Another side to the vaccine story and disease outbreaks
From the NYT comes this quick look at the vaccination issues you might have heard about in the news…Vaccine Costs Soaring and Paying till it hurts…
Vaccination prices have gone from single digits to sometimes triple digits in the last two decades, creating dilemmas for doctors and their patients as well as straining public health budgets. Here in San Antonio and elsewhere, some doctors have stopped offering immunizations because they say they cannot afford to buy these potentially lifesaving preventive treatments that insurers often reimburse poorly, sometimes even at a loss.
Old vaccines have beenreformulated with higher costs. New ones have entered the market at once-unthinkable prices. Together, since 1986, they have pushed up the average cost to fully vaccinate a child with private insurance to the age of 18 to $2,192 from $100, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Even with deep discounts, the costs for the federal government, which buys half of all vaccines for the nation’s children, have increased 15-fold during that period. The most expensive shot for young children in Dr. Irvin’s refrigerator is Prevnar 13, which prevents diseases caused by pneumococcal bacteria, from ear infections to pneumonia.
Like many vaccines, Prevnar requires multiple jabs. Each shot is priced at $136, and every child in the United States is required to get four doses before entering school. Pfizer, the sole manufacturer, had revenues of nearly $4 billion from its Prevnar vaccine line last year, about double what it made from high-profile drugs like Lipitor and Viagra, which now face generic competitors.
I saw the same article earlier and wondered whether the benefit of herd immunity justified the cost of nationalizing vaccine production and distribution. Since vaccination becomes more valuable as it is more widely adopted isn’t there sort of a built in motivation for “universal access” as the old telco regulatory terms used to state it?
There are similar questions around financing the development of new antibiotics btw. The problem there is sort of the opposite though – the new antibiotic maintains its usefulness by carefully prescribing only where critically needed. So the economics are even worse, you are amortizing development and testing costs over much smaller numbers of patients. But a similar risk of outbreak and pandemic applies – if new antibiotics are not available eventually we risk running out of treatments for new superbugs.
Same answer here — SAME ANSWER FOR EVERYTHING!: reorganize society, change the culture — around LEGALLY MANDATED, CENTRALIZED BARGAINING.
Anybody here really object to a Congress that is just waiting for you (the 99%) to come and tell it what you want it to do that day? You just need (collectively) the same finance level and the same lobbyists level …
… David Broder, late dean of the Washington press corps said that when he came to Washington in the 50s (?) the lobbyists were all union …
and 99% of the votes.
Just had an idea. Nobody understands what really happened with the Luddites and the steam looms.
According Thompson’s The Making of the English Working Class the individual weavers who preceded the steam loom era operators made a decent living — unlike the 100X more productive power loom operators who were reduced to feeding their families oat cakes three times a day because they could not even afford wheat bread — in what I call the segregated or subsistence-plus (no plus if you are on oat cakes three times a day) labor market (segregated from maxing what consumers would be willing to pay).
What nobody thinks of is that if the steam loom operators could have withheld labor from ownership they could have demanded more than the weavers ever got and they would have done just fine.
PS. According to Thompson the Luddites only destroyed the power looms of the lowest paying operators.
Good additional Reuters story on the antibiotic development market problem here: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/06/us-health-antibiotics-insight-idUSKBN0FB0A220140706