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6 minutes ago, Starlord said:

Wasn't HIV treatment free in some African countries due to the Aids epidemic there?

 

The companies were almost forced in to that because those countries were turning a blind eye to people producing generics out of copyright.  It is possible the same will happen here and Gilead (I think I might change my name if I were them) are simply cashing in before the inevitable forced charity occurs...

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In poorer countries where medical insurance is very uncommon. In the United States and other developed countries, the price is jacked 'way up. Of course if you're among the millions in those countries who can't afford health insurance or for whom the drugs aren't covered by a government plan, sucks to be you.

 

One critic of Gilead's pricing notes that the company received at least $70 million in public funds toward developing Remdesivir.

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4 hours ago, Doc Democracy said:

 

I think the article gives an idea of that

 

 

I reckon the cost, with the company waiving any profit (but covering costs such as scientists wages), might be somewhere between $600 and $700....

 

That sounds like the cost if you can produce it without contributing to the costs of creating the drug itself.  If those costs will never be recoverable, why would any business incur them?

 

3 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

In poorer countries where medical insurance is very uncommon. In the United States and other developed countries, the price is jacked 'way up. Of course if you're among the millions in those countries who can't afford health insurance or for whom the drugs aren't covered by a government plan, sucks to be you.

 

One critic of Gilead's pricing notes that the company received at least $70 million in public funds toward developing Remdesivir.

 

So how much more than that $70 million was spent by Gilead in development and testing this "promising" drug (still not certain it is effective, I note), costs not shared by generic producers who pay no royalties.  Do you think the doctors and nurses treating COVID-19 patients now should all be working for free as well?  It is a pandemic, after all!

 

It's all too easy to suggest that other people should donate their time, efforts and money.  As has been noted on these Boards, we in North America are quite affluent compared to the rest of the world. What if we each donated the cost of our computers and one years' Internet access to help cover these medical costs?

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I had not anticipated this direction when I first made my comment. I was really commenting more on the ridiculous way the medical system works in the United States compared to the rest of the civilized world. You know, Breaking Bad and all that.

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Ultimately, pharma costs boil down to the same as any for-profit healthcare issue.  What is the treatment worth to a man whose alternative is death?  Obviously the answer is going to be a little skewed in favor of the pharma company.  So now you have to approach the question from a different angle, which is what is a fair price for society to pay the pharma company for the development and production of a critical treatment?

 

The funny part is remdesivir hasn't yet completed any large scale trials to show how effective it really is.  This preprint review suggests it improves outcomes by around 5%.  That puts it squarely in the "guess it's better than nothing" category.

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5 hours ago, Hugh Neilson said:

 

So how much more than that $70 million was spent by Gilead in development and testing this "promising" drug (still not certain it is effective, I note), costs not shared by generic producers who pay no royalties.  Do you think the doctors and nurses treating COVID-19 patients now should all be working for free as well?  It is a pandemic, after all!

 

It's all too easy to suggest that other people should donate their time, efforts and money.  As has been noted on these Boards, we in North America are quite affluent compared to the rest of the world. What if we each donated the cost of our computers and one years' Internet access to help cover these medical costs?

 

Please don't turn me into a straw man. I already said in my last post that the drug company doesn't have to do this for free, just lower the price temporarily, enough to cover the expenses for this one drug. I said nothing about doctors or nurses.

 

The scientists who develop the drug don't receive a royalty or commission based on sales, they're salaried employees, perhaps also given stock options or other profit-sharing incentives from the drug company as a whole. They won't suffer if the company charges less. And they can afford to charge less within limits, because in Canada most drugs are considerably cheaper than in the United States, but big pharma still does business here.

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11 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

 

Please don't turn me into a straw man. I already said in my last post that the drug company doesn't have to do this for free, just lower the price temporarily, enough to cover the expenses for this one drug. I said nothing about doctors or nurses.

 

The fact that you said nothing about anyone else who is making their living/earning a profit in the treatment of the illness is my point.  Why should the drug company work for free, while everyone else gets paid?  What is special about the drug company that it should be singled out as the sole link in the development, production and distribution chain which should not be paid for its efforts.  We can debate what a fair return on its investment is, but of course we can debate whether anyone along the chain is being fairly compensated for their skills, efforts, time, etc.

 

It is a fallacy to talk about "the drug company" getting paid.  The company does not need money.  It does not buy a house, raise its kids, put food on the table, save for retirement or take exotic vacations.  It is a legal fiction.  The people who earn that money are the shareholders of the drug company.  Typically, for a public company at least, this would include a lot of pension funds, retirement savings plans and fixed-income seniors living their retirement years on their savings.  The profits earned by the drug company go to those shareholders, in the form of dividends and/or increased share prices, not to some black box "corporation" entity.

 

11 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

The scientists who develop the drug don't receive a royalty or commission based on sales, they're salaried employees, perhaps also given stock options or other profit-sharing incentives from the drug company as a whole. They won't suffer if the company charges less. And they can afford to charge less within limits, because in Canada most drugs are considerably cheaper than in the United States, but big pharma still does business here.

 

Salaried employees who get paid whether the drug is a huge success (big profit for the drug company and, by extension, its owners), delivers a modest return (for the company and its owners) or tanks and results in significant losses (again, for the company and its owners).  Risk also has to be compensated.

 

If those employees took on some risk by taking less salary and more stock options or profit-sharing incentives (which I think are pretty common in the biotech/pharmacare sector), then asking the drug company to take a discount is asking them to take a discount.

 

Without digging through the economics behind Canadian versus US sales, I can't speak to whether the costs in Canada are lower, higher or identical.  However, the differences between Canadian and US health care seem most driven by the private versus public health care models.  Those are less a question of whether everyone along the chain gets paid and more a question of who pays them.  Taken at a very high level, whether medical costs are appropriately allocated based on who had the misfortune to become ill (which, if you chose not to socially distance, wear masks, etc. may be quite appropriate in that you chose to place yourself at higher risk) or are more appropriately borne by society as a whole through government-funded health care financed by taxes (which, given the nature of a pandemic means everyone is at risk, may be quite appropriate as well). 

 

Now, if we want the drug companies to do their work (whether for specific illnesses or in general), perhaps the question should be whether the pharmacare industry is appropriately in the private sector, or should be taken over by government, but given the worldwide nature of pharamcare, that would be a huge undertaking to get international consensus.  I guess drugs developed in Country X could be sold to other nations at a profit and delivered within one's own borders at cost, but then the costs would depend on where the treatment was developed, and whether we have reciprocal medical pricing treaties with that nation (if they also have public, rather than private, pharmacare).

 

That's not a Coronavirus-specific issue, but the costs of medical treatment aren't unique to coronavirus either.  "Lucky you, you have caught the Pandemic of the Month and qualify for 15% off on treatment" versus "sorry, your illness is less common and we still charge full rates - you should have come down with COVID-19 instead of colon cancer"?  I think we are straying to the "politics" thread, if not a thread specific to appropriate funding of health care.

 

 

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The straw man is repeatedly asserting that I want the drug company to work "for free." To repeat, I said lower the price of this one drug to the point where it just covers expenses, during the pandemic. The hit to their shareholders would be negligible, their employees wouldn't take a pay cut or be laid off, and the company would reap huge public-relations benefits. And I'm not refuting the drug company's right to make a profit -- if they want they can raise the price again when the drug is no longer in demand for treating this plague.

 

I'm not debating capitalism or the right of the working class to earn a fair wage. Please stop casting me that way. In any case I can't make my point any clearer, so I'm done.

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6 minutes ago, death tribble said:

I have just found out about another casualty of the current epidemic. Kelloggs Frosties. Had not seen any for a few weeks and checked today in one of the supermarkets. None to be had in the entire South West region (UK).

When will this nightmare end ?

 

It's entirely possible the US government bought the entire world's supply of Kellogs Frosties as a Coronavirus treatment....

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On 7/1/2020 at 8:35 AM, Hugh Neilson said:

 

 

It's easy to toss out comments like that.  I wonder what the cost would be if the drug company removed its profit margin.  Would the researchers who developed the drug (and all of those working to develop other treatments) be expected to work for free?  How about the doctors, nurses and support staff at the medical facilities where the treatment will be administered?  Should the components with which the drug is manufactured be donated by their manufacturers (or at least reduced to no profit margin)?  Do you expect the transport companies that ship the drug to do so at no profit, and the employees who transport the drug to donate their time?  Every organization along the chain has premises and overhead costs - should those be donated by landlords, office supply companies, utility companies, etc.?

 

The reality is that nothing is free, and every cost along the chain adds to the cost of the treatment.

 

The quote from the company that sells it, if I recall correctly, is that they expect hospitals to save about $10,000 in care costs due to shortened stays per person that gets on the medication.  it's a pretty big net savings.

Even if you're the poor schmo paying $1200 for the treatment.  You're still saving your cut of the hospital care which is likely to be $1,000 to $2,000 on most insurance plans.

 

In related news we can skip trying to contain this epidemic now.  We've raised a generation of kids too stupid to think.

 

College Kids:  Read 13-15 years of pubic/private education and THIS is their idea of fun.

 

Have a party full of kids trying to get sick.  First one to pull it off gets the pot o' cash.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

The straw man is repeatedly asserting that I want the drug company to work "for free." To repeat, I said lower the price of this one drug to the point where it just covers expenses, during the pandemic. The hit to their shareholders would be negligible, their employees wouldn't take a pay cut or be laid off, and the company would reap huge public-relations benefits. And I'm not refuting the drug company's right to make a profit -- if they want they can raise the price again when the drug is no longer in demand for treating this plague.

 

So, not in the U.S. since Trump said the pandemic is over?  If the drug company would not take a significant hit by lowering their price to generate no profit, then the cost to the system generated by their profit must be equally insignificant.

 

And again, I do not see why it would be only the drug company's shareholders who should take the hit.

 

I keep remembering that really early post-Crisis Flash comic when Wally West could hit the speed of sound.  He carried a donor heart across the country.  And he required payment.  Everyone else in the chain was getting paid.  He needed extra calories for his heightened metabolism, and his expensive  high-durability boots wear out fast and need to be replaced pretty frequently.  Why should he be the only guy involved who does not get paid for his contributions?

 

2 hours ago, ScottishFox said:

 

The quote from the company that sells it, if I recall correctly, is that they expect hospitals to save about $10,000 in care costs due to shortened stays per person that gets on the medication.  it's a pretty big net savings.

Even if you're the poor schmo paying $1200 for the treatment.  You're still saving your cut of the hospital care which is likely to be $1,000 to $2,000 on most insurance plans.

 

That's a seriously interesting point and an angle I had not even considered.  Now, since it is the hospital or the insurance company saving all that money, maybe THEY should subsidize the extra cost to the patient and make it a win-win. 

 

Again, my simple question is why it would be appropriate to single out the drug company as the "bad guy" when no one else in the chain is sacrificing their bottom line either.

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24 minutes ago, Hugh Neilson said:

 

 

EDIT: No, I'm not going to get into this any more. We're talking about completely different subjects, and there's nothing to be gained by pursuing this debate. And I respect your general contributions around here too much to let myself get upset with you, Hugh.

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9 hours ago, Old Man said:

Super cool US county-by-county COVID-19 risk map

 

Arizona: don't be there.  Florida either.

 

Look at the entire Deep South, from East Texas all the way across to the North Carolina coast.  Seems like what isn't red is orange.  A county-level map for Arizona can offer something of a misrepresentation, because the counties are so large.  Granted:  plenty of other support for saying "stay away if you don't want to risk the virus."

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1 hour ago, Hugh Neilson said:

Again, my simple question is why it would be appropriate to single out the drug company as the "bad guy" when no one else in the chain is sacrificing their bottom line either.

 

The drug company is being singled out because it is a monopoly that is blatantly rubbing our noses in the fact that it can charge whatever it feels like for a drug that was at least partially funded by taxpayer dollars.  Even though in this case the final cost is not as high as it could have been, it's just another example of for-profit healthcare driving healthcare costs totally out of control. 

 

The most ridiculous part of the whole thing is Gilead justifying their cost by comparing it to supposed healthcare cost savings.  That's like charging $100,000 for an oil change because it saves you from buying a new Mercedes.  Who do they think they're fooling?  Especially when the entire healthcare cost structure they're comparing it to is extortionist in the first place.

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Specific to Gilead and remdesivir is the potential collusion, with the government agreeing to purchase 500K treatment courses at over $2K per.

 

And you've got to be very leery of Big Pharma generally.  FAR too many cases of product manipulation to extend patent control, of *massive* price gouging, etc.  

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