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Invisiblez@z.com
Libertarian
Registered: 10/13/02
Posts: 2,876
Loc: ATL
Punishing Drugmakers for Doing Good
    #3519246 - 12/19/04 02:32 AM (11 years, 11 months ago)

Quote:

Create a company. Spend billions of dollars. Develop lifesaving products. Be vilified. That seems to be the lot in life of pharmaceutical firms.

In early December a newspaper article headlined: "Chemical Compound Shows Promise Against Tuberculosis: New Medicine Is Best Hope Against Disease in 40 Years."

But Democratic presidential candidates routinely criticized drugmakers in the last election. Legislators of both parties continue to target drugmakers. Seniors demonstrate against them.

Marcia Angell, author of "The Truth About the Drug Companies," is basically upset that drug companies are private. They decide what to research, set pharmaceutical prices and advertise their wares. That's the way most of the economy works. But Angell, along with a gaggle of activists and politicians, would turn drugmakers into public utilities and regulate prices.

In her view, the companies spend too much on administration and marketing. They produce too many "me-too" drugs. Patents are restrictive; advertising is excessive.

Too much and too many compared to what, however?

All firms have administration and marketing expenses. However, drugmakers devote a larger percentage of their resources to research and development than does any other industry. Criticize promotional practices that bias treatment decisions, but don't expect firms to hide their products. Marketing is intended to sell medicine; otherwise, there would be no money to make drugs.

Marketing and research and development are complementary. More products require more advertising; more advertising generates demand for more products. Anyway, two-thirds of pharmaceutical marketing expenses are for free samples, which act like a price cut.

Angell complains that the industry develops too many "me-too" drugs, which treat conditions for which other medicines are available. Meeting the demand for competitive products does not diminish the incentive to create blockbuster drugs - like a new tuberculosis treatment - however.

Unfortunately, medical research is uncertain. Developing new remedies requires drilling thousands of dry holes. Price controls would discourage firms from investing in products with more uncertain, though potentially more lucrative, payoffs. Anyway, me-too drugs often offer important therapeutic advantages. The more drugs available to treat a given condition, the more options a doctor has in treating a patient.

Sometimes, a slightly different formula proves substantially better for some people. Explains rheumatologist John H. Kippel, "It's not unusual for patients to try several options before finding one that works."

Multiple drugs have proved invaluable for AIDS patients as treatment resistance increases. Merck's withdrawal of Vioxx because of adverse side effects illustrates the importance of having numerous medical options. Patients requiring relief from inflammation but who are vulnerable to stomach problems still can choose Pfizer's Celebrex. A half-dozen more COX-2 inhibitors are being developed.

Further, "me-too" products help lower prices of existing therapies. Ironically, The New England Journal of Medicine, which Angell used to edit, recently observed that me-too drugs had driven down the price of statins. Added the journal, "Lower costs for me-too drugs are also seen in other commonly used classes of drugs." One could imagine asking: Why produce more than one brand of automobile or computer?

Angell's desire to limit patent protection is similarly myopic. Patents provide temporary protection from knockoffs to encourage innovation. There's no escaping the trade-off: Cut the patent life and cut the incentive.

Ultimately, Angell believes that patients should have little say in what medicines they receive: The Food and Drug Administration should approve fewer drugs and limit what consumers are told. Yet every day that a lifesaving medicine sits unused means more suffering and dying patients.

Angell is particularly critical of direct advertising to consumers. But patients should learn about available treatments. Anyway, doctors remain gatekeepers by prescribing medicine. Angell dismisses the threat. "Give us everything we want, or we might have to stop producing miracle drugs," she says.

But medicines don't spontaneously generate. Politics is no way to pick drug winners and losers.

Pharmaceuticals, including generics, make up 10 percent of total health care spending - hardly the driving force in rising medical costs. In fact, hospital prices rose almost three times as fast as drug prices last year.

These medicines lengthen lives, improve the quality of life, and reduce hospitalization and surgery. Americans might prefer to pay less for their medicine. But they will be the biggest losers if they myopically kill the golden pharmaceutical goose.



http://www.cato.org/dailys/12-19-04.html


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"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." - C.S. Lewis

"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniencies attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." - Thomas Jefferson


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Offlinedeafpanda
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Registered: 05/07/04
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Re: Punishing Drugmakers for Doing Good [Re: z@z.com]
    #3519982 - 12/19/04 12:13 PM (11 years, 11 months ago)

Quote:

Create a company. Spend billions of dollars. Develop lifesaving products. Be vilified. That seems to be the lot in life of pharmaceutical firms.




These are not the reasons for their vilification. They are vilified because of their withholding of scientific data and other acts of foul play.


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InvisibletrendalM
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Re: Punishing Drugmakers for Doing Good [Re: z@z.com]
    #3519996 - 12/19/04 12:17 PM (11 years, 11 months ago)

The ends does not justify the means. Drug companies may invent some remarkable drugs, but it isn't their purpose. Their purpose is to make money.


--------------------
You're here because you know something.
What you know you can't explain,
But you feel it;
You've felt it your entire life.
That there's something wrong with the world.
You don't know what it is, but it's there....
Like a splinter in your mind...
Driving you mad.


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OfflinePhred
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Re: Punishing Drugmakers for Doing Good [Re: trendal]
    #3520007 - 12/19/04 12:23 PM (11 years, 11 months ago)

And by pursuing their own selfish goal (the making of profit) they benefit incalculable numbers of others. Adam Smith once again is vindicated.



pinky


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OfflineAncalagon
AgnosticLibertarian

Registered: 07/30/02
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Re: Punishing Drugmakers for Doing Good [Re: trendal]
    #3520028 - 12/19/04 12:32 PM (11 years, 11 months ago)

Quote:

trendal said:
The ends does not justify the means. Drug companies may invent some remarkable drugs, but it isn't their purpose. Their purpose is to make money.



Who gives a shit? This is such a bogus argument and it is so commonly tossed around by leftists -- "WHO CARES THAT THE FREE MARKET IS BENEFICIAL, PEOPLE ARE ONLY IT IN FOR THE PROFIT!!1" That people can improve the lives of others through 'selfish' ends is one of the wonders of the free market. Almost wish the state would seize control of the drug companies here overnight so I could see some of you guys pine for a return to private enterprise.


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?When Alexander the Great visted the philosopher Diogenes and asked whether he could do anything for him, Diogenes is said to have replied: 'Yes, stand a little less between me and the sun.' It is what every citizen is entitled to ask of his government.?
-Henry Hazlitt in 'Economics in One Lesson'


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InvisibleAnnapurna1
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Re: Punishing Drugmakers for Doing Good [Re: Phred]
    #3520116 - 12/19/04 12:58 PM (11 years, 11 months ago)

>> And by pursuing their own selfish goal (the making of profit) they benefit incalculable numbers of others. Adam Smith once again is vindicated.

^ thats bullshit...adam smith was totally opposed to the monopolistic..blackmailing..and anticompetitive practices of the drug companies..who are prolly killing at least as many ppl as they save.. both by *artificially* overpricing their products and by using their legislative influence to criminalize competing drugs such as marijuana...in addition to deaths..the violence that results from prohibition madated by the drug companies also lands more ppl in ERs..where they are forced to buy their stuff...if they are being punished..its for murder and extortion...

EDIT ..but i suppose since that since the right thinks that murder is "good" (along with rape and torture)..then maybe they are being punished for doing good...


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"anchor blocks counteract the process of pontiprobation..while omalean globes regulize the pressure"...


Edited by Annapurna1 (12/19/04 01:02 PM)


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InvisibleSoopaX
Criminal DrugAnalyst

Registered: 11/13/04
Posts: 1,690
Re: Punishing Drugmakers for Doing Good [Re: Annapurna1]
    #3520365 - 12/19/04 02:28 PM (11 years, 11 months ago)

Do you make a habit of looking at the slight negative effects of an action and parading them around as if it were the goal of the action? Maybe you'd rather the pharmaceutical companies just stopped making medicines? Would that be good for the collective as you always strive for?

Any source for the drug companies killing at least as many people as they save, or should we just shovel that into the compost heap with the rest of your material?


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


Jackie Treehorn treats objects like women, man


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InvisibleGreat_Satan
prophet of God
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Registered: 09/05/04
Posts: 953
Re: Punishing Drugmakers for Doing Good [Re: deafpanda]
    #3520484 - 12/19/04 03:06 PM (11 years, 11 months ago)

Quote:

deafpanda said:
Quote:

Create a company. Spend billions of dollars. Develop lifesaving products. Be vilified. That seems to be the lot in life of pharmaceutical firms.




These are not the reasons for their vilification. They are vilified because of their withholding of scientific data and other acts of foul play.




I've worked in the patent business for the last 15 years. I started off as a patent examiner working in classes 514 and 424 (bio-affecting substances, ie. drugs, pesticides, etc.). Now I'm a registered patent agent (no longer a government employee). Every single thing I worked with was confidential (kept secret from the public) until the application was published or patented. This is true with a lot of countries that has a patent office, including communist countries. Also, everything is kept secret before it is published. University professors keep things secret until they publish their articles. Musicians keep their music secret until the album is recorded and published, etc. What I mean by "secret" is that only a select group of people can know about it and not the public in general. You may also know that many things are kept from the public before a case goes to court, too.


Edited by Great_Satan (12/19/04 03:11 PM)


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InvisibleGreat_Satan
prophet of God
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Registered: 09/05/04
Posts: 953
Re: Punishing Drugmakers for Doing Good [Re: Great_Satan]
    #3520520 - 12/19/04 03:20 PM (11 years, 11 months ago)

Quote:


using their legislative influence to criminalize competing drugs such as marijuana...





I discovered a long time ago the strange effect that marijuana causes which makes users seem oblivious to its negative effects and makes them blame them on something else. I had a friend who used to smoke a lot of it back in the 1980's after I quit using it, myself. He used to be so paranoid of chemical waste that he imagined was everywhere. I told him his subconcious mind was trying to tell him to stop getting high on so many chemicals, but he was in denial. After he finally quit, he remembered what I said and finally understood it. Back when I smoked pot regularly in the 1970's I had this paranoia of chemical waste being everywhere, too. It lasted for about a year after I quit using it.


Edited by Great_Satan (12/19/04 03:22 PM)


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InvisibleDoctorJ
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Registered: 06/30/03
Posts: 8,451
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Re: Punishing Drugmakers for Doing Good [Re: Great_Satan]
    #3520546 - 12/19/04 03:28 PM (11 years, 11 months ago)

WTF does that little story have to do with the comment you quoted?


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peace, pot, and microdot!


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OfflineThe_Red_Crayon
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Re: Punishing Drugmakers for Doing Good [Re: Great_Satan]
    #3521016 - 12/19/04 05:37 PM (11 years, 11 months ago)

The Harmful effects of Marijuana are debatable, But the massive drain of taxpayer money on keeping it illegal is rediculous.

My beef with the pharmacuetical companies is the mark up on most medications. Since i dont have medical insurance. I simply cant afford the medications i need.


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OfflineAncalagon
AgnosticLibertarian

Registered: 07/30/02
Posts: 1,364
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Re: Punishing Drugmakers for Doing Good [Re: Annapurna1]
    #3522317 - 12/19/04 11:12 PM (11 years, 11 months ago)

"It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest."
-- Adam Smith


--------------------
?When Alexander the Great visted the philosopher Diogenes and asked whether he could do anything for him, Diogenes is said to have replied: 'Yes, stand a little less between me and the sun.' It is what every citizen is entitled to ask of his government.?
-Henry Hazlitt in 'Economics in One Lesson'


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InvisibleAnnapurna1
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Re: Punishing Drugmakers for Doing Good [Re: Ancalagon]
    #3522835 - 12/20/04 01:56 AM (11 years, 11 months ago)

Quote:

Thus, every individual necessarily labours to render the annual revenue of the society as great as he can. He generally, indeed, neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it. [In choosing between domestic and foreign sources], he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. Nor is it always the worse for society that it was no part of it. By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it.
***
Every man, as long as he does not violate the laws of justice, is left perfectly free to pursue his own interest
-- adam smith




Quote:

A monopoly granted either to an individual or to a trading company has the same effect as a secret in trade or manufactures. The monopolists, by keeping the market constantly understocked, by never fully supplying the effectual demand, sell their commodities much above the natural price, and raise their emoluments, whether they consist in wages or profit, greatly above their natural rate.
-- adam smith




based on the above..it is very dificult for me to imagine adam smith giving the drug companies his full blessing and support...you will also note that smith himself is inconsistent as to the value of unrestricted self-interest..in acknowledging that there may be instances which "violate the laws of justice".. the drug companies being a prime candidate (and who..BTW..meet all of the conditions in the second quote)...and smiths' logic in the first quote is now widely held as being flawed...the "invisible hand" being a quasi-religious entity which is supposed to direct an uneasy balance of competing self-interests to work towards the benefit of all..and with no factual basis...


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"anchor blocks counteract the process of pontiprobation..while omalean globes regulize the pressure"...


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InvisibleSoopaX
Criminal DrugAnalyst

Registered: 11/13/04
Posts: 1,690
Re: Punishing Drugmakers for Doing Good [Re: The_Red_Crayon]
    #3525053 - 12/20/04 07:05 PM (11 years, 11 months ago)

Have you tried getting a job that has benefits?


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Jackie Treehorn treats objects like women, man


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OfflineFrankieJustTrypt
and fell

Registered: 01/27/04
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Re: Punishing Drugmakers for Doing Good [Re: SoopaX]
    #3526217 - 12/21/04 01:42 AM (11 years, 11 months ago)

I don't know about you guys, but I don't think its in a companies self-interest to cure my disease when they could instead offer temporary relief, over and over and over and over and over...

I'd feel alot better if the CEO's, stockholders, and/or board members of these companies had the diseases they "treat"... Then I'd consider the self-interest theory a bit more viable.

Though I will say that the FDA is probably the brunt of the problem... The FDA is almost like a guarddog for a cartel of pharm giants. Making sure there is no real competition.


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If you want a free lunch, you need to learn how to eat good advice.


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OfflineFrankieJustTrypt
and fell

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Re: Punishing Drugmakers for Doing Good [Re: FrankieJustTrypt]
    #3526327 - 12/21/04 02:18 AM (11 years, 11 months ago)

How does the Food and Drug Administration keep safe and effective drugs off the market?


It costs up to $100 million for a pharmaceutical company to take a drug through the onerous and byzantine FDA approval process.
Typically, a company can only recoup this cost if the drug can be patented, giving the company exclusive rights to manufacture
and sell it. (The approval process rules out the alternative of keeping the drug's composition and manufacture a trade secret.)

There are many drugs which have been available in Europe for years or decades but cannot be patented in the U.S. (for example,
because the patents have expired, or because the drug is a natural compound that cannot be patented, like tryptophan). No
company can afford to get any of these drugs FDA-approved, because, without a patent, other pharmaceuticals makers can then
begin making and selling the drug without having incurred the expense of the approval process. The FDA refuses to accept
European or Japanese approval of a drug as grounds for granting U.S. approval, so thousands of Americans die each year
because drugs proven to be safe and effective are kept out of their hands by FDA bureaucrats.

Part of the reason FDA approval is so hard to gain for a drug is that the corresponding agencies in Japan and western Europe
require only that a drug be proven safe to be approved, but the FDA demands that a drug be proven, to the FDA's satisfaction, to
be both safe and effective. I oppose the FDA because I prefer to make up my own mind about what's good for me.
The FDA does not need its present power to ban unapproved drugs to fulfill its statutory function. An "FDA-approved" logo on a
drug's label would tell consumers who care which drugs the FDA considers suitable for them, without depriving other Americans
of the chance of non-FDA-approved drugs.

Actually, any government monitoring of drugs at all is unnecessary. There are abundant examples of testing and quality-control
institutions, funded by liability insurance underwriters, to verify the effectiveness, quality, and safety of products in other industries.

Underwriters' Laboratories is such an institution; their "U.L." symbol appears on virtually all electric and electronic products sold in the U.S. Consumer Union and Consumer Reports magazine are examples of "reputation servers" in the marketplace: private
agencies that provide unbiased quality evaluations of products to interested consumers. The U.S. Pharmacopeia Convention is a
consortium of pharmacists, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies, dedicated to ensuring uniform strength, purity, and
formulation of drugs manufactured in the U.S.; it could and should take over the function of the FDA, without any need for the
power to ban.


Is the FDA just a misguided agency being too cautious with Look at its attitude towards truthful health claims by drug
manufacturers. There have been a number of studies showing that aspirin reduces the risk of heart attacks. One study of 22,000
doctors run by the Harvard Medical School was stopped prematurely, on the grounds that it was unethical to withhold aspirin from subjects getting placebos. The FDA responded by prohibiting aspirin manufacturers from making any reference to this study in their advertising.


--------------------
If you want a free lunch, you need to learn how to eat good advice.


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OfflineFrankieJustTrypt
and fell

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Re: Punishing Drugmakers for Doing Good [Re: FrankieJustTrypt]
    #3526333 - 12/21/04 02:22 AM (11 years, 11 months ago)

Medicine has progressed tremendously over the centuries. Thousands of treatments and cures have been discovered, allowing man to live a longer and healthier life. Yet at a time where our technology is the most advanced it has ever been, and a batch of new diseases like AIDs are ravaging the world, the cumbersome weight of the Food and Drug Administration is drastically slowing down medical progress. The years of testing and research skyrocket the prices of essential drugs, even though the research is worthless. The solution to protecting the consumer from perilous drugs is not to reinvent government regulations and agencies. Rather, it is to back the government out of the drug approval business, turning the task over to the private sector that has time and again proved its capacity to produce life-saving medicines.

http://www.jhu.edu/~newslett/03-07-97/Opinions/The_sick_cannot_afford_the_FDA.html


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If you want a free lunch, you need to learn how to eat good advice.


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