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.

(The New York Times)   Acquire the rights to the only drug available to treat a rare infantile disease, raise the price from $50 to $28,000 a vial = profit   (nytimes.com) divider line 92
    More: Sick  
•       •       •

5270 clicks; posted to Business » on 30 Dec 2012 at 1:48 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



92 Comments   (+0 »)
   
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest

Archived thread

First | « | 1 | 2 | » | Last | Show all
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2012-12-30 09:43:21 AM
The company's speciality is squeezing money out of insurance companies using the media's love for sick babies to get past business rules. The law of my state forbids the sale of health insurance with limits on prescription reimbursement (vs. older policies that might have a $1 million lifetime limit on drug coverage). There is an effectively bottomless pit of money to be mined.

Missing from the article is an explanation of how the company has exclusive rights, or a statement that the right is nonexclusive. The drug has been used more than 50 years. The manufacturing process is also decades old. The application is not a new use for which a patent may be obtained. There should be no intellectual property protection, i.e. no severe barrier to entry for a competitor.
 
2012-12-30 09:51:15 AM

ZAZ: The company's speciality is squeezing money out of insurance companies using the media's love for sick babies to get past business rules.


Add to that the fact that soon everyone will have insurance that will be required to pay for anything and everything under the sun.


i1123.photobucket.com
 
2012-12-30 10:02:25 AM

Dancin_In_Anson: Add to that the fact that soon everyone will have insurance that will be required to pay for anything and everything under the sun.



Wait, what? That's actually not happening at all. There is a base-line for what insurance should cover, but it sure as f*ck doesn't cover "anything and everything."
 
2012-12-30 10:04:58 AM

NewportBarGuy: Wait, what? That's actually not happening at all. There is a base-line for what insurance should cover, but it sure as f*ck doesn't cover "anything and everything."


But that's not what Rush says...
 
2012-12-30 10:43:30 AM

Dancin_In_Anson: ZAZ: The company's speciality is squeezing money out of insurance companies using the media's love for sick babies to get past business rules.

Add to that the fact that soon everyone will have insurance that will be required to pay for anything and everything under the sun.



You're drunk early.
 
2012-12-30 10:45:39 AM

kmmontandon: Dancin_In_Anson: ZAZ: The company's speciality is squeezing money out of insurance companies using the media's love for sick babies to get past business rules.

Add to that the fact that soon everyone will have insurance that will be required to pay for anything and everything under the sun.

You're drunk early.


Republicans are raising his taxes.  He can't mentally cope with that, so he's short-circuiting.
 
2012-12-30 10:48:28 AM
And here I was thinking about robbing a bank.
 
2012-12-30 11:02:43 AM

PreMortem: And here I was thinking about robbing a bank.


Have you considered working for the bank and focusing on exotic structured investment vehicles?
 
2012-12-30 11:24:23 AM
But this is just the free market working to make everyone's life better, right?
 
2012-12-30 11:44:33 AM

NewportBarGuy: Dancin_In_Anson: Add to that the fact that soon everyone will have insurance that will be required to pay for anything and everything under the sun.


Wait, what? That's actually not happening at all. There is a base-line for what insurance should cover, but it sure as f*ck doesn't cover "anything and everything."


He's just pissed that it covers female contraceptives.
 
vpb [TotalFark]
2012-12-30 11:57:43 AM
Well, it's "whatever the market will bear". Capitalism sucks at some things. Even Ayn Rand signed up for Medicare after she got lung cancer.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2012-12-30 12:20:22 PM
vpb

It's not really a market. The company has a monopoly one way or the other, by regulatory authorization or by the ability to manipulate prices to keep competition away. The list price isn't real; every customer potentially gets a different price.
 
2012-12-30 01:28:53 PM

PreMortem: And here I was thinking about robbing a bank.


In Capitalist America, bank robs you.
 
2012-12-30 01:46:43 PM
Yup, time to start shooting these guys. Seriously. I got no problem if you raised the price to $100, but 28K? fark you. DIAF
 
2012-12-30 01:47:00 PM

NewportBarGuy: There is a base-line for what insurance should cover, but it sure as f*ck doesn't cover "anything and everything."


What won't be covered?
 
2012-12-30 01:54:56 PM
What cheap rheumatism medicine might look like.

i1282.photobucket.com
 
2012-12-30 01:57:15 PM
I like that an insurance company refused to pay and affected sales in a big way. An interesting potential check and balance on big pharma, especially in the new and improved [sic] insurance climate.
 
2012-12-30 02:19:12 PM
wtf subby, do you think companies are charities?

its a freaking business
 
2012-12-30 02:42:30 PM

Dancin_In_Anson: NewportBarGuy: There is a base-line for what insurance should cover, but it sure as f*ck doesn't cover "anything and everything."

What won't be covered?


Whatever your policy says won't be covered.  Or rather, anything your policy doesn't explicitly state *is* covered.

So yeah, pretty much nothing that isn't baseline, unless you're paying for a rather high-end policy.  The list of things not covered is nearly-infinite.  The list of covered services are strictly defined in your policy.  Go read your paperwork and stop trolling Fark.
 
2012-12-30 02:56:58 PM

Dancin_In_Anson: ZAZ: The company's speciality is squeezing money out of insurance companies using the media's love for sick babies to get past business rules.

Add to that the fact that soon everyone will have insurance that will be required to pay for anything and everything under the sun.


[i1123.photobucket.com image 328x240]


Don't worry, the Death Panels will take care of this problem.
 
2012-12-30 03:21:08 PM
For drugs like this where there's not a huge need, why can't the FDA buy the rights and then offer a cost plus contract to manufacture the drug? People still get their meds and a business still makes a profit.
 
2012-12-30 03:23:17 PM

rdu_voyager: For drugs like this where there's not a huge need, why can't the FDA buy the rights and then offer a cost plus contract to manufacture the drug? People still get their meds and a business still makes a profit.


because that's socialisms.  And socialisms end all life in the universe as we know it.
 
2012-12-30 03:24:53 PM

Weaver95: rdu_voyager: For drugs like this where there's not a huge need, why can't the FDA buy the rights and then offer a cost plus contract to manufacture the drug? People still get their meds and a business still makes a profit.

because that's socialisms.  And socialisms end all life in the universe as we know it.


The invisible hand will take care of this.
 
2012-12-30 03:34:35 PM

Kuroshin: Weaver95: rdu_voyager: For drugs like this where there's not a huge need, why can't the FDA buy the rights and then offer a cost plus contract to manufacture the drug? People still get their meds and a business still makes a profit.

because that's socialisms.  And socialisms end all life in the universe as we know it.

The invisible hand will take care of this.


probably by killing kids with rare diseases but yes, the situation will be resolved one way or another.  we can ship entire infantry and armored divisions anywhere around the world with full logistical support and real time tactical updates...but we can't figure out how to make health care affordable to the poor and middle class.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2012-12-30 03:34:37 PM
why can't the FDA buy the rights

If the rights are exclusive, e.g. protected by a patent, the company would set the selling price at the present value of all future sales at $20,000 per vial. There is a process for nationalizing invention patents. If you file a patent application a superbomb the military can take your patent, order you not to reveal the secret, and use it. I don't know whether it is applicable to drugs, or how compensation would be determined if it is.

If there is no patent or other protection on the drug, which should be the case for an old use of an old drug, anybody could offer a contract to buy at some lower price. The contract would need a guaranteed minimum purchase to bring competition. Otherwise the current single source drops prices long enough to drive away other companies.
 
2012-12-30 03:44:31 PM

Weaver95: Kuroshin: Weaver95: rdu_voyager: For drugs like this where there's not a huge need, why can't the FDA buy the rights and then offer a cost plus contract to manufacture the drug? People still get their meds and a business still makes a profit.

because that's socialisms.  And socialisms end all life in the universe as we know it.

The invisible hand will take care of this.

probably by killing kids with rare diseases but yes, the situation will be resolved one way or another.  we can ship entire infantry and armored divisions anywhere around the world with full logistical support and real time tactical updates...but we can't figure out how to make health care affordable to the poor and middle class.


You sound Commie.

/and I agree
//if my tax dollars are going to be wasted somewhere, let them be wasted here, on Americans, to help Americans
 
2012-12-30 03:49:37 PM
It does sound like it's a relatively fiddly drug to make safely, and the primary market is small. But, if it's from the 50s, it can't be under patent protections... I assume the market is just too small for a generic competitor.

All sorts of fishy stuff happens with "old drugs". A year back, I got a case of good ol roundworms (Ascaris... street food in Caracas most likely). The standard treatment for this is Vermox. A 50s drug. This is something you can get for $3 in every pharmacy from Cairo to Bangkok. Effective, cheap and low side effect. Also, simply not available in the United States any more. The only effective deworming med you can get in the US is a human-dose form of veterinary ivermectin at over $100 a dose.

My doctor looked into it. Turns out to be worse than just profit-seeking on the handful of roundworm sufferers in the US. Vermox, as it turns out, has been found to have some pretty strong cancer-fighting properties. Oncologists were prescribing it off-label, and studies have found it as effective against some cancers as some common chemotherapies.

Awesome, right? Not if you're in the pharmaceutical business, and a blockbuster new cancer drug is a $5 generic around the world. The easiest thing to do was remove it from the US market before this all got out of hand.
 
2012-12-30 03:54:41 PM

kronicfeld: NewportBarGuy: Wait, what? That's actually not happening at all. There is a base-line for what insurance should cover, but it sure as f*ck doesn't cover "anything and everything."

But that's not what Rush says...


Ahh yes.  Rush.  The bastion of intellect.  I rank him up there with:

i112.photobucket.com
 
2012-12-30 04:04:45 PM
Patients who cannot pay are given the drug free. The company helps with insurance co-payments, to make sure that a patient's inability to make a co-payment doesn't stand in the way of the drug being used and the insurer paying $28,000 a vial.

... I'm okay with this. When insurance company shills are complaining about drug companies making a profit, it gives me warm fuzzies inside.
 
2012-12-30 04:06:28 PM

TheSubjunctive: It does sound like it's a relatively fiddly drug to make safely, and the primary market is small. But, if it's from the 50s, it can't be under patent protections... I assume the market is just too small for a generic competitor.

All sorts of fishy stuff happens with "old drugs". A year back, I got a case of good ol roundworms (Ascaris... street food in Caracas most likely). The standard treatment for this is Vermox. A 50s drug. This is something you can get for $3 in every pharmacy from Cairo to Bangkok. Effective, cheap and low side effect. Also, simply not available in the United States any more. The only effective deworming med you can get in the US is a human-dose form of veterinary ivermectin at over $100 a dose.

My doctor looked into it. Turns out to be worse than just profit-seeking on the handful of roundworm sufferers in the US. Vermox, as it turns out, has been found to have some pretty strong cancer-fighting properties. Oncologists were prescribing it off-label, and studies have found it as effective against some cancers as some common chemotherapies.

Awesome, right? Not if you're in the pharmaceutical business, and a blockbuster new cancer drug is a $5 generic around the world. The easiest thing to do was remove it from the US market before this all got out of hand.


That is messed up. Couldn't you just take vetinary ivermectin? A gallon costs 50 bucks at Tractor Supply and it is mint flavored (pigs like mint).
 
2012-12-30 04:47:05 PM
I don't normally foam at the mouth over things like this, but honestly? Quick Justice Dept. investigation, find out everyone who participated in this decision making or had oversight and knowledge. Then shoot each one in the head and seize their estate to put toward the national debt. I would be completely OK with making their spouses and children destitute and homeless as well as widowed/orphaned. There are just some lines you do not cross, and if we as a species don't select against it, this sort of thing will eventually be acceptable, if it isn't effectively so already.

I mean, come on. How evil do you have to get before the fact that you "made money legally" doesn't excuse it anymore?
 
2012-12-30 04:59:41 PM

TheSubjunctive: It does sound like it's a relatively fiddly drug to make safely, and the primary market is small. But, if it's from the 50s, it can't be under patent protections... I assume the market is just too small for a generic competitor.

All sorts of fishy stuff happens with "old drugs". A year back, I got a case of good ol roundworms (Ascaris... street food in Caracas most likely). The standard treatment for this is Vermox. A 50s drug. This is something you can get for $3 in every pharmacy from Cairo to Bangkok. Effective, cheap and low side effect. Also, simply not available in the United States any more. The only effective deworming med you can get in the US is a human-dose form of veterinary ivermectin at over $100 a dose.

My doctor looked into it. Turns out to be worse than just profit-seeking on the handful of roundworm sufferers in the US. Vermox, as it turns out, has been found to have some pretty strong cancer-fighting properties. Oncologists were prescribing it off-label, and studies have found it as effective against some cancers as some common chemotherapies.

Awesome, right? Not if you're in the pharmaceutical business, and a blockbuster new cancer drug is a $5 generic around the world. The easiest thing to do was remove it from the US market before this all got out of hand.


I think I wanna go out and hit someone now.  thanks man, I really didn't want to hit my rage quota for the day.
 
2012-12-30 05:14:23 PM

TheOtherGuy: I don't normally foam at the mouth over things like this, but honestly? Quick Justice Dept. investigation, find out everyone who participated in this decision making or had oversight and knowledge. Then shoot each one in the head and seize their estate to put toward the national debt. I would be completely OK with making their spouses and children destitute and homeless as well as widowed/orphaned. There are just some lines you do not cross, and if we as a species don't select against it, this sort of thing will eventually be acceptable, if it isn't effectively so already.

I mean, come on. How evil do you have to get before the fact that you "made money legally" doesn't excuse it anymore?


$28k is probably a bit much, but the whole point of the orphan drug law is that there's no market to produce these drugs, so we let one company make obscene profits selling a few hundred doses of this medicine each year and, in exchange, they actually make the product, which nobody would do otherwise.

Though the better solution is probably for the government to acquire the patent and license it to a production facility.
 
kab
2012-12-30 05:37:47 PM
Why would anyone be surprised at this?

If someone's sickness can't be profited from, it's simply not worth fixing. Welcome to modern medicine.
 
2012-12-30 06:12:53 PM
Who cares if a few shaky babies die? It's a small price to pay to save us from the nightmare of socialism! I'd curb-stomp sick babies all day long to prevent the democrats from getting credit for an effective national healthcare system socialized medicine.
 
2012-12-30 06:15:32 PM
Questcor's profit margin has averaged 33% over the past five years, with a quarterly low of 6% and a high of 60%.  Net sales for Q3 were $140 million, net income $53.7 million.

Is that really too much for doing a job that no one else wants to do; a job that saves infants' lives and brings relief to sufferers of other diseases who get no relief from cheaper treatments?

Acthar is not protected by patent.  Only Questcor's secrecy about Acthar's exact components prevents generic competition.  Why do we not vilify all the companies and government agencies that could, if they cared to, figure out how to make Acthar?  Their decision not to make generic Acthar is equally motivated by profit.
 
2012-12-30 06:43:21 PM

BarkingUnicorn: Questcor's profit margin has averaged 33% over the past five years, with a quarterly low of 6% and a high of 60%


Questcor CEO Don Bailey's $4.56mm compensation package last year (plus the CFO's $1.78mm, the COO's $2.3mm, etc, etc) are "business expenses" in terms of profit margin. If you were counting their C-suite lucre as 'company profit' (as many rational people would), the larger profit margin in more like 50-60%.
 
2012-12-30 06:55:32 PM

BarkingUnicorn: Questcor's profit margin has averaged 33% over the past five years, with a quarterly low of 6% and a high of 60%.  Net sales for Q3 were $140 million, net income $53.7 million.

Is that really too much for doing a job that no one else wants to do; a job that saves infants' lives and brings relief to sufferers of other diseases who get no relief from cheaper treatments?

Acthar is not protected by patent.  Only Questcor's secrecy about Acthar's exact components prevents generic competition.  Why do we not vilify all the companies and government agencies that could, if they cared to, figure out how to make Acthar?  Their decision not to make generic Acthar is equally motivated by profit.


Not quite. The FDA has designated Acthar as an orphan drug, which means Questcor has a seven year exclusivity right.

"In conjunction with approval of the IS indication, and as a result of the FDA's orphan designation for Acthar in the treatment of IS, the FDA has also granted Acthar a seven-year exclusivity period during which the FDA is prohibited from approving any other adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) formulation for IS unless the other formulation is demonstrated to be clinically superior to Acthar. "

The way I see it, there are three problems here, none of which has to do with the price of the drug.

1) Why is Questcor being allowed to market Acthar for non-IS uses without FDA approval?
2) Why are doctors subscribing Acthar for non-IS purposes when it hasn't been shown to be better than other drugs?
3) Why are insurance companies paying for non-IS uses of Acthar when the drug hasn't been shown to be better than other drugs?
 
2012-12-30 07:28:52 PM

Weaver95: Kuroshin: Weaver95: rdu_voyager: For drugs like this where there's not a huge need, why can't the FDA buy the rights and then offer a cost plus contract to manufacture the drug? People still get their meds and a business still makes a profit.

because that's socialisms.  And socialisms end all life in the universe as we know it.

The invisible hand will take care of this.

probably by killing kids with rare diseases but yes, the situation will be resolved one way or another.  we can ship entire infantry and armored divisions anywhere around the world with full logistical support and real time tactical updates...but we can't figure out how to make health care affordable to the poor and middle class.


We could, but there is a large contingent of people who would rather a million people suffer than one unworthy person get something for free.
 
2012-12-30 07:39:58 PM

Kuroshin: Whatever your policy says won't be covered. Or rather, anything your policy doesn't explicitly state *is* covered.


Like pre existing con..oh wait.

jayhawk88: Don't worry, the Death Panels will take care of this problem


We all know that there will be no such thing as there will be no need.

cretinbob: Don't you have some pictures of dead puppies to go jerk off over or something?


Folks...I have been on this site for almost 10 years and have been flamed by some of the best, but this...this is TRULY  inspired...The gold standard by which all others will be judged. So take note here, people.  Before hitting the reply button in an attempt to hurl some lame ass insult at me ask yourself, "Self? How will this compare to cretinbob's  Don't you have some pictures of dead puppies to go jerk off over or something?"

Because anything less than that really will  be lame ass.
 
2012-12-30 07:54:11 PM

Weaver95: TheSubjunctive: It does sound like it's a relatively fiddly drug to make safely, and the primary market is small. But, if it's from the 50s, it can't be under patent protections... I assume the market is just too small for a generic competitor.

All sorts of fishy stuff happens with "old drugs". A year back, I got a case of good ol roundworms (Ascaris... street food in Caracas most likely). The standard treatment for this is Vermox. A 50s drug. This is something you can get for $3 in every pharmacy from Cairo to Bangkok. Effective, cheap and low side effect. Also, simply not available in the United States any more. The only effective deworming med you can get in the US is a human-dose form of veterinary ivermectin at over $100 a dose.

My doctor looked into it. Turns out to be worse than just profit-seeking on the handful of roundworm sufferers in the US. Vermox, as it turns out, has been found to have some pretty strong cancer-fighting properties. Oncologists were prescribing it off-label, and studies have found it as effective against some cancers as some common chemotherapies.

Awesome, right? Not if you're in the pharmaceutical business, and a blockbuster new cancer drug is a $5 generic around the world. The easiest thing to do was remove it from the US market before this all got out of hand.

I think I wanna go out and hit someone now.  thanks man, I really didn't want to hit my rage quota for the day.


Doesn't the FDA regulate drug uses?
 
2012-12-30 07:58:12 PM

Lawnchair: BarkingUnicorn: Questcor's profit margin has averaged 33% over the past five years, with a quarterly low of 6% and a high of 60%

Questcor CEO Don Bailey's $4.56mm compensation package last year (plus the CFO's $1.78mm, the COO's $2.3mm, etc, etc) are "business expenses" in terms of profit margin. If you were counting their C-suite lucre as 'company profit' (as many rational people would), the larger profit margin in more like 50-60%.


Oh, Hell, let's count all employees' compensation as profit, then.  Just make up whatever accounting rules you like and  pretend you're a "rational person." :P
 
2012-12-30 08:27:36 PM

Speaker2Animals: But this is just the free market working to make everyone's life better, right?


Well, for some value of "everyone".

I would argue that locking up IP rights is the polar opposite of a free market, anyway.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2012-12-30 08:44:03 PM
The FDA has designated Acthar as an orphan drug, which means Questcor has a seven year exclusivity right.

I understand now. The orphan drug award should be "cost plus" (as suggested earlier) rather than whatever it is now. There's plenty of room to abuse cost plus, but at least regulators have grounds to audit and punish the worst abuses.
 
2012-12-30 08:45:51 PM

Weaver95: I think I wanna go out and hit someone now. thanks man, I really didn't want to hit my rage quota for the day.


Welcome to every day at work for me. One of my bosses constantly reminds me that the drug makers are not in the business of patient care, they are in business simply to make money. I don't even know what the hell we're going to do about Atorvastatin (Generic Lipitor), because I'm being told they can't get the generics and are considering switching to Lipitor brand in the meantime because we've switched everyone over from their other statins. That's just one issue. I've got hundreds.

I do punch the wall on occasion.
 
2012-12-30 08:51:04 PM

Mister Peejay: Speaker2Animals: But this is just the free market working to make everyone's life better, right?

Well, for some value of "everyone".

I would argue that locking up IP rights is the polar opposite of a free market, anyway.


Let's see you make a rational argument for that position.

A "market" is an environment in which things are bought and sold.  You have no right to sell something you don't own.  Ownership means you have the right to control its use and disposition.  Without IP rights there can be no IP market, free or not.
 
2012-12-30 09:10:57 PM

rugman11: Acthar is not protected by patent. Only Questcor's secrecy about Acthar's exact components prevents generic competition. Why do we not vilify all the companies and government agencies that could, if they cared to, figure out how to make Acthar? Their decision not to make generic Acthar is equally motivated by profit.

Not quite. The FDA has designated Acthar as an orphan drug, which means Questcor has a seven year exclusivity right.

"In conjunction with approval of the IS indication, and as a result of the FDA's orphan designation for Acthar in the treatment of IS, the FDA has also granted Acthar a seven-year exclusivity period during which the FDA is prohibited from approving any other adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) formulation for IS unless the other formulation is demonstrated to be clinically superior to Acthar. "


1.  That's not a patent.

2.  It does not prevent any other company from making Acthar and selling it for treatment of any of the other 49 diseases for which Acthar is FDA-approved.  Most of Acthar's revenues are now coming from non-IS prescriptions.
 
2012-12-30 10:35:15 PM
Sounds like the easiest solution is to set a profit percentage allocation for drug manufacturers to make "orphan drugs". You want the contract (the locked in profit)? You make X doses of Y in Z time, and we will pay you a certain rate.
 
2012-12-31 01:33:36 AM
Health care should be arranged like national defense.

We have laws that allow the purchase of guns for personal protection. We have laws that allow the establishment of the Department of Defense for mega-level protection against bad nations.

Health care should be divvied up similarly. We'd buy aspirin, splints, Band-Aids and Pepto-Bismol to fix minor problems, but rely on a neutral government health administration to try to treat cancer and weird diseases that kill kids. Drug companies would exist, but primarily as government contractors in the effort to keep people well. As contractors, they'd be subject to oversight and monitoring.

Free market capitalism is fine for building cars and making clothes. It doesn't work for health care.
 
2012-12-31 07:27:49 AM

Huck And Molly Ziegler: Health care should be arranged like national defense.

We have laws that allow the purchase of guns for personal protection. We have laws that allow the establishment of the Department of Defense for mega-level protection against bad nations.

Health care should be divvied up similarly. We'd buy aspirin, splints, Band-Aids and Pepto-Bismol to fix minor problems, but rely on a neutral government health administration to try to treat cancer and weird diseases that kill kids. Drug companies would exist, but primarily as government contractors in the effort to keep people well. As contractors, they'd be subject to oversight and monitoring.

Free market capitalism is fine for building cars and making clothes. It doesn't work for health care.


Haven't you heard? America has the finest health care system in the world.
 
Displayed 50 of 92 comments

First | « | 1 | 2 | » | Last | Show all

View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest


This thread is archived, and closed to new comments.

Continue Farking
Submit a Link »






Report