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Why Socialism? Him's soap box.
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Mindslicer



Joined: 04 Sep 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 9:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dogen wrote:
I think using the term "ideal" is overstating his position.


You think he responded to the question with solutions he thought were less than ideal? Interesting.
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ShadowCell



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"ideal" does not mean "perfect"
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Dogen



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mindslicer wrote:
Dogen wrote:
I think using the term "ideal" is overstating his position.


You think he responded to the question with solutions he thought were less than ideal? Interesting.

Yes. Is that the most interesting part of my post to you? And here I thought you had a reason to bring up health care.

ShadowCell wrote:
"ideal" does not mean "perfect"

I just checked two dictionaries, out of curiosity (why do we have so many of these "that doesn't mean what you think it means" conversations?), and one defined it as "satisfying one's conception of what is perfect," and the other, "existing as an archetypal idea; existing as a mental image or in fancy or imagination only, lacking practicality." Based on the context, I was using the first definition.
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mouse



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 10:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fritterdonut wrote:
The pharmaceuticals industry is a decent thing to look at as far as the market driving innovation; drug companies will fight tooth and nail to put out new drugs faster than the competition, or drugs that work better, or drugs that are safer.


i just have to hit on this, because i view the pharmaceutical industry as something that shows how bad the free market is. yes, drug companies fight to put out new drugs - if those drugs are profitable. that's why we have so many "lifestyle" drugs - ones that you take to combat high blood pressure and high cholesterol and the like. once you start on those, you tend to take them for the rest of your life, and so you are a dependable source of income to pharma. there is also competition to make things like viagra, because lots of men will pay for that, even though impotence is rarely life-threatening. so now viagra has lots of competitors. and those competitors don't actually have to work better - they just have to have the potential to sell.

what we don't get is things that have a limited market, no matter how necessary that drug might be. there is, for example, a disturbing dearth of new antibiotics in the pipeline. sure, a course of antibiotics may save your life - but then you stop taking them, and who knows how long it may be before you need them again? so-called "orphan diseases", the ones with relatively few sufferers, also tend not to get a lot of research effort, at least from private industry (note that this article mentions initial research funded by the government - so it seems the government can do something other than threaten people!).

and the competition to grab the market fast often means that in fact, drugs are not all that safe.

back in the days of snake oil salesmen, there was a perfectly free market in "drugs". manufacturers sold anything that would sell, regardless of effectiveness, or even in the face of causing downright harm - take a look at a case study in taking radon for its "health" benefits. radon was a huge fad in the 20's, people would buy lots of it, and sellers made a whole lot of money - but it didn't exactly benefit health.

what the free market is good at is allowing some people to make a huge amount of money. rewarding people who do beneficial things and punishing those who do harmful things - not so much.
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Monkey Mcdermott



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 12:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mindslicer wrote:
Dogen wrote:
I think using the term "ideal" is overstating his position.


You think he responded to the question with solutions he thought were less than ideal? Interesting.


As someone whose family has been buttfucked soundly (dad dropped by a private insurer after his foot slipping underneath a riding mower due to his prior heart attack, this led to bankruptcy and the loss of our home as he was caught up in the panicked raising of mortgage rates despite making his payments on time up til then) by the oh so wonderful free market medicine system, I brought forth solutions I found to be superior to what it is we have now. Still think so.

Edit: I simply find engaging mindslicer in discussion to be a waste of my time.
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Snorri



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 12:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mouse wrote:

what we don't get is things that have a limited market, no matter how necessary that drug might be. there is, for example, a disturbing dearth of new antibiotics in the pipeline. sure, a course of antibiotics may save your life - but then you stop taking them, and who knows how long it may be before you need them again? so-called "orphan diseases", the ones with relatively few sufferers, also tend not to get a lot of research effort, at least from private industry (note that this article mentions initial research funded by the government - so it seems the government can do something other than threaten people!).


The government has an incredibly important role in this regard. Initial research is what opens up possibilities for drugs that are of interest to the drug companies.

The free market is okay, it just needs a healthy government base to function properly.


Like, as mentioned in the article, that fabulous CF medicine that is "being denied" to that woman wouldn't even exist if not for the work of government-funded research.
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fritterdonut



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 4:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mouse wrote:
what we don't get is things that have a limited market, no matter how necessary that drug might be. there is, for example, a disturbing dearth of new antibiotics in the pipeline. sure, a course of antibiotics may save your life - but then you stop taking them, and who knows how long it may be before you need them again?


Actually, interestingly enough my chemistry professor (Doctorate in Organic Chemistry) and some of his grad students just lately applied for a patent on a new drug with antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties. The university offered to pay for the patent under the agreement that the university claims like 50% of any money made if a pharma company picks it up. Although even if it was, the amount of further research needed and the required testing regimens would require at least 5 years, most likely more to figure out how to produce the stuff in relatively bulk amounts.

Also, as far as drug prices go, I'd like to point out the fact that some drugs cost a lot because they are based off of very expensive, high grade reagents or require source material that is exceptionally rare. Taxol, an anti-cancer drug, cost an absolute fortune originally because it could only be derived from the bark of the Pacific Yew, an endangered plant. And artificially cultivated trees provided too low yields to use. The price however, dropped dramatically after someone figured out how to produce it semi-synthetically. Not that this is common - a lot of drugs are expensive because they have no competitors, they own the patent for the drug (You could debate the pros and cons of generic drugs and non-patenting of production methods), or they have a brand name they can use to bulk their price up.

Dogen wrote:
I think using the term "ideal" is overstating his position. Having lived in Canada and the US, I know I personally favor the Canadian system because it was dramatically (like 3 times) less expensive to me, and I got essentially the same care for the services I required when I lived there.


Woot. Canada.
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Sam



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 5:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

universal government health coverage is the superior option entirely and america's actuarial model is effectively a disaster, and it won't exist too terribly much longer; the only question is how much damage we'll cause in our reluctance to move beyond it sooner rather than later.
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mouse



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 9:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fritterdonut wrote:

Actually, interestingly enough my chemistry professor (Doctorate in Organic Chemistry) and some of his grad students just lately applied for a patent on a new drug with antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties. The university offered to pay for the patent under the agreement that the university claims like 50% of any money made if a pharma company picks it up.

so - the pharma is not willing to invest in the research themselves? where does the university get the money to invest - government grants, maybe? i'm not clear how this is an example of the free market driving development of a new drug - sounds more like the free market taking advantage of someone else's work, with no indication that they would have developed a new antibiotic themselves.

fritterdonut wrote:
Also, as far as drug prices go, I'd like to point out the fact that some drugs cost a lot because they are based off of very expensive, high grade reagents or require source material that is exceptionally rare.


where did i say that this was never the case?

fritterdonut wrote:
Not that this is common - a lot of drugs are expensive because they have no competitors, they own the patent for the drug (You could debate the pros and cons of generic drugs and non-patenting of production methods), or they have a brand name they can use to bulk their price up..


yes. this is pretty much basic operation of a free market - you have to pay what the market will bear. still not clear on how this proves that big pharma is a great example of the free market prompting innovation - which was the original subject, i believe.
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fritterdonut



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 11:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mouse wrote:
so - the pharma is not willing to invest in the research themselves? where does the university get the money to invest - government grants, maybe? i'm not clear how this is an example of the free market driving development of a new drug - sounds more like the free market taking advantage of someone else's work, with no indication that they would have developed a new antibiotic themselves.

where did i say that this was never the case?

yes. this is pretty much basic operation of a free market - you have to pay what the market will bear. still not clear on how this proves that big pharma is a great example of the free market prompting innovation - which was the original subject, i believe.


I wasn't actually talking about economics. I was more just rambling on about some cool developments in the field of pharmaceutical chemistry that I felt was semi-relevant given the article about the lack of development of new antibiotics. I like organic chemistry and think that developments like that are kinda cool, especially given the fact I can't take most antibiotics due to some allergies (Penicillin and all it's derivatives, Erythromycin and all related drugs, and all the Sulfonamide antibiotics).

And the price thing was more just talking about the astronomical price of that cystic fibrosis medication (£182,000 a year) that the company was offering for free to that woman with CF.
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mouse



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ah. ok. yeah, the chemists working on drugs sometimes make me wish i'd gone into chemistry.


particularly the ones who go diving on coral reefs to collect biological samples they can test for usefulness. i could totally live with being paid to go hang out on coral reefs and look at stuff.
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Kenshiro



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 11:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does anyone know of a source where I can find statistical data about the number of people in America who die each year of causes or conditions for which there were experimental drugs and procedures in development and testing? It sometimes takes a LONG time (20+ years sometimes) for a new drug to get approved by the FDA and I have to wonder how many people might have been saved by having the freedom to decide to try a radical experimental drug or procedure.

Similarly, I have to wonder how many fatalities per year can be contributed to disease progression from waiting in line in single-payer healthcare system countries, but I also haven't found a good source of data on that question just yet.
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fritterdonut



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 11:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mouse wrote:
ah. ok. yeah, the chemists working on drugs sometimes make me wish i'd gone into chemistry.


particularly the ones who go diving on coral reefs to collect biological samples they can test for usefulness. i could totally live with being paid to go hang out on coral reefs and look at stuff.


Our chem prof was telling us about the guys who were working with Taxol... because pacific yew is endangered it is illegal to take the bark off of them or cut them down. So grad students and profs would go scrape bark off of them in the middle of the night and take them back to the lab to refine it for experiments.

Turns out that it wasn't the bark itself, it was a microscopic fungi that only grows on that specific tree's bark.

Chemistry... it's cool stuff.
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mouse



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 12:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kenshiro wrote:
Does anyone know of a source where I can find statistical data about the number of people in America who die each year of causes or conditions for which there were experimental drugs and procedures in development and testing? It sometimes takes a LONG time (20+ years sometimes) for a new drug to get approved by the FDA and I have to wonder how many people might have been saved by having the freedom to decide to try a radical experimental drug or procedure.

Similarly, I have to wonder how many fatalities per year can be contributed to disease progression from waiting in line in single-payer healthcare system countries, but I also haven't found a good source of data on that question just yet.


well, the fda has a searchable database for their orphan products grants program - since all medical treatments have to get fda approval, you should get a good list of what is currently funded for study. now, there may be things in earlier testing that haven't yet been submitted for fda approval; if those are being done by pharmaceutical companies, they are probably kept pretty secret, for fear of getting scooped by another company. the cdc (cdc.gov) tracks causes of death; it looks like the multiple causes of mortality data is available for public use. that is probably pretty detailed and you would need to do the statistical work yourself, but the cdc does have tables you can dig out (just now sure how much they go into rare diseases).

of course, you realize the reason it can take years to get a drug or procedure approved is because this requires careful testing to show that it is both effective and safe. you might want to take a quick look at things like the history of laetrile, for example. the biomedical research world that runs its work through the fda for approval has spent a lot of time thinking through the ethics of experimenting on human subjects, and what is required to show a real benefit (as opposed to a collection of anecdotes). there is a lot of interest in getting drugs to market (and more importantly, available to patients) quickly, but some things really can't be rushed. for a rare disease, it might take years just to recruit enough people into a study to get statistical significance. people who have rare diseases (or even common ones, like cancer) may be desperate for a cure, and willing to pay anything and try anything that someone says might help them - unfortunately, this leaves them open to exploitation. hence, the careful, although time-consuming, process of getting fda approval.

as far as single-payer countries, you will have to ask people who actually live in such countries.
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Kenshiro



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 1:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SWEET!! Thanks much. Smile
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