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JLeslie's avatar

What did you think about the AIDS drug guy, Martin Shkreli's, responses about his drug prices?

Asked by JLeslie (59842points) February 5th, 2016 from iPhone

I think, why are so many people upset? And, why is he being singled out? Don’t get me wrong, I’m disgusted by the extreme profit made from life saving drugs, but at least half of our country (USA) is just fine with it. Rah rah free market and capitalism, and keep healthcare in the private sector without regulation.

Remember this Q about the new hep C drug? How is that any different?

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59 Answers

johnpowell's avatar

He just kept pleading the 5th. I never saw anything out of him besides smugness. I wish we could toss people in jail for being a asshole.

Edit :: And note that this hearing is not connected to the criminal charges he is facing. The big trouble he could be in for is related to this.

YARNLADY's avatar

Until Human Kindness grows stronger than Human Greed, we can’t be surprised by this type of behavior.

Seek's avatar

Toxoplasmosis. The drug treats toxoplasmosis, which can affect anyone with a weakened immune system, not just AIDS patients. There are also pregnant women (more specifically their fetuses), transplant patients, people being treated for autoimmune disorders, etc.

He’s being singled out because he is openly being an asshole about jacking up the price of a nearly 100 year old medicine several thousand percent.

He should be made an example of.

I also haven’t met anyone other than obvious internet trolls that supports him.

We are the United States of Fuck That Guy.

Darth_Algar's avatar

And he has the most punchable face on the planet.

elbanditoroso's avatar

It takes a certain type of guy who basically spits in the face of the US Congress.

I hope they hold him in contempt.

XOIIO's avatar

He’s a fucking asshole. First he sticks to keeping the price high, then oh finally after a load of shit says he will lower the price, then waits the storm over to quietly keep the price the same.

Fuck him.

jca's avatar

He kept the price the same?

He’s a pompous asshole. He’s probably the most hated man in America, or one of them.

chyna's avatar

I don’t think half our country is okay with what this smirky ass jerk did. His personality alone makes him a target of hate and to take a much needed drug for certain illnesses and up the price by a thousand percent certainly did not endear him to half the population.

I actually think that the people that generally don’t care about such things were even pissed at this jerk.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

People like this will do anything and they have an uncanny way of getting themselves into positions of power. Is it any surprise that things are fucked up?

efnuttin's avatar

I have no problem with his business decisions. Entrepreneurs invest to make money. How well they profit depends on how well they invest. They don’t invest because they want to help society. Help may be a byproduct of investing, but not necessarily for everyone. He saw value in something that was undervalued and he took advantage of it. He would be a pretty awful entrepreneur if he didn’t conduct business that way. Martin Shkreli set a price that high because he knows it is a valuable product and he knows there is a market still willing to pay those prices. .

I do the exact same thing when I buy what I think is undervalued property, houses, or products and resell it at much higher prices. It is for the same reason, to make money. However, even though people really want or need the product, they have price thresholds that they’re unwilling to exceed, which means I can only set a price as high as I think people are still willing to pay, otherwise I wouldn’t make a profit. Neither would Martin.

I’m an audiophile and videophile, so I buy the best equipment that is available for purchase when it comes to audio and video. If I do a basic rundown of what it costs the company to make it and calculate a reasonable profit, I find that the price they’re asking is extremely high for what I am getting. A normal person would take his business elsewhere. However, because I really, really, like the headphones and feel I need it, I’m willing to pay, get ready for it….$5,000 for a pair of headphones. The company knows there are other nutjobs like me out there and they know their headphones are very valuable, so they get away with selling their headphones for unreasonable prices.

SavoirFaire's avatar

^ And proving @Seek‘s point, there’s one of our recurring trolls right on schedule.

JLeslie's avatar

@efnuttin The difference is buying audio and video equipment doesn’t compare to being sick and dying. You can choose to spend a bunch of money on audio equipment, how do you choose not to take life saving medicine? It’s an unfair advantage.

@chyna Every Republican who talks about pharmaceutical companies spending “all that money on research, and the American way is greed and that’s a good thing” and who is against controlling costs in medical care, is fine with this guy Martin whether they consciously realize it or not. Some of them might not put two and two together, but they should. They can’t seem to separate healthcare from other parts of business.

I do not mean all republicans, I’m only talking about the ones who talk and think like this.

So, maybe you’re right, not half, but a good 30 percent at least I bet.

@Seek As far as I’m concerned all the drug companies and medical providers are smug about making tons of money. Look at Gilead’s response on that Q I linked. Or, one of my friends who is a doctor who has a huge home, a lake house, paid for three kids to go through college, one through his masters, has 8 cars, and complains he can’t make as much money anymore. He is a libertarian, but a registered Republican.

SavoirFaire's avatar

People are upset because a drug that was already profitable at $13.50 was raised to $750 (an increase of about 5,556%). Even people who are fine with capitalism and entrepreneurism understand that there is a point at which prices becomes exploitative, which is why its unfair to say that half the country is okay with this. Just because they are okay with a capitalist system of economics doesn’t mean they are okay with abuses of that system.

Besides, “all the market will bear” isn’t even good economics, so consistent capitalists should not think this is a good idea. (Consistent capitalists should also realize that the marketplace includes the marketplace of ideas, and therefore objections to exploitative pricing are part of the overall market conditions. In economic terms, such objections are just another kind of negative advertising.)

As for Shkreli, he isn’t really being singled out. When the news first broke, there were plenty of stories about other companies that were doing essentially the same thing. But Shkreli became the face of the problem due to the extreme nature of his case (while other companies do the same thing, no one else has done it to quite the same extent), his utter shamelessness (which is what has earned him the reputation of being unusually smug among a crowd of people known for smugness), and the fact that he is also under indictment for securities fraud (which is taken as a sign of his general character, even if the charge is technically unrelated). There’s a difference, however, between being singled out and being the face of a problem. It’s the difference between being the only target and being the most recognizable one.

As for the question about the hepatitis C drug, it’s not any different. But notice that a lot of people on that question thought that Gilead had acted poorly and that the price of their drug should be lowered.

Cruiser's avatar

@JLeslie those that may not have been concerned or upset by this CEO douchebag…after they view this video of his testimony to Congress they will no longer be fine with his condescending shmuckery.

JLeslie's avatar

@Cruiser I don’t see why anyone who is pro “make all the money you can no matter what industry” would have a problem with him. He is the American capitalistic way, isn’t he? I don’t see one problem with him evoking his 5th amendment rights and following the advice of his attorney, and I hate the gouging done in healthcare.

Seek's avatar

Because they love fetuses, and sometimes fetuses that aren’t attached to millionaires get toxoplasmosis. So unless they’re hypocrites, they should be CLAWING AT THE GODDAMNED WALLS to wring this prick’s neck for hurting potential tiny humans through his avarice.

JLeslie's avatar

@SavoirFaire Who had trouble with the hep c drug price? Our typical jellies who always have trouble with the price. Then there were our jellies who tend to lean right regarding healthcare justifying it’s cheaper than current treatments.

Pachy's avatar

I’d love to see The Bern get a crack at this corporate pirate!

Jaxk's avatar

I don’t know Martin Shkreli but I saw just a few minutes of his testimony. The premise of your question. however, is wrong. This is not the ‘Free Enterprise’ system at work. It is a government sanctioned monopoly. Free enterprise requires competition to work and there is no competition here. It would be easy to go through all the regulations and costs for developing drugs but what’s the point when when everyone seems to have some convoluted answer already in mind. Government screws up so we need more government to fix it. I think I have that on tape.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jaxk I’m not sure it is a monopoly, although I do appreciate you pointing out we in America do acknowledge monopolies are a problem. Some of us anyway. Someone mentioned the media got a hold of this AIDS drug story when a generic was offered? I’m not sure. Our patent system for drugs basically allows drug companies to have a monopoly though.

There was a report on TV about a new cancer drug for something (I wish I remembered the details) and when it came out at a crazy high price the other older drug that treats similar cancers raised it’s price too. That’s collusion in my mind. This sort of thing happens constantly in health care.

I think competition works great in many markets, but in health care the end user is in a bad position, almost no leverage, if any. Add to it the middle men, the insurers, seem to be in bed with everyone who is profiting.

There is no need to lower your price if insurance will pay and employers continue to pay high insurance premiums.

Seek's avatar

It. Is. Not. An. AIDS. Drug.

Jaxk's avatar

@JLeslie – Interesting conclusions. We just went through a major upheaval of the health care system (ACA) that requires everyone to participate in that insurance scam you’re belittling. I can assure you that more regulation won’t lower the cost of drugs but always raises the cost.

The collusion you describe is not collusion. Checking the price points of your competitors is a normal business practice and only crosses over to collusion when there is some interaction between the parties to cooperate on pricing. Hell, I check the prices of my competitors daily to insure my prices are competitive yet I’ve never even spoken with them. If you don’t know what your competition is doing, free enterprise doesn’t work.

JLeslie's avatar

@Seek Ok. That’s how it was reported in the news clip I saw. My mistake. Doesn’t matter what type of drug in my opinion regarding the argument, but it does matter that I refer to this particular drug correctly so I appreciate your correction.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jaxk I am in no way defending ACA, let’s get that straight. No one in power has done shit to address pricing in my opinion. Not in the fed anyway.

Sure, checking prices in business makes sense, but in your business it’s probably a difference of a customer paying 25¢ to $10 more and no one is dying without the box of Velveeta shells you might be selling them.

I think we need to reign in profit margins on health care. We can’t expect anyone to be in the red, but we can ask they make millions instead of billions.

JLeslie's avatar

@Seek And, if the drug does treat what you said and that’s why more republicans are on board it’s almost worse to me! They get upset when they think their wife or daughter or unborn child is in danger, but don’t give a shit otherwise? Everyone is someone’s spouse or child or parent.

chyna's avatar

Why are you singeling out republicans? Did I miss something?

Rarebear's avatar

Big difference.
What Shkreli did was take a cheap drug, corner the market through acquisition, and then raise price to astronomical costs. He gives assholes a bad name.

The hepatitis C drugs are different in that it’s the culmination of years of research and tens of thousands of person hours.

JLeslie's avatar

@chyna Not all Republicans. It is the Republicans mostly singing the song of allowing pharma to do as they please. Have you ever been inside a pharma company? I have. I was at Glaxo for a while. Some of the executives had a bunch of Bush signs (this is years ago obviously) in their office. Don’t dare be a democrat among them.

JLeslie's avatar

@Rarebear Actually, it said Gilead bought the drug, I’m not sure if that’s correct. Obviously, someone, or entity, did do years of research and risk taking. It doesn’t change that they will make billions fast and that $84k is a fortune for most people, and even when absorbed into an insurance group.

stanleybmanly's avatar

This man is being singled out because he makes no pretense that things are other than they are in the pharmaceutical industry. The fact that he’s arrogant as well as greedy should not distract us from what’s going on regarding the drug business. HE DID IT AND IT’S LEGAL. The industry devotes tens of millions to camouflaging the fact that such practices are routine (though usually less exaggerated). We are actually fortunate to witness someone unwilling to “play ball” in perpetuating the charade foisted on the public by the drug lords in collusion with their Congressional whores. And the reaction of the whorehouse? “We’re shocked, SHOCKED that there’s gouging going on”. So time to hold damage control cover our ass show hearings of outrage and astonishment. Did anybody fall for it? “Soitantly!”

I for one believe Shkreli is fully justified in every bit of the contempt he holds for the whores he and his buddies have lavished all those riches on, now supposedly gnashing their teeth over the results. He’s also correct in holding the rest of us in such low regard while seeing to it that “we get what we deserve,”

Cruiser's avatar

Not being nit picky just want to clear a couple things up here…

Turing does have a competitor
and according to Wiki Daraprim is used as an AID’s “cocktail” when taken with sulfonamide antibiotic sulfadiazine when treating HIV-positive individuals.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@Jaxk It always floors me how readily you adopt the industry line. The Shkreli show is EXACTLY what the pharmaceutical and every other major corporation have in mind when those words “Free Enterprise System” are tossed around. In fact you have to exist in a coma not to notice that those 3 words ALWAYS come up whenever correctives are suggested to stifle flagrant abuse. How can you parrot that industry bullshit about regulation. “I can assure you that more regulation will not lower the cost of drugs” when it does and HAS EVERYWHERE ELSE?

JLeslie's avatar

@Cruiser Thanks.

@stanleybmanly Thank you too.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@JLeslie The only person I remember taking Gilead’s side at all on the other question was @Cruiser, and his point was that Gilead was effectively reducing the cost of treatment for hepatitis C (whereas Shkreli has done nothing but increase the cost for Daraprim). So while he and I disagree about what Gilead should have done, it seems to me that @Cruiser has a perfectly good justification for having a different opinion about Gilead than he has about Shkreli.

@stanleybmanly Perhaps that’s what they have in mind when they say “free enterprise,” but @Jaxk‘s point is that they are mistaken if they think that’s what free enterprise looks like. I made a somewhat similar point above when I pointed out that what Shkreli did is not good capitalism (even in theory). I also imagine that @Jaxk would point out that it’s not regulation that has lowered the cost of drugs so much as allowing parties to negotiate (a power that most governments hold onto when they take over responsibility for health care, but one that the US government has routinely forfeited thanks to the efforts of lobbyists).

JLeslie's avatar

@SavoirFaire I’m saying @Cruiser tends to agree with the Republicans, and most jellies tend to agree with the democrats. My only point is, people are just lining up in their usual way, through their usual lens of how they see this sort of thing. That’s fine, I’m not saying they shouldn’t have an opinion contrary to mine or anything like that.

I think healthcare is different than other industries. We can be capitalists and still put healthcare aside as something to provide for the masses. Something that people in the system who provide for us should earn great salaries, and profit, but not so much it does a lot of harm. Many people you can’t, or we shouldn’t, separate out any industry, not even healthcare. They want to privatize everything from healthcare to schools, to building roads and fighting fires. They are very black and white about it. I’m not saying @Cruiser or even @Jaxk on this thread are black and white to that extreme, I don’t know and I don’t assume, I’m just saying we have quite a bit of people like that in the country. Both the jellies I named make some valid and interesting points, as usual, but I don’t see me ever being ok with capitalizing to such extremes on someone’s life or death situation.

Plus, it seems there is competition for the drug, so I go back to this Martin guy is the same as the rest of them charging outrageous prices. I just can’t get up the umph to be more disgusted by him. This interview with congress is a waste of time and money and just posturing in my opinion. If they aren’t going to do something to reveal this sort of thing throughout medical care why bother at all with this one guy? As far as I can tell he did nothing illegal regarding the medicine.

johnpowell's avatar

It is pretty funny. I have a bunch of XBI. This guys antics has cost me thousands of dollars.

He jacks up the drug price, Hillary tweets that she will do something about, XBI crashes, I will now be vacationing at Burger King parking lot.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@JLeslie Your question implies that you think people see the two cases as being different, while your answers imply that you think people see the cases two cases as being the same. This is a nonsensical position to be in, so figure out how to say what you actually mean and we can go from there. To summarize my own view: I think that most people see these cases as being essentially the same, but that people who see them as different have a reasonable explanation for why they want to distinguish the cases.

As for Shkreli having competition, it’s a bit more complicated than you or @Cruiser seem to realize. Imprimis does not produce Daraprim. They produce an unregulated, made-to-order compound of pyrimethamine and leucovorin (the main ingredients of Daraprim) in different proportions. The doctor needs to figure out which proportion of pyrimethamine to leucovorin is appropriate for each given patient, at which point the capsules are custom manufactured.

The customization part might sound like a net positive, but pharmaceutical compounders have a history of not doing a very good job. In fact, one particular incident led to a rare instance of Congress increasing the FDA’s regulatory power. Furthermore, Imprimis itself doesn’t have a particularly strong history in this area (and has only been in the pharmaceutical business since 2011). Their first drug didn’t work, their second drug was never sold to even a single person, and their third drug was developed and manufactured by a different company and only licensed through Imprimis. So even if their Daraprim alternative is great, doctors are likely to be wary of ordering it.

And finally, Imprimis’ authorization to offer a Daraprim alternative could evaporate at any second. They are currently operating on a loophole in FDA regulations. But this loophole only exists because the FDA has not issued a final ruling on regulations for pharmaceutical compounders (leaving Imprimis to operate on a set of interim regulations). When the final regulations are released, Imprimis may have to either build all new facilities or get out of the compounding game altogether. Thus we can’t be confident of a continuous supply of their alternative compound even if we wanted to use it.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@Jaxk & @Cruiser are extremely valuable to this place. Frankly, I think anyone attempting to mount a rational defense for what passes as conservative policies these days has a very full plate. For the overall health of our house, it isn’t good that the numbers are so lopsidedly left. And I respect them both for having the grit to stand in the face of the winds blowing abrasively against them. I wish there were a right leaning equivalent to fluther that lefties might infect.

Jaxk's avatar

It sounds like @Savoirfaire has a much better handle on this than most of us, certainly more than me. The bottom line for me is that Biotech is a thriving industry. Incredible new drugs are being developed and tons of money is being invested. Some bring fortune to the investors and some go bust and yes, some game the system. My biggest fear is that we will regulate this process into oblivion. Hell we’re on the verge of beating Cancer, Alzheimer’s, hell even the aging process. That doesn’t mean we can’t deal with the abuses but it does mean we should be wary of changing the process to get even with a single abuser.

@stanleybmanly – We’re working on a cure for that infection.

JLeslie's avatar

@SavoirFaire My position is I see them the same, I didn’t try to hide that in any way. Some people see them as different, that’s fine with me, that’s why I like Fluther. I like to hear differing opinions, to reconsider my position possibly, and to state why I myself think what I do. Even the jellies I mostly disagreed with on this Q I thanked for some of their opinions, and for providing facts. I’m not all black and white. I’m not crucifying what I see as the “opposite” side on this issue. I’m not sure why you are harping on me. Not to mention it’s my Q. I’m very happy with the answers so far.

@stanleybmanly Absolutely! I’m very happy to hear opinions different than mine, and I wish Fluther was even more diverse politically, and more diverse period for that matter. The more points of view the better.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@JLeslie I understand that you see them the same. The problem is that the words you used in the OP implied that no one else does. This is not true. Notice that this has nothing to do with the responses you have received or whether you welcome different opinions or not. It is about the assumptions that you have (perhaps mistakenly) conveyed. Nor am I harping on. All I was doing was clarifying, and I have tried to make the clarificatory parts of my responses shorter than the substantive parts of the response so as to focus on the main question. Why this has upset you so much I cannot understand.

JLeslie's avatar

Are there any other jellies on this thread who think that I don’t believe that some people see the Hep C Gilead drug and the Martin Shkreli drug as different situations? Sure, I see it as the same, I think I made that quite plain, but do any jellies think I am unaware some jellies see them as different? Do you think I don’t understand why you see them as different, even though I disagree? I guess @Rarebear, @Cruiser, or @Jaxk could answer it best, but I’m open to anyone on this thread who wants to tell me I wasn’t clear in how I worded things. @SavoirFaire keeps telling me my communication/English sucks, and I just thought another jelly might be able to straighten me out where I’m missing it, because I’m not really seeing where I have not been transparent about my opinion, nor where I don’t accept differing opinions. Please don’t be shy.

Cruiser's avatar

@JLeslie I am not 100% sure where we disconnect on our perceptions here. I will set aside Martins smarmy looks and condescending attitude aside and this is how I see it. It takes 10 years and 2.4 billion dollars of investment and loss of revenue that money could otherwise ear if it was put to “work” in more immediate investments. That is a HUGE amount of capital and why pharmaceuticals are afforded protection so they can recoup the upfront costs.
Daraprim has been around since 1953 and the R&D costs were probably a fraction of what the FDA now requires and either way those costs were recouped a long time ago. So Martin and his investors buy up this drug and dramatically jack up the price just because they can in order (by his own admission) to make as much profit as possible. Very little to love in a move like that and a lot of bad mojo to go around knowing that is their missions statement about owning the rights to that drug. The worst part about it is sure insurance will cover that higher cost but in the end we all pay for that bend over and grab your ankles move as all medical cost are pooled together and our health insurance premiums are reflective of all costs that insurance covers. So to me it Royally suck when someone like Martin comes along and takes advantage of a situation with nothing but greed as their motivation. He did nothing to further medical care other than to with a stroke of a pen make it more costly just for the sake of profits and why as @Darth_Algar so eloquently puts how much more punchable Martin’s face is now.

Brian1946's avatar

I wonder how well a Trump-Shkreli ticket would do this November.

JLeslie's avatar

@Cruiser Thanks for taking the time to write how you see the Martin situation. I guess, my impressions is many people in the country think it’s fine to charge any price for anything if the market will buy it. That’s how it seems to me by what so many say about capitalism in our country and free market. I’m not assuming you agree with that statement.

If the goal is always the most profit possible, then it doesn’t really matter if the person is outwardly smug or even laughing about it or not in my opinion. I think pharma companies when they charge outrageous prices (outrageous in my opinion) and people and insurers pay the price, the ivory tower of the pharma company looks at the bottom line and does high fives as they dance around the room.

I do understand why you see the two differently though.

I know a lot of people who see no problem with greed period. Greed for any reason if they can get away with it. Then the same people often talk about charity. It’s interesting. I came across this a lot in the south.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Let’s look at Gilead and Sovaldi. Sovaldi treats HCV. Sovaldi works better than existing treatments, is better tolerated by patients and cheaper. (Yes it looks expensive when you look at the sticker price but you need less of it and you need less of all the other stuff normally given to patients having HCV eradication therapy to deal with the side effects) The cost of developing a single novel medicine is around $1 billion. The patent is for 20 years but the FDA approval needed to sell the stuff can take 8–10 years. This gives the company about 10 years to make their money back and pay for the next thing. After 10 years the patent expires and anyone can produce the stuff and the price goes down (well that’s the theory and in most countries in the world that’s how it works….)

Now let’s look at Turing. Daraprim® (pyrimethamine) is an ancient, off patent med. In the UK you can get 30 days’ worth for about £10. In India there are about 5 companies producing it and it’s about 3 cents a tablet. This is what it should cost in the US now that it’s off patent and has been for the last 40 years. What Turing did was get exclusive marketing rights from the FDA for something that no one else wanted to produce and then increased an already stupid price ($13.50 per tablet) as far as they could and hoped everyone would be too stupid to notice the difference between a novel treatment and what basically amounts to patent trolling.

And they’re not alone in this. In the US you’re now paying over the odds for drugs that should be available as cheap generics (Cycloserine, Doxycycline… the list goes on).

JLeslie's avatar

Here is a detailed article about the Gilead drug.

Some insurers won’t cover the drug until the patient has liver damage. The company is selling it at discounted rates over seas. That means either we help subsidize other countries, or we allow ourselves to be overcharged, because the way our system works, the cost is spread out among enough people, and we are duped enough, that we blame the wrong people and problems for our high healthcare premiums, deductibles, and copays.

Gilead bought the drug, the company that developed it, and did the initial research and testing.

The article states that the trend for drugs that treat life threatening diseases is for new drugs to price higher than older drugs, and then the older drugs raise their prices. Competition is not bringing down prices in these instances, it’s doing the opposite.

Not to mention the federal government often gives grant money for medical research to private companies, I don’t know if they did in this case.

Here is an article about the VA refusing to pay for the treatment.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@SavoirFaire It is really important to point out that it IS indeed regulation which is responsible for obscenely inflated drug prices in the United States. But instead of regulation of the industry, it is CONSUMERS who are forced by law to accept whatever the thieves think acceptable. And as for other countries, “negotiate” is one way of describing a process wherein the governments announce “I will pay you this. Take it or leave it. If you don’t take it, we’ll see to it that it’s made elsewhere.”

SavoirFaire's avatar

@JLeslie Please don’t misrepresent what I’ve said. At no point have I said that your opinion has not been transparent or that you don’t accept differing opinions. What I said is that the last sentence of your OP implies something different than your responses.

@stanleybmanly I don’t disagree. My point was just that @Jaxk doesn’t have to disagree either. The whole point about governments negotiating is somewhat moot for him, of course, since he doesn’t want the government in the health care business. But surely he would agree that the consumers shouldn’t be regulated in the way they are. As for negotiating via ultimatum, it is still a form of negotiating. And it is absurd that the US government forfeited its right to make such demands when it decided to get into the health care business.

Response moderated
stanleybmanly's avatar

One of the really sinister things about the TPP is the effort to bend other governments to the U.S model of drug patent protection and exclusivity, the most flagrantly corrupt and dishonest setup in any market you care to name.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@stanleybmanly Yeah, I’m not a fan of the TPP. In the last 50 years or so, the intellectual property regime of the United States has moved away from the original purpose of having copyright and trademark protections in the first place (which was to increase distribution in a way that didn’t bankrupt creators). It was never meant to allow perpetual control over ideas and technologies. So while I understand the attempts to get Asian nations to comply with some sort of international agreement regarding intellectual property, I agree that the current US standards aren’t the ones to globalize.

nadoa's avatar

Well, I believe that intellectual property, whether original or acquired is apart of personal autonomy which should be protected for every individual. Given that, Martin’s response was appropriate because he should be able to do whatever he wants with his acquired property without having to explain his reasoning to anyone. The government or the people can react any way they please as long as they don’t interfere with Martin’s autonomy.

Martin isn’t violating anyone’s autonomy by pricing some customers out of the market because the customers don’t own it and are not entitled to the product, or at least shouldn’t be.

Jaxk's avatar

Let’s see, government totally controls the drug industry by handing out patents that provide a monopoly on new drugs. They also hand out exclusive marketing agreements for older drugs. They regulate the development process so that any new drug that might compete for this business takes a decade or more and cost billions. Then the government also manipulates the market place by stipulating that everyone be covered by insurance as well as what the insurance must cover. Now we complain that the cost is too high and blame the ‘Free market System’, then demand more regulation to fix it. This has got to be a joke.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jaxk You made me smile and LOL. I can see the irony. However, I don’t see how a true free market regarding pharmaceuticals with no government interference would bring down prices necessarily. I take daily medication. I likely would eventually die without it. It’s relatively cheap. If all the manufacturers who make the drug decided to increase the price 10,000% what could I do? I am at their mercy. Plus, I can’t take all the brands, I know I am allergic to one of them for sure.

I guess we do need some protection for pharma companies to recover money spent on research. We have to have regulations and guidelines for testing drugs, we have to protect the population to some extent, don’t you agree?

Is it easy to copy a drug? What I mean is, if I give a lab a pill, is it easy to analyze it and copy the recipe? Do they need the patent protection? They certainly don’t need the bullshit extensions they get for new uses. The new use testing does cost some money, but not a lot.

Maybe the government needs to be more involved in the process and take profit out of it altogether? I don’t think that’s the best solution. All I want is some sort of reasonable cap. If pharma didn’t take so much advantage there wouldn’t be this push back. It’s why do unions develop? Because companies were too abusive. If they always had been reasonable and fair, there would less likely be unions. Why do socialist leaders get voted in? Because the masses feel they can’t catch a break and feeling like they are losing a lot of ground financially, being taken advantage of. I wouldn’t be asking for a cap if the profit looked more reasonable to me. It’s taking advantage of the sick, and abusing all of us who pay into the system. It lacks integrity.

In your own business if you were making $1million in profit a year, or could make $1.1 million by paying your staff half the wage, and working them 60 hours a week would you do it? Is that extra 10% worth your staff struggling day to day when you already make a nice sum?

Jaxk's avatar

I do believe in the patent process. It’s what keeps the developers developing. Without it we would see fewer new drugs and less money to back them. I guess my basic point is that more regulation is not always the answer, sometime less is better. For instance if I had a life threatening disease (Cancer or some equivalent) and a new drug was created but not approved, I would like the option to get that treatment at my own risk. Or if the government is handing out exclusive marketing rights who would do that with no pricing stipulations. I’ve never signed a contract in my life that didn’t have pricing in it.

As for your union example, I know that if I over work my employees, quality suffers. If I make everyone part time to limit my employee costs, turnover increases. If I under pay my employees, both quality and turnover suffer. I don’t need the government to tell this. My business works better when my employees want to work for me and my profits do better. None of this means I give them everything they want however. Basically what you stipulate in your last paragraph doesn’t happen. What happens is a death spiral with profits shrinking over time. It’s only government regulation that could force me to do that and if I’m forced into it, my competitors face the same problem. Only the employees and the customers suffer but they have no where to go.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jaxk I think we actually are agreeing it’s better for you to treat your employees within reason, and not have the government, or even a union, interfere.

There are exceptions to FDA regulations for drugs still not approved to be tried on terminal patients at their own risk. Probably, you still would not like that the government has the right to refuse it, but just know exceptions are made for drugs that seem very promising.

As far as pricing in contracts, it just makes me think about how opaque pricing is in healthcare. How often do you know what a treatment or procedure will be before you have it done? Do you know exactly what dollar amount will be on the bill before you open it?

stanleybmanly's avatar

The government is the problem alright, and no concrete example more clearly illustrates the nature of the problem than the government relationship with the pharmaceutical industry. For the truth is that this is a relationship where the function of government has somehow been made to stand on its head. And it’s particularly noteworthy that all of those industries whining the loudest about government strangling of their enterprises are exactly the ones raking in record breathtaking profits at the expense of you and I. And how has this miracle of commerce come to pass? It’s obvious to anyone willing to look. Simply put, government regulation has been shifted from protecting the public from unethical abuse at the hands of these enterprises to the actual enhancement of these thieves at the public expense. In both banking and drugs it is now the PUBLIC that is regulated to the benefit of these businesses through laws enacted which ON THEIR FACE ARE CLEARLY AGAINST THE PUBLIC INTERST. Government regulation is a problem because the industries supposedly regulated WRITE the regulations.

JLeslie's avatar

@stanleybmanly Reminds of when HMO’s were enacted. They knew (the government and health insurance companies) that they would make a fortune. Sold to the country as affordable health care for everyone. At that point, it spurred more and more employers providing fewer choices to employees for health coverage and employers received tax write-offs for paying health insurance for employees. It reduced competition considerably and the end consumer no longer knew how much health care really cost anymore (just to support what Republicans often point out). The problem is we have this middle man system with the insurance companies and you are right, the insurance companies have incredible influence over how the laws are written in healthcare.

There are quotes of Nixon talking about the HMO’s and how companies should/would make a fortune. Some argue it was the push by some democrats to have socialized medicine that led to what was looked at as a compromise by having HMO’s. My point is in the end insurance companies wrote those HMO laws to benefit themselves and sold it to the public as a great thing. Tried to sell it like that. Anyone who needs a lot of medical care quickly hated that system. I switched out as fast as I could. I paid more, I didn’t care. HMO was a torture for me once I developed health problems.

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