Tag: Pharmaceuticals

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I just came across this interview by The Epoch Times with Rosemary Gibson, co-author of the book China Rx: Exposing the Risks of America’s Dependence on China for Medicine, which outlines yet another very discouraging and horrifying example of our complete insanity on being dependent on China for our basic, critical needs: Interview: ‘China RX’ Author […]

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From the Editors’ Desk: Senate Food (& Drug) Fight!


shutterstock_243773839Via the WSJ, the parties’ attitudes on the subject could hardly be in starker contrast:

For weeks, members and staffers of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee have been trying to find common ground on the legislation. Republicans wanted to smooth the regulatory path for drug and medical device approvals, while Democrats strove to increase funding for medical research and find ways to keep drug prices in check. But in recent weeks, Democrats balked at several industry-sought measures they believed would lower the bar too much on the safety of products approved at the FDA, according to people familiar with the talks. These measures supported by Republicans would have, among other provisions, reduced FDA scrutiny of certain laboratory tests’ accuracy and of medical software.

On Thursday, Democrats on the panel confirmed they were offering their own version that would increase research funding for the National Institutes of Health and the FDA, but avoid some of the regulatory provisions. They also sought ways to cut prices of cancer, hepatitis and other expensive drugs. So now, the two parties are offering versions of an NIH funding bill that are poles apart. This strife is unusual for the HELP committee, which has been relatively bipartisan and cooperative for decades. Chairman Lamar Alexander (R., Tenn.) and the panel’s top Democrat, Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, for example, negotiated a rewrite of K-12 education programs last year.

India, Intellectual Property, and Innovation


Article72Our conversation about Martin Shkreli and Indian pharmaceuticals reminded me that I’ve been having a mental debate with myself for a while. Where better to air my confusion than Ricochet?

As I argued, the case for importing generic medications from India is open-and-shut. I strongly suspect our failure to permit this is more owed to pharma-company rent-seeking and protectionism than to concern for public safety. American consumers are discerning enough to make their own decisions about whether they trust drugs from overseas. If we allowed them to come into the country, rigorous and trustworthy private mechanisms for inspecting overseas drug manufacturing facilities would quickly emerge, just as they have for awarding Michelin stars to restaurants around the world.

But I’m confused about the ideal regulatory regime for medication under patent, and indeed, for intellectual property generally. It’s a challenging problem if you think markets allocate scarce resources more efficiently than central planners do. The legitimate fight between the US and Indian pharma — “legitimate,” in the sense of, “I’m not sure who’s right” — is a case in point.

Martin Shkreli and the Imbeciles


martin shkreliIt’s not often that I say, “Thank God the New Yorker cut right through all this leftist cant,” but let’s give them credit where it’s due. On this one, they’re exactly right. Everyone hates Martin Shkreli and everyone’s missing the point:

But was Shkreli’s performance actually more objectionable than that of the legislators who were performing alongside him? Elijah Cummings, of Maryland, is the ranking Democrat on the committee, and he used his allotted time to deliver a scolding. … Cummings acted as if Shkreli were the only thing preventing a broken system from being fixed. “I know you’re smiling, but I’m very serious, sir,” he said. “The way I see it, you can go down in history as the poster boy for greedy drug-company executives, or you can change the system—yeah, you.” Cummings has been in Congress since 1996, and he is a firm believer in the power of government to improve industry through regulation. And yet now he was begging the former C.E.O. of a relatively minor pharmaceutical company to “change the system”? …

The Republican-led committee was no more impressive. As if to establish that Turing was unnecessarily profitable, the committee released documents showing that the company had thrown a lavish party—fireworks included—and given some executives six-figure raises. (If this now counts as corporate behavior worthy of oversight and reform, the committee may soon find its schedule overbooked.) And then there was John Mica, a Republican from Florida, who has vowed to “keep the government out of patients’ sick beds.” Notwithstanding his skepticism of government intervention, he expressed alarm that some drug prices have “skyrocketed.” Even more than his colleagues, he seemed taken aback by the star witness’s recalcitrance, as if he couldn’t fathom why a private citizen wouldn’t be more deferential to his government—at one point, he threatened to move to hold Shkreli in contempt.

Making Drugs Affordable


shutterstock_197494286Remember Martin Shkreli, the pharmaceutical executive who jacked up the prices of an off-patent drug used by some AIDS patients last year and who was recently perp-walked for securities fraud? The Left treated his arrest as a victory for the common man, but it hasn’t made pyrimethamine, the active ingredient in Daraprim, any more available to those who need it.

Mark Baum, however, has done just that: Since last year’s media fiasco, the compounding pharmacy he runs has been selling drugs with the same chemical properties (with an added, relevant vitamin) for about a $1 a pill. That’s among the reasons why Shkreli’s antics didn’t lead to a pile of dead bodies.

The reason Baum’s company has been able to do this so quickly and inexpensively is because compounding pharmaceuticals are not subject to the same regulatory scrutiny as generic manufacturers and are often able to charge prices closer to the costs of manufacture.

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I don’t want to distract from Tom Meyers’ contraception thread by asking this question there, as it’s only peripherally related. It’s a simple question, but I suspect that the answer is not so simple. Even now, decades after “the pill” became a normal regimen for young women whether they are sexually active or not, do […]

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