Jack Daniel

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Few things are free and drugs aren't. If drug companies start losing money, drug prices will go up; or drugs will be discontinued. Importing drugs from Canada is not a solution to the high costs of drugs. To me, it's a short-term gimmick that will eventually be overused and drug companies will start lobbying for different strategies to make money. As for safety, I have absolutely no concerns about the safety of these drugs.
 
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Jack Daniel

In Memory of Riley Jane
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twester

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travis said:
The best article I've seen on this sort of thing :)

http://www.hooverdigest.org/043/roberts.html
I hardly think it's likely that all the blame or the onus for the solution of high drug prices can be placed on the FDA. This article was highly slanted towards the pharmaceutical industry. The pharmaceutical industry is terrified of government regulation and they hold the threat of a backslide to 19th century medicine as an axe over the consumer's head if it ever happens. They'll just sit down and stop developing new drugs? Highly doubtful. But they might have to stop saturating television with advertising and give up some of their multi-billion dollar profits.

Regulating prices in almost every developed country except the US has not stopped the pharmaceutical companies from "developing" new drugs. Can the FDA process be reformed? Yes, but this article suggests that as a stall tactic to protect the industry's "free lunch" not as a way to ensure the safety of medications.

I thought Herbert Hoover had been thoroughly discredited in the American political mind. Who brought him back from the dead? :laugh:
 

travis

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twester said:
I hardly think it's likely that all the blame or the onus for the solution of high drug prices can be placed on the FDA. This article was highly slanted towards the pharmaceutical industry. The pharmaceutical industry is terrified of government regulation and they hold the threat of a backslide to 19th century medicine as an axe over the consumer's head if it ever happens. They'll just sit down and stop developing new drugs? Highly doubtful. But they might have to stop saturating television with advertising and give up some of their multi-billion dollar profits.

Regulating prices in almost every developed country except the US has not stopped the pharmaceutical companies from "developing" new drugs. Can the FDA process be reformed? Yes, but this article suggests that as a stall tactic to protect the industry's "free lunch" not as a way to ensure the safety of medications.

I thought Herbert Hoover had been thoroughly discredited in the American political mind. Who brought him back from the dead? :laugh:
I don't know much about the publication or if its even named after Hoover, I just liked that article.

In fact, I don't think the author goes nearly far enough in describing the scourge the FDA has been inflicting on society. FYI:
http://www.neoperspectives.com/fda_tyranny.htm
 

Jack Daniel

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twester said:
I hardly think it's likely that all the blame or the onus for the solution of high drug prices can be placed on the FDA. This article was highly slanted towards the pharmaceutical industry.
The article's author writes mostly about why importing drugs (re-importation) from Canada is not a solution to the problem of un-affordable drugs (to which the author is sympathetic). Of the ~4 pages, only one paragraph on the last page is given to the idea that reforming the FDA's regulatory process of licensing a new drug might significantly lower the total costs of developing a drug.

This article, written by an economist, is essentially about price-controls. Regardless of whether you agree with his proposed solutions (he offers more than just reforming the FDA), the essense of the article is explaining why changing the laws to allow Americans to get drugs from Canada is nothing more than political pandering.
 

twester

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I agree that the article did a good job in explaining some of the economic principles involved in getting drugs from Canada even if it did start to sound a little Doomsday. And I agree that the drug approval process needs reform.

The author's conclusion (the part meant to stay with the reader) is that the FDA must be reformed and that will solve the problem of drug costs. I don't buy it. I agree that making the government a re-seller is a bad move (the defense industry example was well put). But to say that price controls will kill the industry was really exaggerated. Price controls are a good compromise between the current system and a government re-seller system. But I know it won't happen because our government wants to govern the people but not its corporations.
 

dilated

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That article was rather biased. The most ridiculous part was the assertion that "without Canadian policing, American manufacturers will withhold supplies from Canada to avoid losing all of their sales in the United States".

Um, yeah. I'm sure if Pfizer stops selling Lipitor in Canada, the Canadians will just have to sadly go without drugs for their citizens.

Hint: It would take about a week for generic manufacturers to begin producing the drugs after Canada invalidated the patents (and every treaty has exemptions for governments to do this in cases where it is necessary for the citizenry, so it wouldn't even be a WIPO violation). If you think they get cheap drugs now.....
 

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dilated said:
That article was rather biased. The most ridiculous part was the assertion that "without Canadian policing, American manufacturers will withhold supplies from Canada to avoid losing all of their sales in the United States".
I wouldn't call it ridiculous, as the author's predictions are beginning to come true:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/drugs/#more

Already three major companies – Eli Lilly and Co., Pfizer Inc. and GlaxoSmithKline PLC – have curtailed their supplies to Canadian pharmacies. And already those restrictions have driven up Canadian prices. While most drugs are cheaper in Canada than in the U.S., Pfizer's Viagra and Eli Lilly's Prozac are selling for more north of the border (see price comparison chart).

It's becoming a growing concern for Manitobans. They're worried the cross-border trade will effectively subsidize U.S. consumers at the expense of Canadians and that drug supplies will suffer because of the growing amount of prescription drugs being siphoned off by U.S. consumers.

A group called the Coalition for Manitoba Pharmacy says that if the trade is allowed to continue to grow, it would have "disastrous" effects on Manitoba's health care system. The group is especially concerned about the prospects of state governments using Canadian pharmacies to source their drugs.

Michele Fontaine is the CMP's vice-president. She says the increased appetite for Canadian pharmaceuticals has led to a shortage of drugs and pharmacists in Manitoba.

In an October 2003 letter, she implored Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich not to turn to Manitoba pharmacies for his state's drug supply. "It would be a disaster," wrote Fontaine. "A huge volume of drugs diverted to Illinois would make the shortages we're seeing even worse. I think the governor will listen to what we have to say. I don't think any American politician wants to try to solve a domestic problem by taking prescription drugs and pharmacy care away from Manitobans."
----

And if you think it fair that countries break drug patents (or more often threaten to, in effect, blackmailing the drug companies, aka brazil), then why shouldn't they break music, book, computer, electronic, automotive, or any other patents? Treating healthcare as something different than any other business has, IMO, led to most of the problems we are seeing...
 

dilated

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travis said:
And if you think it fair that countries break drug patents (or more often threaten to, in effect, blackmailing the drug companies, aka brazil), then why shouldn't they break music, book, computer, electronic, automotive, or any other patents? Treating healthcare as something different than any other business has, IMO, led to most of the problems we are seeing...
Well, the obvious response is "for the same reason that there is an exemption for them in intellectual property treaties", i.e. they are a matter of life and death and thus too important. On a philosophical basis, nobody really argues that there is some kind of natural law right to IP, it is a contract where society gives a temporary monopoly to a person/company in order to promote progress. If that monopoly threatens to cause people to keel over of heart disease, I certainly have no problem with breaking it.

And while they may have reduced inventories, the moment there is a real shortage it will be a repeat of Brazil: no democracy will tolerate people dying because of some multinational's patent, so the drug companies will either produce or lose the patent. The drug companies really have very little leverage. It's funny that you cite not treating healthcare as a business as a problem when the real problem is the artificial monopoly instituted by patents. If the government didn't interfere at all, there would be real price competition and this problem wouldn't exist.
 
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