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(ABC)   Pharmaceutical companies have slowed or halted production of children's leukemia drug due to high demand. Wait, what?   (abcnews.go.com) divider line 354
    More: Sick, preservatives, American Society of Clinical Oncology, Adyar Cancer Institute, disease-free, National Cancer Institute  
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26321 clicks; posted to Main » on 12 Feb 2012 at 6:40 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-02-13 01:58:08 AM

Konowalchuk22: derp...I editted out my question of: what do you do? what angle are you perceiving this industry from?


All over the board. 20+ years as a tech, been buyer, staff and management, automation spec. But now I'm an intern and PharmD candidate. Do you have good IT skills? That is a burgeoning field in pharmacy.
 
2012-02-13 02:01:11 AM

ansius: Methotrexate used to be used a lot in breast cancer and other solid tumours, but has been phased out as it was replaced by better methylating agents.

However, once paediatric oncologists realised they couldn't use irradiation as a prophylactic treatment for leukaemia (it damaged the brain tissues too much), they needed a replacement for the nervous system and intrathecal methotrexate has seen an increase in use.

So, there's been a large drop in demand followed by a resurgence in demand. No wonder the supply is lagging.


Thanks for the background on this. I know we use a shiatload of MTX, intrathecal and otherwise, and we are solely a ped operation.
 
2012-02-13 02:01:37 AM
oops, and of course methotrexate is an anti-metabolite, not a methylating agent.
 
2012-02-13 02:02:15 AM

ArkAngel: Revenue does not equal profit. They still have to pay taxes, salaries, distribution, marketing and lobbyists, etc...


F
 
2012-02-13 02:15:35 AM

balancing act: Konowalchuk22: derp...I editted out my question of: what do you do? what angle are you perceiving this industry from?

All over the board. 20+ years as a tech, been buyer, staff and management, automation spec. But now I'm an intern and PharmD candidate. Do you have good IT skills? That is a burgeoning field in pharmacy.


Okay.....so I guess you're largely hip to the secondary industry then.....Sadly, I has no IT skills. I have a degree in history though.....my resume is a clusterfark of super niche or otherwise totally useless shiat.

BTW: Big Pharma and the GPOs have decided in the last few years that the secondaries are now a nuisance, and are about to probably completely grind them under their heel. It might take a few years, but those calls should slow down. I'm not really sure in the big picture if that's a good thing or a bad thing, but it's definitely a thing. Amerisource just cut off all wholesaler accounts.
 
2012-02-13 02:24:34 AM
Now that the servers are back...

ArkAngel: altrocks seems to be absolving the government for any blame in shortages. And they do deserve some of it


I'm not saying that government regulation doesn't factor into it at all, but we're not talking about the DEA trying to control an abused substance in this instance, and as your other quoted conversation there says (and I agree with), regulation of the medical/pharmaceutical fields are pretty damned important. I don't see a whole lot of undue regulation on pharma corps given that dozens of drugs get pushed through with shady/minimal testing every year for the last 2 decades. Some of which cause major problems like death (which happens to be irreversible). So, this isn't a case where regulation is working just fine and dandy, so why not reduce it a little. It's BARELY working. There's no real pressure on the companies to prove efficacy of a drug over a placebo by much of a margin, and those numbers are easily goofed and overlooked because the majority of drug trials are run by and paid for by the very companies that stand to profit from their sale. Any regulation pressures they face that truly effect the bottom line of the company are coming from things like safety regulations and inspections of the facilities and machinery to make sure they're actually measuring the right amount of chemicals X and Y when they put it into the pill you're going to be swallowing.

So, maybe I am absolving the government from much of the blame here, but I don't think it's unwarranted at all. The government manages to screw up a lot of things, but this isn't really one of them. Not in the way you're claiming it is.


ArkAngel: Right, DEA... I'm an idiot.

I'm saying the regulation is part of the reason they don't make it anymore - it increases costs. Why would a company set up a production line (which would take months at the bare minimum, and possibly a few years) if they wouldn't be able to charge enough to cover their costs and make a reasonable profit? Again, remember that their production capability is limited by the FDA, DEA, and their own cash flow. If the original manufacturer had to start making it again, it would either mean they have to construct a new facility (consuming limited resources) or retool a line (and stop making a different drug).

Something else to consider: they use the profits from current drugs to research other drugs. Take away their profits and how are they going to fund their scientists and doctors looking for the next treatment/cure?



DEA, FDA, CIA, alphabet soup can trip up everyone from time to time. Was just clarifying.

And in this instance, it's hard not to solely blame the companies because they are actively scaling back production. I understand that there's a profit motive for these companies and making unprofitable drugs isn't in their interest. I'm not okay with that in the least, either. If baby formula becomes unprofitable and it stops being made, then infants can and will die. These drugs stop being made and sick children can and will die. Profit never supersedes life in medical decisions, nor should it. But that IS what they're doing. They're actually disassembling the lines used to make this drug and putting those resources towards something else that is more profitable. It's not about spending more resources to increase production in this instance, it's about maintaining the current levels of production to meet the need for it.

As for money... I don't WANT to get into this, but let's look at how much money is being taken away from R&D by the people running the companies, shall we?

Former Merck (MRK) CEO Dick Clark's compensation rose 55 percent to $25 million in 2010, a year in which the company's stock stagnated and its profits sank...

Pfizer Inc. said it set the annual base salary and target bonus of Chief Executive Officer Ian Read at $4.29 million, with additional payments in stock, options and long-term incentive awards to be disclosed in March. ... Pfizer's former CEO, Jeffrey Kindler, will receive about $9.6 million in severance, bonus and short-term incentive pay for 2010.

And the only one to actually do it right.... GlaxoSmithKline CEO Andrew Witty recorded a 24-percent reduction in total compensation to 2.3 million pounds ($3.75 million) last year, after the company missed its profit targets. According to the company's annual report, Witty received an unchanged base salary of 1 million pounds ($1.6 million) while the executive's bonus was reduced by 41 percent to 1.2 million pounds ($2 million), compared to the year prior.

So, I'm pretty sure that most of the savings and profits aren't being redirected to R&D in vast amounts here. Those are just the CEO's. You also have a large amount of money being paid to the other top-level executives, plus whatever percentage of profit is paid out to shareholders (including the executives who usually receive quite a lot of shares as part of their bonuses or regular compensation). and to back it up...

Few R&D stories have captured the attention of the biopharma world like Pfizer's ($PFE) controversial decision to take an axe to its pipeline budget--a decision that was widely applauded on Wall Street. ... And Read earns some kudos from some longtime industry observers for the new math that will subtract billions from Pfizer's drug development budget. - BILLIONS! Not from regulation or unprofitable drugs, but from measure to increase profits.

Merck chief defends $8B R&D budget as vital long-term investment - One of the companies getting it right, in this regard.

2010 R&D Budget: $6.09 billion (after restructuring) (€4.45B). 2009 R&D Budget: $5.61 billion (€4.10B). Change: Up 8 percent - Also one of the companies getting it very right!

So, as you can see, R&D budgets are increasingly huge for the companies that are doing it right. Meanwhile, the company looking at breaking itself up to sell in different pieces is slashing the R&D budget to increase profitability, not because they're suffering from such horrible under-performing drug sales. And the CEO of Merck actually had to DEFEND the decision to put major money into R&D because that hasn't been the standard operating procedure. They usually use cheap methods of mass production in their research and then figure out a way to sell whatever crap they come up with. (Basically, just synthesizing isomers of known medicinal compounds that look promising from "folding" computer models, similar to the cancer-cure screensaver a lot of people run with their PC idle time). This guy wants to actually spend money on R&D and has to DEFEND that decision.

So, yeah... got on a bit of a rant here, but these companies are not hurting. Not by a long shot. Their version of hurting is taking a pay cut and "only" getting $2.5 million a year, plus major benefits and options along with their golden parachutes. Doctors don't look at the profitability of treating a disease before they decide to help a patient. It's immoral to do so. These companies have decided to exist within the medical field and community and should adhere to the same general rules of ethics and morality that's expected of everyone else. It shouldn't take an executive order from the President to make them produce a drug that's vital to treating one of the most horrible diseases on the planet.

As an aside, it's this kind of thing that convinces the tin-foil-hat crowd that cures are out there for most major diseases, but are being withheld in order to drive up sales and profits from drugs that only treat the symptoms of the diseases. It's not that there's any real proof that it's going on, but it's something that these companies would actually do just to keep making more money at the cost of human suffering. It's no different from car and oil companies blocking electric car development for almost 30 years or how the media companies want to shut down everything digital so they can keep selling dirt cheap CD's and DVD's at tremendous markups. We know they have no moral guidance and we don't trust them because of it. Yet, in the case of drug companies, we have to trust them with our very lives. It's a big damn clusterfark.
 
2012-02-13 02:28:13 AM
Maybe you should think about buying. You would probably have to tech for 2 or 3 years first, but if you are good with supply chain and regulations you would be a potentially good fit.
 
2012-02-13 02:31:57 AM
ALTROCKS, nicely said.
 
2012-02-13 02:39:04 AM

piperTom: panfried: Little to no profit margin, which it seems is the only corporate incentive.

It's the only corporate incentive that won't bring swarms of lawyers with stockholder law suits. The company is there to make a profit. That is what it is for.

Sickening that they put profit over the value of life itself.

Sickening? How are they different from you? If you had donated to a charity that funded sick children getting this kind of medication, you would have told us. So, you are condemning them for NOT DOING the same thing that you DID NOT DO.

Yeah, I didn't do, either, but I'm not condemning.


I admit to not donating to childhood cancer cures. However for the passed decade, I have been assisting my own parent in her battle against first, breast cancer, then lung cancer. My assistance did not work out well as she recently passed with my brother and my self, providing hospice care and by her side. I am now trying to execute her estate. She spent all she had battling breast cancer, I had not even considered the 60,000 I provided before her passing or the 30,000 since, to cover her treatment and subsequent related debts until I was named per rep. Not only have I lost a parent, I have pretty much devastated my own retirement hopes in the process (cashing out my 401K). Moral of the story is, I am sickened by this report of a lack of available medication proven to cure childhood cancer because treatment is more profitable than cure or the medication is simply unprofitable. Sad really.
 
2012-02-13 02:52:15 AM

balancing act: Maybe you should think about buying. You would probably have to tech for 2 or 3 years first, but if you are good with supply chain and regulations you would be a potentially good fit.


I like that idea......step one is teching. More studying for me (classes? I don't need no steenking classes!) thanks for the idea & encouragement.
 
2012-02-13 03:00:59 AM
And the invisible hand shall smite you.
 
2012-02-13 03:06:38 AM
my lip balm addiction: Humans are not sacred

Try looking in the mirror and saying that.

Human.

AKA you just got encrypted-tbn0.google.comfrom a cat.
 
2012-02-13 03:12:22 AM

Konowalchuk22: balancing act: Maybe you should think about buying. You would probably have to tech for 2 or 3 years first, but if you are good with supply chain and regulations you would be a potentially good fit.

I like that idea......step one is teching. More studying for me (classes? I don't need no steenking classes!) thanks for the idea & encouragement.


Good luck! Welcome to the Light side. I don't think cookies are in the budget,tho.
 
2012-02-13 03:24:55 AM
Well, off I go finally to another fun session of Viagra/Cialis spam killing in the Finnish indie movie forum I volunteered to do cleanup for...
 
2012-02-13 03:26:19 AM
FYI: I lightened my side as much as possible. IN sales, we worked to undercut the more unscrupulous competition. I tried to make a name for myself by being as cheap as I reasonably could be, and reliable. As warehouse manager and compiance officer, I took those responsibilities damn seriously. I understood those drugs could be going into my sister. Storage and handling was above board and beyond reproach. I can't speak for the industry at large on that point, but I did my best. I never saw anything counterfeit/mislabeled (though my suspicions were raised a few times, after working with manufacturers to make sure, nothing ever turned out to actually be sketchy). And with respect to shipping procedures.....everyone is a farking idiot. Half of the other secondaries, ALL of the primaries, and the manufacturers themselves are 50/50.
 
2012-02-13 03:29:25 AM

ansius: So, there's been a large drop in demand followed by a resurgence in demand. No wonder the supply is lagging.


Nuh uh. It's an evil conspiracy, and we should nationalize everything.
 
2012-02-13 04:10:33 AM
Limited manufacturing, lagging production time and lack of profits from these drugs contribute to the shortages. The production costs for some drugs can outweigh the money that companies can make from them, since many drugs now have cheaper generic alternatives. So manufacturers stop making the drugs.

Obvious, so why haven't the generic manufacturers picked up the slack? OTC generics have no problem picking up any slack in the brand name products. (Equate for Excedrin.)

I think we may be reaching the stage where, for the safety of the public, the government should have the powers to manufacture needed drugs when these companies start screwing up. There are lots of diseases out there which are curable, but they're rare and it's not worth the drug companies time and expense to manufacture the medication.

There are also no independent or government backed drug companies which can step up and make these drugs -- mainly because they're hamstrung by patents and hosts of lawyers. Several unused cures have been discovered, but the diseases are so rare that the owning pharmaceutical company finds it not cost effective to produce them -- or, if it does, the cost to the patient would be hideous.

Capitalism is a great thing. Folks can die because it's not profitable to cure them.
 
2012-02-13 04:42:52 AM

ArkAngel: panfried: Little to no profit margin, which it seems is the only corporate incentive.

So you would be for forcing a company to make a product despite the fact that they would always lose money on it because someone else can make it cheaper?


Like roads and other infrastructure, it's not about profit/loss, it's a sunk cost of enabling society to function. Note the difference between the developed world and those where electricity and sanitation are unpredictable.

Until we see that P/L is not the primary driver for EVERYTHING and that some things just need to get done, we will still see cartels and collusion stifle progress. Healthcare should be a shared expense just as roads and power and sanitation are. We don't need billions of consumer dollars paying for boner pill ads in the media.

We didn't have this exorbitant pharmacology cost problem until we allowed ads for prescription drugs. If you can't market alcohol to minors (who can't legally directly purchase it) then why can ads be targeted to people who can't legally directly buy them OTC?
 
2012-02-13 05:03:04 AM
What a terribly badly written article:

"Only the preservative-free methotrexate can be injected into the spinal fluid of cancer patients to prevent the spread and recurrence of the disease.

"There are couple other drugs that can be injected into the spinal fluid"

So there is an alternative or there isn't?


To compensate, some physicians have had to split vials among patients or use comparable medications.

So there is an alternative?


Some hospitals may not be experiencing a shortage at all

So there's no problem?


The production costs for some drugs can outweigh the money that companies can make from them

So let them charge a sensible market rate for them then, rather than expecting businesses to produce things at a loss.

The production costs for some drugs can outweigh the money that companies can make from them, since many drugs now have cheaper generic alternatives. So manufacturers stop making the drugs.

So either the drug has got a cheaper generic alternative (in which case no problem) or this statement is irrelevant. Or is the suggestion that pharm companies aren't producing the branded product because nobody will buy it because there are cheaper generics available, but that nobody is producing the cheaper generics because they can't make any money out of them? In which case, FIND A SENSIBLE PRICE that hospitals can pay without pharm companies losing money.

I'm so confused......there's a demand for the product but nobody is making it?
 
2012-02-13 06:24:04 AM
Why not eliminate some of the many lawsuits that contribute to high costs in all facets of healthcare by introducing stricter tort reform to drive down the potential losses to manufacturers and thus make cheaper generics more profitable to manufacture?

YES there will be inevitable corporate shenanigans which from time-to-time which will make this measure look like corporate welfare and corruption, BUT it would mean significant cost reductions and a larger, cheaper supply of drugs for patients.

BESIDES, who benefits from lawsuits most of the time? LAWYERS!

Hypothesis: Higher Regulation = High Cost
Lower Regulation = Low Cost
 
2012-02-13 06:34:58 AM
This is the natural progression of sector which are set to do as they please.

Lack of mandates, regulations, controls, and pricing policies lead to monopolistic behavior not free markets.
 
2012-02-13 07:02:25 AM

Tommy Moo:
You know how I know you didn't go to school for chemistry?

Get on SciFinder Scholar and look up commercial sources for cyclohexanone. I'll wait. There are two or three of them: Aldrich, Acros, and probably Alfa Aesar. If one of those companies' production lines goes down due to a bad batch, the supply of cyclohexanone is temporarily cut by approximately 33%. EVERY drug company has to buy from these manufacturers. Your comment is akin to saying that it's not possible for all construction companies to put projects on hold just because OTIS elevators went out of business. Have you ever seen an elevator in your life that wasn't OTIS brand?


Actually, there are a bit more than that.

Based on my 11+ years in pharmaceutical R&D, I guaran-damn-tee you that the pharmaceutical companies are not buying their raw materials retail out of those catalogs. They are sourcing them from companies most chemists have never heard of, most likely in China or Korea. Believe me, they are doing everything they can to get their cost of goods as low as possible.
 
2012-02-13 07:25:35 AM
4.bp.blogspot.com
 
2012-02-13 07:25:53 AM

Nem Wan: IIRC patent and copyright protection in the U.S. were both originally 20 years. Copyright terms have been extended to the point of absurdity, even though the investment and time required to create a work of fiction (for example) can be practically nothing compared to the R&D needed for drugs. Yet the term of patents is still 20 years.

In some markets 20 years is an eternity. For example, Apple has a patent on the nifty magnetic power connectors on Mac laptops that effectively keep third-party aftermarket AC adapters off the market. By the time the 20 years is up on that one, the technology will probably be worthless, but in the meantime Apple will have fully exploited the market potential of their invention and moved on. A drug, on the other hand, may always be needed but not necessarily always profitable.


I don't think you understand how patents work.

First, the Apple patent for the magnetic power adapter has a design-around feature in the claim. This is a feature within the claim required for infringement but ridiculously easy for competitors to design around. The apple patent requires the computing device to monitor its battery power level, and for the magnet of the power adapter to to deenergize upon detecting the battery has fully recharged.

Second, since the Apple patent, dozens of patents applications have been filed regarding improvements to magnetically tensioned power plugs. Furthermore, Apple wasn't even the first one to do it, as the concept of tensioning power cords with magnets has been around for awhile when they filed.
 
2012-02-13 07:44:00 AM
Lots of hate for subby and accusations of reading comprehension or DNRTFA but, unless I am in the same boat, I do see where they said production has been stopped -

"All five pharmaceutical companies that make the injection drug methotrexate, which treats acute lymphoblastic leukemia by slowing the growth of cancer cells, have either slowed and stopped manufacturing of the drug, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The companies have cited high demand or manufacturing delays as reasons for the shortage."

What am I missing and why the hate?
 
2012-02-13 07:55:58 AM

I Am The Bishop Of East Anglia: Tommy Moo:
You know how I know you didn't go to school for chemistry?

Get on SciFinder Scholar and look up commercial sources for cyclohexanone. I'll wait. There are two or three of them: Aldrich, Acros, and probably Alfa Aesar. If one of those companies' production lines goes down due to a bad batch, the supply of cyclohexanone is temporarily cut by approximately 33%. EVERY drug company has to buy from these manufacturers. Your comment is akin to saying that it's not possible for all construction companies to put projects on hold just because OTIS elevators went out of business. Have you ever seen an elevator in your life that wasn't OTIS brand?

Actually, there are a bit more than that.

Based on my 11+ years in pharmaceutical R&D, I guaran-damn-tee you that the pharmaceutical companies are not buying their raw materials retail out of those catalogs. They are sourcing them from companies most chemists have never heard of, most likely in China or Korea. Believe me, they are doing everything they can to get their cost of goods as low as possible.


Wow! That's a whole lot of X! Who knew?

Wanna break bad?
 
2012-02-13 08:03:10 AM

Fish in a Barrel: So we have a RTFA:DNRTFA ratio of about 1:20 in this thread. But why bother reading when you could spend your time excoriating an big industry and ranting about capitalism, eh?

/subby is apparently in the DNRTFA column.


You yapper on like a biatch in heat, but in truth, you defend those who chose dollars over the lives of children. I'm sorry if you are offended, truly sorry, seriously not at all, actually. You go on and defend the defenseless, it's all about principle after all, right?

Be sure to reply when you have a four-year-old boy with leukemia, a great kid who's always happy, loving, kind, smart, smiling, a kid who pats you on the back and says, "it will be ok, Dad," when you get angry, a kid who constantly hugs his younger sister and tries to make her feel happy, a child who wants nothing more than to play hockey and give mom and dad hugs for the rest of his life.

It would be impossible for me to care less about anyone's opinion who defends drug makers and capitalism, literally, impossible. Let me decide between putting a dollar in my pocket or saving the life of a random child... I would be broke every day of the week... and happy for it.
 
2012-02-13 08:26:18 AM
I can't understand those that say, "how can you put a price on human life?" with respect to the companies, yet get angry when prices are raised or companies stop production due to losses.

If you're getting angry when prices are raised or a company stops because it's unprofitable, YOU are putting a price on human life. And that price is below what the company wants/needs to produce the treatment. So...stop putting a price on human life...I guess.

Technically the companies have it in the bag, they could put the price at a million dollars and when someone complains they could say, "well, are you saying this person is not worth a million dollars?"

I'd say they're not so much putting a price on human life, but putting a price on the pill they sell. Because if they charged the value of each life they save, either they would sell few pills, or own many slaves and lowering the price puts a lower worth on each of those lives.
 
2012-02-13 08:36:16 AM
i know i got here late, but did anyone point out that this situation indicates that private enterprise can't be trusted with this sort of responsibility? I propose a government agency that produces out-of-patent drugs and sells them at a fixed markup (to fund new research) but which operates without regard for profit. It's probably not the best solution, but everything has to start somewhere. all I know for sure is that industry cannot be trusted to give a shiat about the lives of children.
 
2012-02-13 09:05:19 AM

Loren: In other words, make them slaves


Are time warner and comcast slaves because they carry public access channels?
 
2012-02-13 09:18:50 AM
Nationalize them. And while we're at it, make them stop advertizing boner pills during family TV time.
 
2012-02-13 09:30:22 AM

CapnBlues: I propose a government agency that produces out-of-patent drugs and sells them at a fixed markup (to fund new research) but which operates without regard for profit.


It doesn't have to be government. A 501(c)(3) could do it and enjoy the tax benefits besides. In fact, the pharma industry could form this association, offload the less profitable meds to it, and be immune from liability in case there is a problem.
 
2012-02-13 09:50:15 AM
Now, how the hell do we make private companies make more drugs that we need? Nationalization is discussed, but what would it take to get the companies to do it themselves... I'll be goddamned if I can figure it out.

//

How about tax breaks for curative drugs and no tax breaks for others.
 
2012-02-13 10:16:22 AM

dericwater: How come the pharmas can't run this business model? Are there constantly new R&D for this particular drug?


Because MOST DRUGS NEVER MAKE IT TO MARKET. The drugs that do have to fund all of the money spent that never creates a profitable drug.

And also pay for exorbitant advertising budgets, CEO salaries, etc. But the winner subsidize the losers, and most drugs development fails.
 
2012-02-13 10:18:46 AM

RelativeEase: Why aren't there any progressive, caring individuals willing to sink large amounts of money into an organization that manufacturers life saving drugs at no profit?


They already sunk all their money into requests for assistance from Nigerian royal family members trying to retrieve their money from their home country. The only progressives with any money left are the uncaring kind, who would never sacrifice their own money producing life saving but unprofitable drugs, but would gleefully sacrifice anyone else's money.
 
2012-02-13 10:20:32 AM
Here's what i'm seeing:

Pharma company spend X amount on a new drug to treat luekemia, it incurs a cost of r and d, testing, patent submission, submission to the fda for approval and extra to the fda to grease their wheels to review the product earlier than another company (i used to work for a pharma company and learned that last bit out while working there)...

Now, there's a simple formula the pharma companies will use to determine when they are in R and D to figure out if they will continue on to testing or not...

Most of the pharma companies know what the cost will be for each step in the process other than R&D and Raw material cost

The only thing they can't use actuary math on is the key chemicals in the drugs because they don't know what they are or how they will synthesize it in order to manufacture it...

But once they have a working model, once they know an ingredient can be synthesized and reproduced under manufacturing conditions, then they have a cost and the formula goes something like this:

A = Projected number of cases of disease in the market
B = Total companies treating the disease in the market
C = Maximum cost consumers (insurance companies or individuals) are willing to pay
D = Length of Patent
P = Production Cost

So the formula goes something like this

A / B = Y
Y=% of Market Share

D*C*Y-P = X
X = Projected Sales for the length of the patent before generics are introduced

If X is less than the cost to introduce the new treatment to the market then they don't continue onto clinical testing or FDA and patent submissions

For example:
Lets take Viagra in theoretical numbers since it would take me all day to research the actual numbers

It was estimated that 3 million men in america and canada suffer from ED
A = 3 million
There is only one other company working on a treatment for ED that will be FDA reviewed
B = 2 companies comepting in the market

a/b = y
Y = 1.5 million or 50% of the market share

Market research and focus groups have indicated that consumers (including insurance companies) are willing to pay $10 per dose to treat ED, and the average consumer will be treated once a week.
c = $10/week

Lets say for this example the patent on a drug is 10 years
D = 520 weeks

And lets say for example the production cost for the treatment is $1 per Dose

and lets say for this example, the cost to introduce (R&D, Clinical studies, FDA submission, FDA review bribe, and Patent cost) costs 500,000,000 (which is actually lowballing since when i was working for pharma company X who was developing the "female viagra" the cost of R&D and clinical was already at $400M) and projected production cost over 10 years is $100M

So using the formula C*D*Y-P = X
10*520*1,500,000-600,000,000 = 7,799,400,000

7,799,400,000 / 10 (years) = 779,940,000 per year on this one drug

Now this scenario doesn't assume general company costs of doing business or marketing costs, or lawsuit insurance, or anything like that, so this is not the pure profit from this drug, but you can see just how much they project to make off a drug in 10 years. which is significant...

What we are seeing, is that after generics come onto the market, the pharma companies have determined they have made all the money they want to make off this new product and unless they lower the price to be competitive with the generics, they will lose money if they don't scale back production or cut production altogether...

In most cases the pharmas just move onto the next big thing. In many cases they spend money into some common symptoms to find a cause, then petition the FDA to classify this cause as a disease, so they can develop a treatment for this new disease. In this manner they get 100% of the market share for a short time before competitors begin developing a treatment as well.

A prime example of this would be when Allergan petitioned the FDA to approve a disease called hypotrichosis. Shortly thereafter they release Bimatoprost (marketed as Latisse)...
 
2012-02-13 11:22:52 AM

Anal: Dear everyone claiming conspiracy theories and withheld information, please take off your tinfoil hats and look at the FDA report on the shortage. (new window)


"Sandoz cannot provide a reason for the current shortage."

Umm yeah, read it.
 
2012-02-13 11:26:23 AM
If it's not profitable, why don't they just sell it at a price that covers manufacturing, storage, distribution, etc?

Right?

If they're saying they're not going to make it because they can't make enough profit to justify it, why not price it to where they would? What am I missing?

Seriously, at the simplest case (using faux money), if it takes $5 to make a dose, why stop making it because you can only sell it for $4.50 and yet there is high demand? Why not sell it at $5.50 so it is profitable? It's better than not making it at all.

A product being profitable means that 100% of the cost of creating it are covered plus some. It help ensure the product makes it there.

I'm not sure what I'm missing because I don't think it is really accurate to just heap accusations of "they don't care about dying children" argument.

At the end of the day, we don't have an unlimited supply of free production to make this. People have to drive trucks, fly planes, produce chemicals, combine chemicals, blah blah blah... If the government dictates that the companies provide this, what else doesn't get made? Viagra I can understand having less of, but what if it's a different treatment? Are we going to go ahead and dictate what other drugs production must be cut?

Again, we don't have free electricity, labor, raw materials - somebody has to pay for it, right? If the pharma companies raise the price the cost is spread around, including to the tax payer.

What the hell do we do about this other than use it to demonize the drug companies, which accomplishes nothing immediately?

High demand means high prices - so again - why aren't they just selling it at a higher price, one that offsets operating costs.

Something tells me they can't do this for some reason, because if a manufacturer and has a product people REALLY want (nay, desperately want), they will sell it at a profit unless other influences stop them.

Or - is the reality that they can make more money making other drugs (drugs covered under intellectual property laws like patents)?

In that case what do we do? People have a right to be scumbag pricks, sadly. We can't put a gun to their head and "say make this drug."
Could the hospitals pool resources and bid a manufacturing run or something? WTH?
 
2012-02-13 12:08:08 PM
Of note is that I am starting a nearly-identical drug for Arthritis (at age 25, sunuvabiatch).

After my initial 6-month trial period where my copay will be $20/month (ie, the get-me-hooked phase), it will build itself up to its actual $1500/month cost. And I expect that to rise with the Methotrexate shortage, as it is used for the same condition.

It's amazing how crack dealers and big pharm use the same marketing strategies. Fark this.
 
2012-02-13 12:16:21 PM

nwarlick: After my initial 6-month trial period where my copay will be $20/month (ie, the get-me-hooked phase), it will build itself up to its actual $1500/month cost. And I expect that to rise with the Methotrexate shortage, as it is used for the same condition.

It's amazing how crack dealers and big pharm use the same marketing strategies. Fark this.


My ma has an Methotrexate infusion treatment 2 or 3 times per year, and it has been a godsend. At the price you quoted, you could probably take 2 vacations to Bangkok per year and have it done there for cash - and still come out ahead.
 
2012-02-13 01:13:47 PM

ko_kyi: My ma has an Methotrexate infusion treatment 2 or 3 times per year, and it has been a godsend. At the price you quoted, you could probably take 2 vacations to Bangkok per year and have it done there for cash - and still come out ahead.


Definitely a good idea. At this point I'm about willing to do or pay anything because the unholy affliction of autoimmune disorders (arthritis and psoriasis for myself) has completely changed my way of life in the span of about a year.

But I hear amazing things about the TNF-inhibitor line of drugs (methotrexate, etc.), so I'll worry about the cost when I get there. It almost seems like big pharm didn't realize the drugs would be so effective and now are backing down production in favor of the old, less-effective way of doing things -- mostly steroid bullshiat that ends up doing more harm than good.

I hate being a tin-foil hatter, but it all seems a little too convenient.
 
2012-02-13 01:17:20 PM

ko_kyi: My ma has an Methotrexate infusion treatment 2 or 3 times per year


Also -- I'm getting my first injection today and am optimistic and excited for the first time in a long, long time.
 
2012-02-13 01:40:06 PM

nwarlick: Also -- I'm getting my first injection today and am optimistic and excited for the first time in a long, long time.


IIRC you might feel a bit tired and run down for a day or two.
 
2012-02-13 01:49:19 PM

boomm: PsiChick: quickdraw: Weaver95: trouble is...there isn't a clear cut, easy answer here.

Actually there is. Drugs needed to sustain a life should be considered basic infrastructure and should be funded by society as a whole. We need to get past this silly idea that personal profit is the pinnacle of human achievement.

THIS.

FTFM: I didn't read all of the responses, but I do want to know... has anyone pointed out that there are no drugs needed to sustain life?

Sure, there are drugs needed to preserve a life in some cases. But life will do a fine job of continuing, even if every drug company vanished from the Earth.


Yes, and life would do a fine job of continuing if Earth turned into a radioactive wasteland. It just wouldn't be our lives, which is kind of what we tend to value.
 
2012-02-13 04:43:39 PM

NewportBarGuy: Make third-party sales of limited supply drugs illegal and subject to fines that would be 1000% on top of any profit made from the drug by third-party sellers. There, you solve the black market problem.

Now, how the hell do we make private companies make more drugs that we need? Nationalization is discussed, but what would it take to get the companies to do it themselves... I'll be goddamned if I can figure it out.

Help. Someone. Seriously. This is not funny anymore.


Uh, the same way we get farmers to grow more corn. Subsidize.
 
2012-02-13 08:05:51 PM

ArkAngel: panfried: Little to no profit margin, which it seems is the only corporate incentive.

So you would be for forcing a company to make a product despite the fact that they would always lose money on it because someone else can make it cheaper?


If the drugs aren't making the profits they need then they need to open their proprietary patents and formulas (that they guard and sue over at the drop of a hat) so non-profits can get a crack at making them. Something like that would actually EARN a tax break instead of just being given one "because you donate a ton to the GOP"
 
2012-02-13 08:12:20 PM

relcec: Silverstaff: Guidette Frankentits: sno man: You know the US is the only first world nation that heath care is not a right, right? All the other countries doctors do just fine too. Wake up and look around.

Just remember that we have 300 million + people and those countries you're referring to have a fraction of our population.

Doesn't matter, it's per capita that matters. In terms of physicians per capita it's quite telling, especially when you cross-reference with per-capita spending and average lifespan:

The US has 2.3 physicians per 1000 people, we spent $7538 per person per year on healthcare, and have an average life expectancy of 78.

Norway has 3.1 physicians per 1000 people and spend $5003 per person per year on healthcare. They have an average life expectancy of 80. Completely socialized medicine and they have more doctors per capita than we do, spending less money, for a longer lifespan.

The UK has 2.2 physicians per 1000 people. They spend $3129 per person per year on healthcare and have an average life expectancy of 79,4

Canada has 2.1 physicians per 1000 people. They spend $4079 per person per year on healthcare for average life expectancy of 81.years.

So, socialized single-payer national healthcare systems, 2 of them in the English speaking world, that spend substantially less per-capita for longer lifespans, and have around the same amount of physicians per-capita. . .and Norway manages to have way more doctors than we do per capita.


congress has limited the supply of doctors by capping medicare funds available for residencies at 1997 levels, which is what you need to get those programs developed basically. it was done threw the omnibus budgeting process that year. of course we had 45 million people less in this country back then, but they new the population would expand and need new doctors. they were counting on it in fact.

lot's of people want to be doctors in america. lot's of smart people. it's by far the highest paying profession in ...


Chart Schmart,... many of those countries with the least mortality have socialized health care, and as our political overlords have drilled into us,.. socialized medicine means you have to wait 10 months in the street to get an asprin. Ergo your chart is a commie plot to ruin democracy and rape baby jesus.
 
2012-02-13 08:52:16 PM

hatelabs: Something like that would actually EARN a tax break instead of just being given one "because you donate a ton to the GOP"


Hey, wow, looky here: Opensecrets.org Pfizer 2012 (new window)

They give a ton to everybody except independents
 
2012-02-13 09:07:26 PM

hatelabs: ArkAngel: panfried: Little to no profit margin, which it seems is the only corporate incentive.

So you would be for forcing a company to make a product despite the fact that they would always lose money on it because someone else can make it cheaper?

If the drugs aren't making the profits they need then they need to open their proprietary patents and formulas (that they guard and sue over at the drop of a hat) so non-profits can get a crack at making them. Something like that would actually EARN a tax break instead of just being given one "because you donate a ton to the GOP"


Maybe you didn't pay attention to the article or the rest of the thread so I'll try again:

THESE DRUGS ARE NOT PATENTED ANYMORE!!!
 
2012-02-13 10:15:42 PM

PsiChick: boomm: PsiChick: quickdraw: Weaver95: trouble is...there isn't a clear cut, easy answer here.

Actually there is. Drugs needed to sustain a life should be considered basic infrastructure and should be funded by society as a whole. We need to get past this silly idea that personal profit is the pinnacle of human achievement.

THIS.

FTFM: I didn't read all of the responses, but I do want to know... has anyone pointed out that there are no drugs needed to sustain life?

Sure, there are drugs needed to preserve a life in some cases. But life will do a fine job of continuing, even if every drug company vanished from the Earth.

Yes, and life would do a fine job of continuing if Earth turned into a radioactive wasteland. It just wouldn't be our lives, which is kind of what we tend to value.


I cannot believe you think we would be okay without drug companies. I know for a fact that entire species of animals would have all died if they had not begun establishing their own pharmaceutical companies in the forests and woodlands of the world. There are many scholars that believe humans may have adopted the idea from the animal kingdom. Everyone knows aspirin was first made by monkeys. Also, The reason most animals keep their teeth throughout their whole lives is because they all brush with fluoride. We learned that from them!

/join my cult
 
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