Open thread March 28, 2017 Dan Crawford | March 28, 2017 7:56 am Tags: open thread Comments (7) | Digg Facebook Twitter |
For the price of three F-35 jet fighters the US could manufacture enough of the drug Sovaldi to wipe out the disease among 3,000,000 American sufferers ($150 per treatment). But the pharmaceutical manufacturer who holds the patent, Gilead, wants enough money to fund half the US defense department ($100,000 a treatment).
Is there any relief in sight for this and numerous other such intolerable situations? Just one more problem that gets mentioned for a day with nobody to follow up on it — real problem is there are too many such problems and nobody to follow up on them — IOW, NO BROADLY ENTRENCHED LABOR UNION CULTURE TO SYSTEMATICALLY BEAT DOWN THE VULTURES.
Somebody needs to tell Dean Baker the prime age age LFPR is NOT going back to 2000 level for at least 10+ years when the millies are the bulk of it. Even the last 2 years left of the Boomers in the 2017 index were when population growth was falling off.
Cohort size is what drives this index and expansion peaked in 1989. Then the total number peaked in 2000 as the Boomers hit their earnings peak. Baker needs to use his head more and stop with the econ-bear whining about the expansion. I heard all the same shit during the housing bubble and he was in denial then. He just doesn’t get it. As wage growth accelerates persistently over 3%, he will still be mad, making excuses and wondering if the stats are “real”. Baker is a disgrace and deserves to be “blog killed”. Get rid of him.
MY REPLY TO A FELLOW COMMENTER ON ECONOMIST’S VIEW LINKS:
There is something we can do. We can start to protect collective bargaining at the state by state level.
Old saw is that federal preemption cuts states out of protecting collective bargaining rights. But just because Congress never included felony prosecution for union busting doesn’t mean Congress did not want anyone else to — and would not have mattered if Congress did not want it. All state protection does is reinforce the (toothless) federal set-up.
Congress could not constitutionally pass a law that states may not protect bargaining (OF ANY KIND!) from being muscled. No more than Congress may prevent states from making their own minimum wages (which Republicans would have tried a long time ago if it were possible).
Jimmy Hoffa said: “A union is a business.” There is no reason one business (owner) should have carte blanche to bust the bargaining power of another business (labor) in a democracy.
Progressive state to start with: WA, OR, CA, NV, MN, IL, MA, NY, MD, etc.
And don’t forget to get around to centralized bargaining (like the Teamster’s National Master Freight Agreement — or, where else, German, Denmark, etc.). Supermarket and airline workers (especially employees under RLA) would kill for (legally mandated?) centralized bargaining.
Reply Wednesday, March 29, 2017 at 07:23 AM
Ocrevus — the miracle MS drug. First ever to slow progression of worst form that never stops going downhill. 50% more time between relapses than previous drugs that doubled time between — without opening up path to fatal brain infections like previous drugs which targeted the immune system (that does the damage) more broadly.
I read about Ocrevus around Christmas with great attention — as I was having an MS scare. A short walk to the 7-11 would leave me frozen in bed for hours. Happy ending: turned out my Diabetes Type two medicine Bydureon (and other Glp-1 drugs) can rehab your beta cells (even though still 60 pounds overweight; it was the medicine) …
… which medicine incidentally allowed me to lose 50 pounds in 50 weeks (gained some back) without effort when I started taking it five years earlier …
… dropping my blood sugar too low (hypoglycemic).
Here we go again: $65,000 a year for two injections. Only $4 billion in yearly sales projected? To treat 400,000 MS patients at list price would take $26 billion a year — and I am sure from having paid such close attention that everyone of them needs it (desperately).
“Dr. Stephen Hauser, Chair of the UCSF Medical Center Department of Neurology and the lead researcher in the Ocrevus trials, described the results as “a really big deal for the MS community.” He’s been working to develop Ocrevus for 40 years.” (ibid)
To treat all sufferers for 10 years would cost a quarter of a trillion dollars at list. It did not cost any where near a quarter of a trillion to develop (how much did the Manhattan Project cost? :-O). Not even if we paid the chief researcher half a billion a year — like we paid the chief for the Hep-C cure Sovladi one-time (how much he profited for himself).
My Bydureon OTH was developed by a VA endocrinologist researcher who as far as I know is still on salary (Sovaldi chief developed it at VA too but took research to Ireland once his folks smelled money.)
I guess I should have thrown in that US drugs, like US movies, are sold around the world — racking up more billions of pay-or-die.
I guess I should have thrown in — come to think of it — that if the $4 billion in Ocrevus sales includes foreign sales that means even fewer US patients treated.
The only reason for such tiny fractural use of the drug that I can imagine is that it is priced out of patient and insurance reach. The NBC show did say insurance will pay — but not under what circumstances. You have be half dead before insurance will pay for Sovaldi, the HepC cure — which costs all of $150 to manufacture.
At $100,000 a treatment it would cost $22.5 trillion (“t”) to eradicate HepC worldwide. The us spends .75 (three quarters) of a trillion dollars on all research (gov and priv funded) on all drugs over a decade. Hard to make the case Sovladi price needed to cover new research.
University pharma researchers are begging for grants all over the country. We (the gov) supply one-third — Wall Street supplies two-thirds. We don’t need entrepreneurs to pay for research — they have no special or efficiency roll other than pirating science to line their overstuffed pockets.
We spend $70 billion of EITC. Let’s make that us dropping $75 billion instead of only $25 billion supporting pharma research.
“Cohort size is what drives [the LFPR].”
Which is why we look at the prime working age group. If you go to BLS.GOV, and look for series LNS11300061, you will see the LFPR for men ages 25-54. That peaked in 97.9% in September, 1954, and has been on a downward trajectory ever since.
Conversely, look at LNS11300062, the LFPR for WOMEN ages 25-54. That was growing steadily from 1948, the earliest data available on the BLS website, through to a plateau around 1997 through 2000. And has declined a bit since then.
Have more women in the workforce displaced men?