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(Reuters)   Big Pharma handed out $44 million in state level bribes last year to fight reductions in drug prices. Your dog wants generics   (today.reuters.com) divider line 100
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4722 clicks; posted to Main » on 06 Apr 2006 at 12:30 PM (9 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2006-04-06 11:07:27 AM  
Of course.

Pharmaceutical corporations operate like any other corporation: they exist to make profits for their shareholders. They don't care about your health or the health of the nation, and certainly not about the billions who could benefit greatly from cheap, lifesaving drugs. If it doesn't profit them, it doesn't happen.

Here's my question: is their right to make a profit more important than our need for medicine? Would we be better off if the government created non-profit entities to replace or compete with these corporations? Could that even happen considering the blatantly pro-business stance of both parties?

Considering almost nothing impacts the nation's economy more than the health if its workforce, this issue falls directly under the Commerce Clause. Congress's hands are not tied. I believe that much like electricity, medicine is a necessity for the wellbeing of our country, and should come under more stringent, and more efficient, regulation than the FDA is providing.
 
2006-04-06 12:24:45 PM  
That was quite eloquent hillbillypharmacist.

Now refill my ache perscrippy jug with some-a that there XXX, Mountain Dewski, yeah that's what I'm talkin 'bout some-a that there Pappy's Corn Squeezins.
 
2006-04-06 12:34:10 PM  
i just have to get this off my chest.

breasts.
 
2006-04-06 12:34:11 PM  
But but but, I thought the Pharmaceuticals only wanted to make everyone's life better?

img112.imageshack.us
 
2006-04-06 12:35:23 PM  
Only $44 million? The states area pretty cheap date, considering the huge sums of money the industry generates.
 
2006-04-06 12:39:40 PM  
...fight proposals that would have reduced prescription drug costs...

Interesting wording there when it should be "big government expansion and takeover of private industry". Since government doesn't set prices, that's why only way they could do it.
 
2006-04-06 12:43:41 PM  
Now "Big Pharma" is raising it's prices again since Medicare will foot the bill.

I dispensed an eye drop that went from $84 on March 11, to $133 on March 29.

60% of Medicare prescription cost are going to the drug companies.
20% Gross profit for pharmacies
20% Administrative.

Broktun
 
2006-04-06 12:45:00 PM  
Big Pharma? Isn't that what Daryn Kagan calls Rush Limbaugh in the dark? What do those farktards have to do with this?
 
2006-04-06 12:48:30 PM  
Aren't some of these drugs at about a 150,000% markup as it is?
 
2006-04-06 12:50:22 PM  
$800,000,000 to develop a new drug.
Most don't make it.
 
2006-04-06 12:54:32 PM  
StarshipPooper

If I may ask, WTF is with the cat in every single thread?
 
2006-04-06 12:56:38 PM  
They are:

home.new.rr.com
 
2006-04-06 12:56:39 PM  
Kanyon: If I may ask, WTF is with the cat in every single thread?

That cat is the new Quizzical Dog.

/Likes quizzical dog better
 
2006-04-06 12:57:57 PM  
Major Thomb: Interesting wording there when it should be "big government expansion and takeover of private industry". Since government doesn't set prices, that's why only way they could do it.

Actually the article is talking about governments protecting the industry through patent protection and restrictions on import.
 
2006-04-06 12:58:50 PM  
snoringtoad

$800,000,000 to develop a new drug.
Most don't make it.


Ding ding ding.

I don't know if people have ever seen the schedule of a drug from initial research to market, but years of testing are often mandated before a drug is allowed to be marketed.
 
2006-04-06 01:00:40 PM  
nice.

just want a need...a nice sandpaper dick in all holes.

the pharmaceutical companies could do more -- but it impacts their profit margins.

"as any drug dealer will tell you, the money is in the comeback! they're still mad about the money they lost on polio!"
-chris rock
 
2006-04-06 01:03:56 PM  
I'm not sure what the answer is but more government is not the answer
 
2006-04-06 01:04:29 PM  
hillbillypharmacist
they exist to make profits for their shareholders

in pfizer's case, they're pfailing quite miserably.

/BRL is the only drug company making me any profits
//i own way too many drug stocks (especially if you count MO and THI)
 
2006-04-06 01:08:11 PM  
Not_Enginerd,
I'm not sure what the answer is but more government is not the answer


How about more cowbell?

fourthandshawn.com
 
2006-04-06 01:09:10 PM  
Right now, the high prices paid by Americans pay for all of the R&D for new drugs. Canada and Europe mooch off these developments and provide the drugs for much less. If the US were smart, it would open the border to people trying to smuggle Canadian drugs. Then, simple economics would set in:
1. Pharm. companies make less profits, as Americans buy drugs for cheaper from Canada
2. Pharm. companies limit supply to Canada, where their pills do not sell for as much
3. Americans continue to buy from Canada
4. Canadians have no drugs
5. Demand is increased, thus prices go up
6. Soon, Canada is also helping pay for R&D
7. Prices come down in US
8. Profit...everyone wins...lower costs for Americans who are paying through the nose right now, but no slow down in the production of new cures...
 
2006-04-06 01:10:08 PM  
I don't think it's so much about making government bigger. It has to do with limiting a corporations ability to externalize their expenditures (sorry big corp speak there). Corporations "save" money by finding a way to make other people pay for their products being made. Why do you think Nike has sweat-shops in Cambodia? Why does every major drug producing company actually manufacture them outside the US? Because it lowers costs, supposedly "helps" poorer communities, and puts $$ in the eyes of the share-holders. The only reason the US pays so much for drugs is because we're all too stupid to see past the ends of our noses. The problem lies in that big corporations care nothing for their customers or those they have to step over to make an extra 3 cents on the dollar. They are LEGALLY mandated organizations, bound to bring profit to their share-holders. If you don't believe me, read up on some law governing corporate practices... it'll scare the fark out of you.
 
2006-04-06 01:10:47 PM  
I don't know if people have ever seen the schedule of a drug from initial research to market, but years of testing are often mandated before a drug is allowed to be marketed.

How much of it was done for free or partially paid for by the US Government. Don't give me that BS argument anymore. Much of the drug research in the US starts in US Universities.

Big Pharma is:

home.new.rr.com
 
2006-04-06 01:13:12 PM  
Hrm. I was under the impression we were talking in-house developmed drugs here. In that case, I retract my previous statement regarding costs.
 
2006-04-06 01:15:53 PM  
How much $$ do the generic companies spend in funding new drug research?

/some will understand my point - others will not...
 
2006-04-06 01:20:53 PM  
inglixthemad
How much of it was done for free or partially paid for by the US Government.

that's a great question, and i'd like to also know how much the u.s. government is at the same time costing the drug companies with all of the red tape and hoops they have to jump through to get anything approved by the fda. not sure if it'd offset or work out in favor of one side by a lot.

europe doesn't have quite as much bureaucracy as the u.s., so they get the cutting-edge drugs way before they come out here, but then you get the vioxx type situations where companies get sued because they "rushed" a drug to market (though, in the specific vioxx case, i think the issue may have been more "coverup" than "rush"). so the whole thing is just bound to piss of at least one group of people.
 
2006-04-06 01:22:40 PM  
Phone_Answering_Monkey: That cat is the new Quizzical Dog.


www3.telus.net

I've been replaced... BY A FARKING CAT?!?!?!
 
2006-04-06 01:23:19 PM  
It's getting harder and harder to defend the drug industry.

I hate to bite the hand that fed me. When I became disabled, medication costs soared to a point that a choice had to be made: rent and power or medication.

Then, my doctors put me on a free medication program sponsored by several drug companies and I applied and got more from Needymeds.com -- a website with a list of all drug companies offering free medication plans. I was able to get high quality medications for free. Basically, it saved me roughly $300 a month and with an income of $800 + a month, it enabled me to live.

Not being a TOTAL idiot, I understood the costs of research, the restrictions of required testing by the FDA and manufacturing, promoting and selling of the new drugs. Then, you toss in the fact that predatory lawyers are advertising on TV for folks to sue every drug company in the nation over every little side effect and you have to add on the legal costs. Not to mention the hundreds of millions paid out in settlements.

However, having considered special drugs, like Viagra and assorted life prolonging AIDS medications that hit the streets with high price tags basically because the drug companies know folks will pay them, makes me realize that drug companies have become profit oriented BIG BUSINESS over the years.

Then you read about certain companies 'donating' assorted huge shipments of drugs to needy nations -- a for a big tax cut -- only to discover that the drugs were, in the US, expired. Normally, the companies would have had to destroy them and eat the loss.

Then you look at OTC medications where companies can charge more for a version of a medication by simply relabeling it to target a certain symptom, thanks to an FDA loophole.

(Excedrine extra Strength: $10.00. Excedrine Migraine: $12.00 Contents: Exact same. Difference: None.)

Not to mention the fact that the drug companies sell to other nations far cheaper than their own country, so folks often buying pills from foreign pharmacies are actually getting drugs made in the US!

However, the new Medicare Part D program has pretty well wiped out the free medication programs. Once you sign up for part D, (Basically, required) you loose qualification for most of the programs. (Don't forget the built in insurance scam going on with this little gem. Like, if you didn't sign up by a certain date, your premium went up monthly until you signed. HOWEVER you couldn't sign up for about 6 months after the date, which guaranteed you a high premium -- that will NEVER go down.)

Unfortunately, often when you have a product that people need, greed takes over and the company directors don't care about anything but the profit margin and the bottom line. (Neither do investors in company stock -- who will drop the stuff if it looses a fraction of a dividend point.)

We need to stop professional lobbyists and riders being tagged onto unrelated bills.
 
2006-04-06 01:23:57 PM  
A great deal of new drugs are funded by the NIH. In fact, most chemotherapy drugs are fully subsidized.

R&D accounts for less than 15% of the large corporation's costs. Advertising runs double that.

R&D is a red herring.
 
2006-04-06 01:26:42 PM  
Tait123
Sadly, the vast majority won't.

As one who works at a "Big Pharma" company (no, I won't tell you which), I see how much even small changes costs. How much each modification is tested, how many testers, procedures, and documentations must be maintained. It's expensive. Very farking expensive.

When gov't subsidies result in price caps that impact company profits, money otherwise spent on R&D for new cures instead gets shifted into current profit-maker maintenance.

hillbillypharmacist: Here's my question: is their right to make a profit more important than our need for medicine?

Here's my response: If that profit leads to new medicines, better medicines, medicines that can save more and a wider array of people, should you stifle that growth through your shortsigthedness?
 
2006-04-06 01:26:58 PM  
beer4breakfast: How about more cowbell?

Dad always said the only perscription was more cowbell; guess that's why six of us died of bacterial meningitis.
 
2006-04-06 01:28:55 PM  
Tawnos: If that profit leads to new medicines, better medicines, medicines that can save more and a wider array of people, should you stifle that growth through your shortsigthedness?

If profit were the only way to get to new medicine, you'd have a point. It's not. That'd be your own shortsightedness, there.
 
2006-04-06 01:29:02 PM  

R&D accounts for less than 15% of the large corporation's costs. Advertising runs double that.


Christ. I'm usually the first to defend innovation (and subsequently, the companies that innovate) but 15%? And twice that on advertising? That leaves a 55% money hole somewhere. /:|
 
2006-04-06 01:30:36 PM  
"Big Pharm" is not making money off of curing you. They're making money off of selling you crap. If they can convince you that it makes you feel better than you do right now, they can convince you to buy more of it.

Most modern "afflictions" that see the most profit for pharmaceutical companies are things that until recently were not even seen as medical conditions. They were just normal life for people, until a profit motive was found for "curing" it.

Hyperactive kids and Ritalin. Old-people sex and Viagra. Shyness and Zoloft. It's a way of turning normal human life into a series of "conditions" which medication can "cure you" of, so they can continue to make gigantic profits. After all, that's what they exist to do - make profits. Not make you happier, healthier, or a better citizen.

One pill makes you larger
And one pill makes you small
And the ones that mother gives you
Don't do anything at all
Go ask Alice
When she's ten feet tall...
 
2006-04-06 01:31:54 PM  
hillbillypharmacist: Pharmaceutical corporations operate like any other corporation: they exist to make profits for their shareholders. They don't care about your health or the health of the nation, and certainly not about the billions who could benefit greatly from cheap, lifesaving drugs. If it doesn't profit them, it doesn't happen.

Here's my question: is their right to make a profit more important than our need for medicine? Would we be better off if the government created non-profit entities to replace or compete with these corporations? Could that even happen considering the blatantly pro-business stance of both parties?

Considering almost nothing impacts the nation's economy more than the health if its workforce, this issue falls directly under the Commerce Clause. Congress's hands are not tied. I believe that much like electricity, medicine is a necessity for the wellbeing of our country, and should come under more stringent, and more efficient, regulation than the FDA is providing.



Nice socialism there, and typically short-sighted, like most of you fuzzy-wuzzy "profit is bad, mmkay?" types.

Somebody want to tell me what, exactly, is wrong with a profit motive?

Drug company develops a compound they think will be a drug. They patent it. That starts a 17-year clock ticking. They have an average of 10-12 years worth of testing and FDA bullshiat which needs to be done before they can actually put it on the market.

And then, once they do, they have maybe 5 years to exploit the drug commercially to try and recoup their R&D and testing expenses.

And then, on top of that, somebody can make some bogus study up that shows there's a possible bad side effect of the drug and the drug company's liability is completely unlimited... Vioxx anyone? Phen-Fen? Billions of dollars out the door to the frigging lawyers -- so their 5 years of profit, possibly, might be completely gone.

Meanwhile, as soon as the drug comes off-patent, the generics come along and say "Thank you very much," read the patent, and start making the drug themselves -- without having to do ANY R&D, no approvals, no nothing -- they just grab the formula off the shelf and run with it.

Let me ask you this -- if there's no profits allowed, then HOW WILL THEY FUND NEW DRUGS?

Let's think VERY carefully about this -- if the government makes non-profits, then those non-profits won't be paying any taxes.... and Merck, alone, paid $766MM in CORPORATE INCOME taxes in 2005, according to their 10K. That doesn't count income taxes on money paid out to shareholders (Merck paid $840MM in dividends... all of which is taxable income to shareholders, so that gets taxed too... figure 20% of it going back to the Feds...) OR income taxes paid by its employees, OR income taxes paid by its vendors...

So, Merck, alone, brings about $1.5 Billion in taxes paid in -- while making its greedy profits. You think the GOVERNMENT can more efficiently bring all of Merck's drugs to market for a mere $1.5 Billion? Not a chance... and compete with ALL of the drug manufacturers out there? NOT EVEN CLOSE.

Get your head out of your socialist arse and look around... on top of all the rest of it, who's going to want to go get a PHD in Biochemistry and work their ass off for the government developing drugs for maybe $50K a year, when they can work for a drug company and make real money? Where will the best and brightest minds go to work, then?

Don't you want corporations to make profits, so they'll pay their fat honking 37.5% to the governement???

And then what happens if the government screws up making drugs? We know what happens when drug companies do -- they get sued massively. Not a great solution, but who's going to hold the government accountable for putting crap drugs out on the market? Nobody.

Want cheaper drugs? Easy - make it easier for the drug companies to develop them and bring them to market. Make the testing process 5 years instead of 10, give them 25-year patents instead of 17, and limit tort liability to ACTUAL injuries (instead of being able to recover for the "threat" of injury like they can now -- you get something for the "fear" that you might DEVELOP a side effect from a drug even if you don't actually HAVE the side effects.... ugh).

So next time, before you go spouting your high-and-mighty crap about why can't the government do something about those nasty profits, why don't you do a little thinking first?
 
2006-04-06 01:35:31 PM  
Whoa! I hope you have adequate insurance, you seem to have blown an assgasket, Assgasket.
 
2006-04-06 01:36:46 PM  
How much money do the generic companies spend bribing Congress and the state governments? I'm sure it's not trivial either.

Face it, all industries do this. It's the American Way, apparently.
 
2006-04-06 01:37:44 PM  
hillbillypharmacist

Pharmaceutical corporations operate like any other corporation: they exist to make profits for their shareholders. They don't care about your health or the health of the nation, and certainly not about the billions who could benefit greatly from cheap, lifesaving drugs. If it doesn't profit them, it doesn't happen.



Funny you should contradict yourself in your opening paragraph. Any Pharma company that produced products that didn't positively affect the health of their consumers wouldn't have a very good bottom line.

Oh, and if you really are a pharmacist, you know that the FDA regulations on generics state that they only have to be within a certain % of efficacy of the original name brand drug.

I don't think I'd really want someone I loved on an important medication (like a blood pressure medicine, or cancer drug) that is guaranteed to be at least 90% as effective as the name brand. That's fine for your allergies, but you don't really see that many generic birth control pills, do you?
 
2006-04-06 01:38:54 PM  
Assgasket

I wish to subscribe to your newsletter
 
2006-04-06 01:40:51 PM  
rocinante721

I wish to subscribe to your newsletter

That's good humor.
 
2006-04-06 01:40:51 PM  
Assgasket: Vioxx anyone? Phen-Fen?

You just listed the two most recent medications that justify medical product liability law. Both cause very specific, noted and potentially-lethal side-effects to the people who took the product regularly under the belief that it would help them. I worked Phen-Fen, and many people have permanent heart damage from taking that drug. They had to have invasive heart surgery to replace a major cardiac valve which the drug had permanently and irreparably damaged. They couldn't EVER run again in their lives without passing out, because the damaged valve or the imperfect replacement causes backflow in the circulatory system that makes it difficult to get oxygen to the limb-muscles for physical need while still supplying the brain.

Are you saying the companies should be allowed to get away with that scot-free? Literally killing people? Because punishing them for that would harm their profits?

I'm amazed at the fact that you can say that without a trace of irony.
 
2006-04-06 01:41:16 PM  
Yea, and assgasket was touched by the Invisible Hand, and did speak in tongues. HALLELUJAH!

/Have you been slain in the spirit yet, my brother?
 
2006-04-06 01:41:42 PM  
Osceola

90% effectiveness in birth control would make things all the more exciting. Sex Roulette!
 
2006-04-06 01:41:47 PM  
rocinante721: Assgasket

I wish to subscribe to your newsletter



That'll be $49.00 a month, unlimited access. :D


/has his own profit motive.
 
2006-04-06 01:43:25 PM  
Fluid

Feel free to spin away; I think I'll pass on that game. One is all I can handle for the time being.

Just make sure the taxpayers don't wind up paying for your mistake.
 
2006-04-06 01:43:39 PM  
Drakkenmaw: Assgasket: Vioxx anyone? Phen-Fen?

You just listed the two most recent medications that justify medical product liability law. Both cause very specific, noted and potentially-lethal side-effects to the people who took the product regularly under the belief that it would help them. I worked Phen-Fen, and many people have permanent heart damage from taking that drug. They had to have invasive heart surgery to replace a major cardiac valve which the drug had permanently and irreparably damaged. They couldn't EVER run again in their lives without passing out, because the damaged valve or the imperfect replacement causes backflow in the circulatory system that makes it difficult to get oxygen to the limb-muscles for physical need while still supplying the brain.

Are you saying the companies should be allowed to get away with that scot-free? Literally killing people? Because punishing them for that would harm their profits?

I'm amazed at the fact that you can say that without a trace of irony.


Did you read what I said? Obviously not. I said limit liability to ACTUAL injury. That would, in fact, compensate people for those injuries.

That's a far cry from scot-free.
 
2006-04-06 01:44:16 PM  
Drakkenmaw I worked Phen-Fen, and many people have permanent heart damage from taking that drug.

Obese patients developing heart problems?

That's rediculous !!!

You probably also one of those people who think smokers may develop lung and upper respiratory problems!
 
2006-04-06 01:46:15 PM  
Assgasket: Want cheaper drugs? Easy - make it easier for the drug companies to develop them and bring them to market. Make the testing process 5 years instead of 10, give them 25-year patents instead of 17, and limit tort liability to ACTUAL injuries (instead of being able to recover for the "threat" of injury like they can now -- you get something for the "fear" that you might DEVELOP a side effect from a drug even if you don't actually HAVE the side effects.... ugh).

I agree with you on the stuff about the lawsuits, suing for threat and fear of injury is utter bull. That said, I do not trust pharmacuetical companies to cut testing times in the interest of lowing prices, particularly when these companies will be making more money off cutting test periods.

Profit is a great motivator for innovation, and it cannot be ignored as such. That's one of the reasons why a communist system has a tendancy to stagnate. Excessive profit, however, is just absurd. There should be a balance of public good (new medicines available to treat illness at a reasonable cost) and corporate good (profit for the companies developing said medicines). In an ideal world, where maximising profit was not the goal, this would be possible without intervention. In our world there is a need for intervention, the free market might work if it were actually free, or otherwise the government would have to get involved.
 
2006-04-06 01:48:43 PM  
Bobatt: Profit is a great motivator for innovation, and it cannot be ignored as such. That's one of the reasons why a communist system has a tendancy to stagnate. Excessive profit, however, is just absurd. There should be a balance of public good (new medicines available to treat illness at a reasonable cost) and corporate good (profit for the companies developing said medicines). In an ideal world, where maximising profit was not the goal, this would be possible without intervention. In our world there is a need for intervention, the free market might work if it were actually free, or otherwise the government would have to get involved.


The problem is, we aren't in an ideal world. And the ONLY system which has been reliably shown to maximize that "balance" is unfettered free-market economy.

Now, don't think for a second that we have an unfettered free-market system for drugs. We don't -- because there's no downward cost pressure in a third-party payer system.

But that's a horse of a different color.
 
2006-04-06 01:49:39 PM  
Bobatt
In our world there is a need for intervention, the free market might work if it were actually free, or otherwise the government would have to get involved.

Behold! The miracles of an oligopoly!
 
2006-04-06 01:53:38 PM  
Drakkenmaw

I know people who work at Wyeth on the project (good, moral basic scientists) & the Phen-Fen suits were by & large a sham.

Class action, money grubbing shakedown.

Fat people get heart problems. PERIOD!.

The 'Phen' is phen-fen is an amphetamine, well known as a heart stimulant, which can ascerbate damage in fat people already predisposed.

An informed patient would have known this, as it is their duty to do so.

The benefits have to be weighted with the risk, as they do with EVERY DAMN DRUG on the market

I do not know your involvment, but if you were a lawyer working this case, kill youself now. I mean it.

You are a parasite to society.
 
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