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House Dems Introduce Bill to Prevent Big Pharma Price-Gouging During Covid-19 Pandemic

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/06/22/house-dems-introduce-bill-prevent-big-pharma-price-gouging-during-covid-19-pandemic

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I’m not sure I understand why the pharmaceutical industry would even work on a vaccine if this passes - civc duty? just to kill time? good will? Like my Dad used to say: “Any of those and a nickel (now a couple dollars) will get you a cup of coffee”. Why not work on other drugs that would allow a patent and more profits - let the other guys work on the vaccine that wont make very much money.

It’s disturbing to see this kind of narrow approach to a problem that extends far beyond Covid-19 treatments and vaccines.

The drug industry needs to be treated like a public utility and be price regulated, with an obligation to serve the public. Alternatively, it could be eliminated and have all drug research and development done by the NIH, placing all drugs in the public domain.

The narrow and inadequate remedies called for here may make for good politics, but it’s lousy policy making.

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Well, there ya go. The democrats have been working for the little guy all along (not). How nice. Don’t buy it. This is window dressing, pure and simple. So whatcha gonna do about all the price-gouging over the past 10-20 years, eh? Don’t forget 70% of the country has insurance and the other 30% won’t/can’t pay, so who is this really for?

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Big Pharma gets most of its reasearch money from the government but they ditched the requirement to have drugs be affordable in 1995 right after “we” joined the WTO.
thanks to the entry into/creation of the WTO as one of our first actions, we got this:

~https://www.nature.com/articles/35017714.pdf

~https://www.ott.nih.gov/sites/default/files/documents/pdfs/NIH-Notice-Rescinding-Reasonable-Pricing-Clause.pdf

The drug industry is notoriously evil, nobody knows this better than the people who work for it.

I highly recommend the film “Fire in The Blood” to see how the drug industry behaved during the AIDS epidemic.

In Africa during the AIDS crisis thanks to TRIPs we got a Holocaust.

10 million people died for no reason.

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Yes, the fact that the drug industry is profit-driven, rather than public-interest driven is the root of the problem. We need to eliminate the incentives and opportunities for the drug industry to engorge themselves on grossly excessive profits from any one drug.

In reply to your Dad’s saying, I subscribe to a different one: All regulation is incentive regulation.

The current state of regulation in the drug industry incentivizes them to seek obscene profits and excessive pay for senior management, rather than tending to our collective well-being, which is their supposed purpose.

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And tell us once again that why this would only apply during the Covid-19 pandemic? In other words the Dems are just fine once things settle down to allow price gouging to continue unabated. And they surely will jack up prices even extra to make up for the time they could not. And let’s be honest, this will never pass and so it is nothing but Kabuki theater to try and fool the idiots who still vote for either party.

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Didn’t you now, this is our national religion, we live in a cult based theocracy, both parties are cult members.

Its amatter of principle for them, the market will fix everything.
let the market decide who gets all drugs. It may kill millions of people but the Market Gods will be pleased.

Here is another example:

During a huge famine in India let speculators speculate- that made the death toll unimaginably higher.

They always do this.

~http://movies2.nytimes.com/books/first/d/davis-victorian.html

Dozens, if not hundreds, of vaccines are being tested across the globe, a few will probably be available in another 6 or so months, if not sooner. However, I cannot, under any circumstances see the price being anything but affordable for insurance to cover and the government to cover for those without health insurance, which btw is obscene (that anyone would be without healthcare in the US).

For instance, Oxford (UK) has a very promising vaccine in trials. Anyone really think the NHS isn’t going to provide it to all? (this is the UK’s universal (covers all) health care program). Maybe our elected Congressfools ought to start considering why we don’t have one.

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You mean the current state of deregulation, they have fewer regulations here than they would anywhere else on Earth.

See ~http://pharmamyths.net

I think the WHO COVID-19 Technology Pool which pools efforts to develop a vaccine and COVID-19 drugs announced around two weeks ago is the way to go. Its unfortunate that the US was so against this idea that we pulled out of the WHO.

Yes, their current state of deregulation is their current state of regulation. The absence of regulation is a form of regulation.

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Why should they care about societal well-being at the exclusion of profit? Do you work for societal good or do you get a salary? Would the research scientists bother to come to work if they didn’t get paid? Reformulating them along the public utility model (with a fixed profit percentage of cost) would indeed be a viable possibility.

But, price gouge away otherwise. What else is the WTO, and lobbyists, for but monopolistic price markups. Sorry to throw on cold water, but it seems that the Democrats are good at, if anything, demonstrating how consistently they refuse to do mich outside of obvious stuff that won’t pass to look like they have any value. They don’t. And given who is in charge of that party, their donors and ideology, and given the chances of this passing, it comes across as virtue signaling. If people like Pelosi and Schumer had built up trust and demonstrated their commitment to good policies and standing up to the capitalists, the monopolistic drug companies, I would place more value in this.

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I can tell you this, for >15 yrs I used to go to a monthly potluck of research scientists, and artists and many of them were in biotech (and academia)

Nobody are bigger critcs of the drug industry than the people who work in it.

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As for profit enterprises in a system that mandates they try to make as much profit as possible, regardless as to the scale that they externalize costs into society, the environment and future generations, we shouldn’t expect that. And for this reason, among many others, we should ditch capitalism all together. Whatever purpose it may have had, it is clearly a system whose costs are far greater than its benefits. It, and markets, are the key drivers in the environmental crisis. It is capitalism or collective death at this point.

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Only during the pandemic? is that all they do, if they do that what to add in the future also. Oh, republicans would not best it along with corporate dems. Do you think they will pass this short term fix??? Rotten to the core all republicans and a good many corporate dems lead by Joe Manchin?

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Especially since we provide much of the research for new drugs and give it to pharma at a song.

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If they aren’t interested in societal well-being we shouldn’t license them to do business.

I’m retired now, but spent most of my life and career working for societal good and I got a salary. I could have earned much more pursuing jobs that paid more, but were at-odds with the public interest. There are millions of others like me who do the same. Not everyone is driven solely by self interest, to believe that is true is naive.

The researchers at the NIH certainly come to work everyday. I never said researchers shouldn’t be paid, only that the obscene profits and pay of management should be reigned in.

But you don’t need to reward people with economic rents in the form of patents to achieve public health policies that work. There’s no reason for the US to impose on its citizens the burden of a profit-driven extortionist regime for health care while the rest of the developed world enjoys a rational and affordable system.

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The trade deals make it so they cant do anything because corporations have to have certainty. Since more deregulations are always okay for trade deals most of what the Republicans do succeed. the Democrats have to be extremely good at creating the appearance of motion, because basically nothing we do can succeed unless its a temporary emergency measure, so we need to have emergencies or else the whole theatrical routine would be exposed, its a bit like walking into a room backwards so you appear to be walking out unless somebody watches you very closely. North Korea (the DPRK are the masters of this, (having done it for 70 yrs now) we arent so good at it. But we are learning.

What would be a viable alternative? Even in so-called socialist economies, millionaires (even billionaires) exist. The US is not really a capitalist economy, its more of a set of monopolies.

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