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It's Time to Take on Big Pharma and Reclaim Medicines for Public Health: We Need A Public Option in Pharmaceuticals

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/08/26/its-time-take-big-pharma-and-reclaim-medicines-public-health-we-need-public-option


Taxpayers fund a YUGE percentage of the R&D costs for drugs – either through tax breaks to Big Pharma or outright grants.*  It’s pretty clear to me that we taxpayers should own the patents on the drugs that we have paid to develop.

*  Which is how Big Pharma is able, as mentioned in the article, to pay out to their greedy executives and shareholders more money than the profits they take in from sales of grossly overpriced drugs.


Medicare for all, not a public option.


Extremely important issue - for which reason it will not even come close to being implemented any time soon - be it a Don or a ByDon adminstration.

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Which drug lords do us more harm?


To date “public option” is where universal medical insurance discussions go to die.

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As Zed has been pointing out all of those agreements entered into at the international level, from the free trade deals to the WTO and GATS are there by design so as to prevent individual Countries from going this route.

Now Countries do have the right to withdraw from said treaties but they were implemented in the first place so as to keep these things in private hands as a means of generating profits for the investor class. What keeps Countries from doing this is the 1 percent who will not give up such a money making venture and want to ensure they are the ones profiting of this.

It not just Big Pharma we have to take on. It the entire system called Capitalism.


It’s worth noting Zed’s comments in the Commons during the past month, concerning the insidious for-profit demands of the GATS treaty: Capitalism in control of all aspects of commerce and services.

That explains the convoluted creature that is Affordable Care Act. “Affordable.” That’s the campaign rallying cry of our young congresswoman, Abby F, and Senate candidate Theresa G, who was recruited to run by Chuck Schumer.

You in Canada are fortunate to have your public system of health care. May you protect it. Its easy access is featured in the Michael Moore documentary, Sicko, in Detroiter’s driving over the bridge to Windsor for their health care. In contrast, we have to make it complicated, and of course expensive, in the US.

Medicare for All in the US? Probably not in my lifetime. I’m still pulling for it.


The headline seems to be misleading. The article isn’t about adding a public option to the insurance market place. It seems to be suggesting that we need publicly owned pharmaceutical organizations that research, develop and deliver directly to the public.

That is a good idea, we can’t have the drugs made in China either. Any idiot can see that in a crises we are putting ourselves at risk by bad policy decisions that benefit the few not the many.

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The feds could negotiate bulk purchases from pharma manufacturers at low prices. Seems like the most practical solution for letting pharma do what it handles well (mfg and distribution) while lowering prices for infectious disease meds.

Why do the proponents of government-controlled medicine never seem to realize that the same corrupt Congress which takes more dirty money from pharma than any other ‘contributor’ is going to create and control the programs?

About 20% of GDP in USA is spent on healthcare split about evenly between paying for drugs and paying for deciding which drug or drugs to administer to which patient or patients.

This is as close as it gets but I think the US is very strongly against it.

This is also relevant. But the US has opposed it for decades.


Are you refering to the Reasonable Pricing Rule that we dumped in 1995?

It limited the profits on drugs that had been funded by the US taxpayer, but we’re a different country than we were before the WTO.

Now we get away with charging more the more horrible the deasese is, even if its really cheap or almost free to make. We have changed our ideology to be - bluntly, its evil. 30 million poor people died of AIDS because of this. When it would have cost practically nothing to save their lives. Finanly an Indian firm made those drugs and sold them for around a thousad times less. But now were fighting to make it the way it was before again.

I have been saying exactly that about pharma and corrupt Congressional money for a decade.

Who the hell would believe that Congress is capable of fixing the system? Pharma will run the legislators like a chorus of puppets.

Also the current system of obscured prices, crazy and contorted financial practices, incoherent policy, etc. means that there is a dysfunctional health care market - no one knows the real financial status because the numbers simply don’t exist.

The use of the word “Public option” is worse than a big lie because its based on a very big lie that public healthcare can be optional with competition from the private sector which is not true except under the most specific of conditions. People are being told that so we’ll allow the theft of our frayed and soon to be nonexistent safety net. Want to read it straight from the horses mouth?
~https://www.wto.org/search/search_e.aspx?search=basic&searchText=s%2Fc%2Fw50&method=pagination&pag=0&roles=%2Cpublic%2C page 11. yes even the UK’s public option the NHS is doomed now that they have left the EU and the WTO law is unambiguous. Similar rules apply to drugs.

The WTO TRIPS agreement rules the world of IP and drug patents and permissions. Only the poorest countries are allowed exceptions and then only for limited periods that have to be renewed. the drug industry sees COVID-19 as the opportunity of a lifetime and as long as we remain in the WTO we will fight tooth and nail to keep it that way.

We see this as a matter of principle. Profit over people.

See the film 2013 film “Fire in the Blood” which shows how this works out. Poor people dying like flies. But some people stuck their necks out and saved a few million lives. But that was in 2013.

Now the pendulum is swinging back in Death’s direction. would you sacrifice your job, times a few million to provide the gods of profit their due?

Because they certainly wont take credit from the poor. Theyre trading away our jobs so we’ll get to experience what its like to be a member of the Third World soon.

We’re next! Whats in your wallet?

You can read about this battle on the Keionline dot org ip-health mailing list.

Watch Fire in the Blood.

you can see trailers at fireintheblood dot com

They wrote that into a law a long time ago but thanks to the WTO they basically are ignoring it all now. Right after the WTO came into force, just a few months into 1995, they dumped the reasonable pricing rule, and it hasnt come back. they are just lauging at all of us and collecting huge amounts of money from the world’s public, here in the US we are the biggest suckers of all by far.

The ip-health mailing list has occaisional postings on the situation.