Tag: Big Pharma

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The G-BA is the worst


A group of regulators from Germany published in the British Medical Journal a recommendation on how drug companies should design clinical trials. These “recommendations” curiously align with Germany’s unwillingness to pay for efficacious drugs.

There are two regulatory bodies in Germany that check whether a new drug is better than an old treatment and pay accordingly, IQWiG and the G-BA. Not surprisingly when the Germans decided to check most new drugs they found that a majority of them (56%) showed “no added benefit.” Notwithstanding the obvious conflict of interest with the German government both approving and paying for new drugs, there are two major problems with Germany’s approval process. The unnecessary cost they are asking the drug companies to absorb and the capricious way they judge whether a drug is efficacious.


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John Tierney joins City Journal editor Brian Anderson to discuss what the debate over prescription drugs gets wrong and the cost that government-imposed price controls could have on one of the world’s most innovative industries. The business practices of the pharmaceutical industry—or “Big Pharma”—are one of the most divisive political issues of our time. Leaders from both political parties, from Bernie Sanders to President Trump, regularly denounce drug companies for […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Let’s Blow It Up


In a recent comment, Ricochet member @DonG wrote, “The drug industry in the US is a giant racket enabled by a corrupted regulatory system.” After over 20 years of working in medicine, and doing occasional part-time work for pharmaceutical companies in the cardiovascular field, I find that statement to be precise and accurate. Fascism is an explosive word, almost like Nazi. But this is, precisely, fascism. It’s not socialism. Our government does not want to own the means of production; it just wants to control it. Regulate the heck out of it, get private industry to do what you want, then tax the crap out of it to fund a welfare state huge enough to buy sufficient votes to get you re-elected. It’s simple, really. It’s too bad that the term “fascism” is widely viewed as a pejorative because it’s a perfect description of much of our government.

To get back to Don’s point regarding the pharmaceutical industry: This is what excessive regulation creates. You destroy everybody, except for the few corporations enormous or well-connected (usually the same thing) enough that they can withstand the regulatory pressure with top-flight, very expensive legal departments. Then you control and profit from those few. You can’t control 1,000 drug companies, but you can control six of them; maybe eight. Note that this type of evolutionary pressure selects out those who are good at government, not those who are good at creating new drugs. As is true in every industry.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Give Me Misery or Give Me Death?


Doctors retire. That’s the context of my recent experiment in “detoxing” from two prescriptions, both of which strike me (but not yet the FDA) as good candidates for over-the-counter (OTC) sale. (Most striking detox effect so far: a massive earache.) One is Celecoxib, an anti-arthritis drug. The other is Montelukast, an anti-asthma and anti-allergy drug. What’s scary about selling both these drugs OTC is allegedly death.

Celecoxib is a Cox-2 inhibitor, and those drugs as a class still haven’t completely aired out the stink of death brought on by Vioxx. Montelukast maybe sometimes cause psychiatric side-effects, according to postmarketing reports, raising the specter of suicide (though postmarketing reports could report anything as a side-effect, short of “pet turtle died”). But the most frightening thing about Montelukast appears to be that it’s an effective asthma control medicine, and the FDA is apparently nervous about making effective asthma control medicines available to consumers directly.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Incentives Matter


399px-Elizabeth_Warren_Nov_2_2012One of the virtues of free-market capitalism—perhaps the greatest—is how well it aligns incentives with desired outcomes. If you produce a good or provide a service that other people want, they will pay you for it. If demand for that good or service increases, it’s price will climb, which further incentivizes producers and providers.

Sadly, it doesn’t always work that out that way. Free markets can make tremendous errors and bad players can often get away with deceit and fraud for much longer than we’d like. This is why we have regulations: to impose a level of top-down authority in those areas where bottom-up incentives don’t work.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Playing at Empiricism


With the Ebola virus making its first appearance on America’s shores in an effort to aid two American doctors who have become infected with the disease, frightened citizens have begun scouring the internet for any information they can gather. Unsure what the virus wants, or whether it will beat them up before taking their lunch money, some desperate souls have turned to Vox, the world’s foremost explainer of things that require little explanation.

To no one’s surprise, greedy corporations are the root of all evil.