sort of 'peoples patent' as it were.
 
2004-08-05 07:22:42 PM  
2004-08-05 07:06:37 PM Yellow Number Five

[SBIR programs are one of the few areas where I don't think the gov't doesn't have it's head fully up its ass.]

You know what I meant. Stupid double negative.

---------------------------------------------------

halfjack

[this is why I and many other scientists feel that if a private corporation uses public discoveries to make money, they should be required to give a certain percentage of their proceeds BACK to public science, in order to fund more basic research. A sort of 'peoples patent' as it were.]

Damn right.
 
2004-08-05 07:31:21 PM  
Dancin_In_Anson

I call BS. The free market is constantly looking for newer, better, and cheaper ways do do something...always. I don't believe for one second that the product you mentioned would never have beeen conceived and/or developed had it not been for the Feds...not for one second

Well the free market is constantly looking for ways to maximize profit, not value to the consumer. free markets are very rare though, and by definition a patent is the right to act as a monopoly.

you dont like government intervention in anything, but there is nothing wrong with helping small buisness ventures exploit good ideas and make something of value out of them.

Capitalism is a funny thing Dancin it works awesome when all of the costs and benifits can be expressed up front and in terms of value versus price. But when costs and benifits are hidden, it is the responsibility of a just government to regulate things so that companies can see the costs and benifits that are really there.

/In our Democracy it is every citizens personal responsibility to make sure the government runs well, and if it doesn't it is our job to work to make it better.
 
2004-08-05 07:40:10 PM  
/thumb down

>:-(
 
2004-08-05 08:11:14 PM  
CaptainBeefheart


Costello not amused!

Not amused nothing, he`s FURIOUS!!!!!
 
2004-08-05 08:45:36 PM  
I work in one of those federally-funded medical research labs, though we don't research drugs directly. We do basic research on how cells work and we do look at viruses sometimes, which could be used for drug-development purposes. The organism we're looking at now is an interesting one that certainly needs treatments to be developed for it. A paper I skimmed today about the subject says that development costs of $800 million PER DRUG are typical.

I'd be disappointed if the research I helped out with ended up patented by somebody. The federal funding is supposed to pay my salary (which buys computers, cameras, books, other geek gear, food, and a place to live), pay the salaries of others in the lab, buy equipment, buy specimens, and such. And the stuff we do is, while sometimes kept quiet before publication (scientists like to put their name on whatever they can in case someone else gets there first), eventually published in peer-reviewed journals -- and sometimes put up for free, open access in PubMed Central or by the journals themselves.

That means anyone can use our work for whatever they want, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't be pissed off if some asshat slaps a patent on it and gets rich off it.
 
2004-08-05 09:04:11 PM  
Buran

[That means anyone can use our work for whatever they want, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't be pissed off if some asshat slaps a patent on it and gets rich off it.]

There's a big difference between the basic research and finding relevant applications for that research. That's what invention is.

So say your research lays out how a certain virus works, and I use that research to aid in the development of a vaccine. I patent the vaccine, not your research. As a fellow scientist and engineer I really don't see a problem with that.

I also wouldn't have a problem with the patenter being required to give a small percentage of the proceeds to funding more basic research, as halfjack and I briefly discussed.
 
2004-08-05 09:37:04 PM  
bush must be so proud
 
2004-08-05 10:42:03 PM  
YellowFive -- yeah, I see your point there. Alas, I'm pretty sure I've heard of people patenting things that would make the required basic research illegal. THAT is what bothers me. If we kill the ability to do basic research (I heard just this week of someone having to beg patentholders for permission to develop tests for fatal disorders. When lives are at stake, patents need to fark off.

HHH -- we need cost controls with the ridiculous profit margins the drug companies have COMBINED WITH the fact that there are ridiculous numbers of people with no insurance. Europe and Canada have managed to insure everybody. Why can't we do that too? There is no reason why not. And we need to get rid of this "if it's a Canadian drug it must be dangerous" even though it is the SAME DRUG available here for insanely higher costs. Don't say it's necessary when so many other places are doing just fine without that crap.
 
2004-08-06 08:15:09 AM  
the govt SHOULD fund medical research, and should therefore, hold the patents on whatever technologies or drugs is discovered in the public domain.

if these drug co's want to have a monopoly on any specific drug, they should have to fund the research THEMSELVES. but even that should not be a safeguard from govt bringing important drugs into the public domain. remember kids, corporations arent above the law, but the government IS.

the pharmaceutical industry is a perfect example of things that should be regulated. So far every politicians solution to this hugely corrupt system has been to throw more money at it & blindly hope that being even richer makes them somehow develop ethics.
 
2004-08-06 09:43:18 AM  
[the govt SHOULD fund medical research,]

agreed

[and should therefore, hold the patents on whatever technologies or drugs is discovered in the public domain.]

No way, unless the gov't FULLY fund the research, which they do not.

[remember kids, corporations arent above the law, but the government IS.]

No, the gov't isn't above the law either.
 
Displayed 37 of 237 comments


Oldest | « | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | » | Newest | Show all



This thread is archived, and closed to new comments.

Continue Farking
Submit a Link »
On Twitter






In Other Media


  1. Links are submitted by members of the Fark community.

  2. When community members submit a link, they also write a custom headline for the story.

  3. Other Farkers comment on the links. This is the number of comments. Click here to read them.

  4. Click here to submit a link.

Report