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Thread: Does Drug Development Require Profit?

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    Does Drug Development Require Profit?

    Two items over at electoral-vote.com blog today regarding Biden's negotiations with Europe:

    Vaccine patents: Many people in Europe want the U.S. to waive patent rights on the COVID-19 vaccines to allow any company anywhere to produce them. Pfizer and Moderna are wildly against doing this and have said if these patents can be suspended, then there will be more suspensions of patents in the future and no drug company will do research any more. The U.S. has so far backed the drug companies. How will this play out?



    Cost of drugs: The U.S. often complains that Europe doesn't pay enough for drugs, leaving U.S. companies reliant on U.S. customers to keep the companies healthy. But progressives want Medicare to negotiate with the drug companies to lower U.S. prices. If the U.S. and the E.U. both get low prices, will the drug companies remain in business?
    So if big pharma in America won't make drugs, who will?

    Well, what about US Government labs?

    Some thoughts:

    Big Pharma:
    • employs lots of smart people, who would still be smart without jobs at that place.
    • pays large salaries to executives
    • pays big dividends to shareholders
    • will only work on high profit solutions, even if the low-profit items are a huge boost to the economy



    Government
    • can employ the same smart people. (strangely bimodal arguments about whether government jobs are not worth taking versus government workers having it easy with fabulous retirement)
    • doesn't have to pay huge salaries to executives
    • doesn't have to pay anything at all to shareholders.
    • can use the difference to attract and retain the smart people
    • receives direct dividends (unspent medicaid) for any discovery that helps the nation's people, even when they can't pay



    It seems like the government lab system has proven itself time and again, and that it is counter to its charter to protect the interests of a few rich people over the betterment of the whole.

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    The United States already has a mixed public, private biomedical research system. The real, scientific heavy-lifting is mostly publicly funded through the NIH and NSF, and occurs at Universities.

    I guess the idea is that we put huge regulatory obstacles in front of gettin a therapeutic agent into human beings, and thus, we use the private sector for the last mile and since it is incredibly expensive, the expect to make a lot of money to recoup costs and make a profit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J842P View Post
    The United States already has a mixed public, private biomedical research system. The real, scientific heavy-lifting is mostly publicly funded through the NIH and NSF, and occurs at Universities.

    I guess the idea is that we put huge regulatory obstacles in front of gettin a therapeutic agent into human beings, and thus, we use the private sector for the last mile and since it is incredibly expensive, the expect to make a lot of money to recoup costs and make a profit.
    All understandable - except the need for the profit. If the government did the last mile, and recouped their expenses, but without the profit, we would be better off.

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    Taking the profit motive out of the process will make the process more honest.

    It takes 2 positive trials to show efficacy to get a drug approved.

    A drug like Prozac, an anti-depressant, required 9 trials to have 2 with positive results.

    Is it all that effective?

    Anti-depressants have as high as a 30% placebo effect.

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    Quote Originally Posted by untermensche View Post
    Taking the profit motive out of the process will make the process more honest.

    It takes 2 positive trials to show efficacy to get a drug approved.

    A drug like Prozac, an anti-depressant, required 9 trials to have 2 with positive results.

    Is it all that effective?

    Anti-depressants have as high as a 30% placebo effect.
    That’s a great point. There’s the overall benefit to the economy (keeping more people healthy is good). But yes, the profit motive drives a lot of bad behavior, leading to things like pushing opiods or hiding negative test results.

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    The existence of drug companies doesn't stop the government from doing it.

    If government can do an adequate job they should simply demonstrate they can by doing it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
    The existence of drug companies doesn't stop the government from doing it.

    If government can do an adequate job they should simply demonstrate they can by doing it.

    Which I think we should - needs to get pastt the barrier of funding that is lobbied hard against by …. Big pharma.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhea View Post
    Two items over at electoral-vote.com blog today regarding Biden's negotiations with Europe:

    Vaccine patents: Many people in Europe want the U.S. to waive patent rights on the COVID-19 vaccines to allow any company anywhere to produce them. Pfizer and Moderna are wildly against doing this and have said if these patents can be suspended, then there will be more suspensions of patents in the future and no drug company will do research any more. The U.S. has so far backed the drug companies. How will this play out?



    Cost of drugs: The U.S. often complains that Europe doesn't pay enough for drugs, leaving U.S. companies reliant on U.S. customers to keep the companies healthy. But progressives want Medicare to negotiate with the drug companies to lower U.S. prices. If the U.S. and the E.U. both get low prices, will the drug companies remain in business?
    So if big pharma in America won't make drugs, who will?

    Well, what about US Government labs?

    Some thoughts:

    Big Pharma:
    • employs lots of smart people, who would still be smart without jobs at that place.
    • pays large salaries to executives
    • pays big dividends to shareholders
    • will only work on high profit solutions, even if the low-profit items are a huge boost to the economy



    Government
    • can employ the same smart people. (strangely bimodal arguments about whether government jobs are not worth taking versus government workers having it easy with fabulous retirement)
    • doesn't have to pay huge salaries to executives
    • doesn't have to pay anything at all to shareholders.
    • can use the difference to attract and retain the smart people
    • receives direct dividends (unspent medicaid) for any discovery that helps the nation's people, even when they can't pay



    It seems like the government lab system has proven itself time and again, and that it is counter to its charter to protect the interests of a few rich people over the betterment of the whole.
    I don't know the answer to your question. However, my feeling is that the current vaccine makers: pfizer, Moderna and AstraZenca saved our economy. They saved millions of lives. I'm not an expert here in the least. But they did in 12 months which historically took three or four years. Imagine if we were still a couple years away from a vaccine? Its hard to imagine. I think that whatever worked this time around we can't mess with. Unfortunately, there are more Covid like plagues coming. The experts say that we're going to experience more outbreaks in the future. I don't think that we should mess with what worked.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
    The existence of drug companies doesn't stop the government from doing it.

    If government can do an adequate job they should simply demonstrate they can by doing it.
    The government could easily do it.

    And do it cheaper.

    The government is prevented from doing it by the Congress.

    And the Congress is bribed to not do it by the entire corporate machinery that wants a highly profitable private business to get insider information from and to invest in.

  10. Top | #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by untermensche View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
    The existence of drug companies doesn't stop the government from doing it.

    If government can do an adequate job they should simply demonstrate they can by doing it.
    The government could easily do it.

    And do it cheaper.

    The government is prevented from doing it by the Congress.

    And the Congress is bribed to not do it by the entire corporate machinery that wants a highly profitable private business to get insider information from and to invest in.
    The government rarely manages to do things cheaper.

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