Advanced drugs not developed for people of India

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Advanced drugs not developed for people of India

Postby morriswalters » Sat Jan 25, 2014 11:30 pm UTC

Merck to Bristol-Myers Face More Threats on India Drug Patents. This was the title of the Businessweek article. My WTF moment came at this quote at the end of the article.
Bayer Chief Executive Officer Marijn Dekkers called the compulsory license “essentially theft.”

“We did not develop this medicine for Indians,” Dekkers said Dec. 3. “We developed it for western patients who can afford it.”

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Re: Advanced drugs not developed for people of India

Postby CorruptUser » Sun Jan 26, 2014 12:35 am UTC

It's their own fault! If they wanted life saving drugs that cost pennies to manufacture, they should've thought of that before being born poor!

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Re: Advanced drugs not developed for people of India

Postby Izawwlgood » Sun Jan 26, 2014 2:15 am UTC

So, appalling racism is racist. But I don't think there's anything wrong with a company making drugs with the intent to profit on them, and while it's... not appalling, but 'not good' that patented drugs are jacking up prices of life saving necessary therapies... the way to combat this is not patent busting.

I support companies profiting from making life saving treatments, as it incentives further life saving treatment research, and allows them to support charities or discounted drug programs. Which is, obviously, virtually unrelated to the asinine statement above. But lets not get on a 'boo pharma for wanting to continue being in business' bandwagon.
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Re: Advanced drugs not developed for people of India

Postby Thesh » Sun Jan 26, 2014 2:20 am UTC

Except they will profit by selling to India, just not as much as they want to. The cost of manufacturing is low, so selling it cheap or even licensing it will still be profitable for them as opposed to not selling it at all.
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Re: Advanced drugs not developed for people of India

Postby Izawwlgood » Sun Jan 26, 2014 2:31 am UTC

Patent busting is a problem in more industries than just pharma. But yes, breaking patents and not selling at reduced prices (whiiiiiich, mind you, just encourages people buy from those countries, but anyway)... Not the real issue here, the real issue is this incredibly racist statement that absolutely misses the point of developing these therapies in the first place.
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Re: Advanced drugs not developed for people of India

Postby CorruptUser » Sun Jan 26, 2014 2:40 am UTC

The problem I have with price discrimination is that I in the US will end up paying more for the same exact item as someone else.

I abhor any form of price discrimination unless it is available to everyone (e.g., Early Bird Specials, Groupon, Steam deal, etc).

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Re: Advanced drugs not developed for people of India

Postby morriswalters » Sun Jan 26, 2014 6:26 am UTC

I don't really care if big pharma makes money or not, although they will. Or someone will come along and make it if they can't. I was more depressed because the statement was a racist/elitist throwaway and Businessweek didn't so much as blink. The same Big Pharma also has been known to do testing in India and doesn't seem the least hesitant about doing so. From the Independent.
In recent years, India has emerged as one of the main locations for clinical trials by British, American and European pharmaceutical companies, looking for places to test new drugs and medicines. Hundreds of trials may be taking place at any one time.
Campaigners say many of the clinical trials that are carried out in India do not meet international standards. An investigation in 2011 carried out by The Independent highlighted the recruitment of hundreds of tribal girls for a study without parental consent, the use by drug companies of survivors of the world’s worst poisonous gas disaster without proper informed consent and tests carried out by doctors in the city of Indore that a police investigation found violated ethical guidelines.

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Re: Advanced drugs not developed for people of India

Postby Zamfir » Sun Jan 26, 2014 11:35 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:The problem I have with price discrimination is that I in the US will end up paying more for the same exact item as someone else.

What about paying more for the same medicine if you have more money than others?

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Re: Advanced drugs not developed for people of India

Postby CorruptUser » Sun Jan 26, 2014 3:05 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:The problem I have with price discrimination is that I in the US will end up paying more for the same exact item as someone else.

What about paying more for the same medicine if you have more money than others?


That is what I have a problem with.

If it truly is necessary, it should be decided by an elected government with a transparent process. Not by marketing executives. Not by a committee in congress behind closed doors with Merck financing the campaigns of half the people there.

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Re: Advanced drugs not developed for people of India

Postby Izawwlgood » Sun Jan 26, 2014 4:36 pm UTC

CU, at the risk of getting on a tangent, your complaint sounds to me akin to being a white male American and getting bent out of shape that there are scholarships specifically for minorities or women.

If you opt for equal profit potential for patients worldwide, without factoring the massive differences in earning power, you're going to narrow the list of therapies that are cost effective for pharma to research.
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Re: Advanced drugs not developed for people of India

Postby CorruptUser » Sun Jan 26, 2014 5:53 pm UTC

If price discrimination could lead to better outcomes overall, it shouldn't be up to for-profit companies to make that call.

Regarding whiny white kids and scholarships:

The difference between the scholarships when someone bitches about 'minority scholarships' is that a scholarship that is for 'black people' is open to anyone that has African ancestors, while a scholarship for 'white people' is open to anyone that does not have non-white ancestors. Additionally, scholarships for women or some other disadvantaged group are there as a giant kludge; sure it'd be "best" to evaluate every individual and see if they really had an unfair time, but doing so is far more expensive than simply saying "this group has some pretty severe disadvantages as evidenced by X Y and Z, so just give them N dollars towards education". You can't complain that it's a kludge unless you can actually provide something better.

Similarly 'black pride' and 'white pride' marches; a 'black pride' march is about celebrating your African heritage while a 'white pride' march is about celebrating not having any non-white heritage. That's the key difference whenever someone demands a 'white history month' or 'white entertainment television' or whatever bullshit. Not that there aren't plenty of black racists and black hate groups, of course.

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Re: Advanced drugs not developed for people of India

Postby Ormurinn » Sun Jan 26, 2014 7:27 pm UTC

When was it decided that Indian lives were worth more than the lives of westerners?

Cause thats what's implied by the idea that it's legitimate to force pharmaceuticals to sell drugs at a huge markup to westerners and provide them cheaply to India. You're demanding that westerners pay the full cost of R+D while Indians pay none of that cost - you're supporting the west collectively paying a drug development subsidy of billions of dollars so that Indians don't have to.
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Re: Advanced drugs not developed for people of India

Postby EMTP » Sun Jan 26, 2014 7:48 pm UTC

Ormurinn wrote:When was it decided that Indian lives were worth more than the lives of westerners?


This is a business executive who has committed a gaffe -- too much blunt truth. But he is not wrong -- companies have audiences in mind when they design a product, and the way that product is produced and sold is predicated on a certain price point. Under the "ethics" of capitalism, there is nothing wrong with a company that, say, wants to sell a $500 phone and doesn't want their IP ripped off to make a $20 that will sell in central Africa.

This executive, as part of a joint-stock corporation, may even be required by law to pursue maximum profit. If he gave away a profitable drug to Indians at cost, he would no doubt be storing up treasures for himself in heaven, but here on earth, his shareholders could sue him and the rest of the management team for failing in their responsibilities to the owners.

This is a situation in which a sovereign, democratic government has appropriately taken action to care for its people by placing some sensible regulation on the company's pursuit of maximum profit. I don't disagree with your moral assessment of the situation, but the important thing is that we not expect corporations whose mission is to maximize profit to always act morally. Sometimes the government needs to keep them in line, and that's no bad thing.
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Re: Advanced drugs not developed for people of India

Postby Izawwlgood » Sun Jan 26, 2014 8:01 pm UTC

Ormurinn wrote:When was it decided that Indian lives were worth more than the lives of westerners?

Cause thats what's implied by the idea that it's legitimate to force pharmaceuticals to sell drugs at a huge markup to westerners and provide them cheaply to India. You're demanding that westerners pay the full cost of R+D while Indians pay none of that cost - you're supporting the west collectively paying a drug development subsidy of billions of dollars so that Indians don't have to.
As mentioned already though, it's totally cool to exploit Indian civilians for drug testing, or use cheap foreign labor and business codes to manufacture drugs/goods for American consumption, amiright?

I don't think anyone is saying big pharma MUST provide drugs to poorer nations free of cost.
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Re: Advanced drugs not developed for people of India

Postby Ormurinn » Sun Jan 26, 2014 8:27 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
Ormurinn wrote:When was it decided that Indian lives were worth more than the lives of westerners?

Cause thats what's implied by the idea that it's legitimate to force pharmaceuticals to sell drugs at a huge markup to westerners and provide them cheaply to India. You're demanding that westerners pay the full cost of R+D while Indians pay none of that cost - you're supporting the west collectively paying a drug development subsidy of billions of dollars so that Indians don't have to.
As mentioned already though, it's totally cool to exploit Indian civilians for drug testing, or use cheap foreign labor and business codes to manufacture drugs/goods for American consumption, amiright?

I don't think anyone is saying big pharma MUST provide drugs to poorer nations free of cost.


That's not even a straw man, its just accusing me of making an argument with no connection to the one I did make.

I don't think any of that is "totally cool". I simultaneously think IP theft by the Indian government, by which it forces westerners to subsidise drugs for its own people, is also immoral.*

Anyone who supports the Indian governments position here implicitly is saying drugs need to be provided at or near cost.

*I disagree with the concept of IP, but whilst it exists as a legal concept and as the way we fund drug discovery and testing it deserves to be respected in this case.
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Re: Advanced drugs not developed for people of India

Postby EMTP » Sun Jan 26, 2014 8:39 pm UTC

Ormurinn wrote:
Anyone who supports the Indian governments position here implicitly is saying drugs need to be provided at or near cost.


No. http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacie ... slope.html
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Re: Advanced drugs not developed for people of India

Postby Zamfir » Sun Jan 26, 2014 8:42 pm UTC

Ormurinn wrote:*I disagree with the concept of IP, but whilst it exists as a legal concept and as the way we fund drug discovery and testing it deserves to be respected in this case.

IP might be a legal concept, but India is a sovereign country. They are not bound by the laws of other countries. If you want to accuse them of theft, you will have to accept IP as a moral concept that should bind even people who are not bound to it by law.

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Re: Advanced drugs not developed for people of India

Postby Izawwlgood » Sun Jan 26, 2014 8:44 pm UTC

My first post in this thread was also agreeing that patent busting is a problem.
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Re: Advanced drugs not developed for people of India

Postby Ormurinn » Sun Jan 26, 2014 8:52 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:
Ormurinn wrote:*I disagree with the concept of IP, but whilst it exists as a legal concept and as the way we fund drug discovery and testing it deserves to be respected in this case.

IP might be a legal concept, but India is a sovereign country. They are not bound by the laws of other countries. If you want to accuse them of theft, you will have to accept IP as a moral concept that should bind even people who are not bound to it by law.


Dealing fairly with your trading partners is just common courtesy - and good sense too, since pharma companies are well within their rights to refuse to serve India now.

IP isn't just national law either, its an aspect of international trade treaties, which India is presumably a signatory to.

By collectively refusing to bear their share of the burden of paying for drug development, India is parasitic on the Wests R+D budget.

EMTP wrote:
Ormurinn wrote:
Anyone who supports the Indian governments position here implicitly is saying drugs need to be provided at or near cost.


No. http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacie ... slope.html


Its not slippery slope. Forcing companies to charge significantly closer to cost than in the west is the explicit purpose of this legislation.

Could the drug in question pay for itself (and the other 20 or so near misses in its category) if global per-dose costs were fixed as India has? No.
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Re: Advanced drugs not developed for people of India

Postby EMTP » Sun Jan 26, 2014 9:12 pm UTC

Its not slippery slope. Forcing companies to charge significantly closer to cost than in the west is the explicit purpose of this legislation.


You are claiming anyone who supports this specific piece of legislation must also support what you claim is the universal application of the same principle. That very much sounds like a slippery slope fallacy. There may be may things that make this case different. Don't attribute sweeping general philosophical assertions to other people based on their views in one specific case. If you think supporting the Indian government in this case will lead inevitably to the general case, that's a slippery slope. If you merely think we must believe in the general case, that's a straw man. Either way, poor reasoning.

Zamfir wrote:
Ormurinn wrote:*I disagree with the concept of IP, but whilst it exists as a legal concept and as the way we fund drug discovery and testing it deserves to be respected in this case.

IP might be a legal concept, but India is a sovereign country. They are not bound by the laws of other countries. If you want to accuse them of theft, you will have to accept IP as a moral concept that should bind even people who are not bound to it by law.


+1. It's very strange that you say you don't believe in IP as a concept as yet you complain India is "parasitic" on IP holders. What's wrong with benefiting from the work done by other people, especially to keep your own citizens alive and healthy? By that logic all science and art are "parasitic."
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Re: Advanced drugs not developed for people of India

Postby Ormurinn » Sun Jan 26, 2014 9:33 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:
Ormurinn wrote:*I disagree with the concept of IP, but whilst it exists as a legal concept and as the way we fund drug discovery and testing it deserves to be respected in this case.

IP might be a legal concept, but India is a sovereign country. They are not bound by the laws of other countries. If you want to accuse them of theft, you will have to accept IP as a moral concept that should bind even people who are not bound to it by law.


+1. It's very strange that you say you don't believe in IP as a concept as yet you complain India is "parasitic" on IP holders. What's wrong with benefiting from the work done by other people, especially to keep your own citizens alive and healthy? By that logic all science and art are "parasitic."[/quote]

The problem is in distorting the resulting price signals - by forcing westerners to pay over the odds for drug development, you slow down the development of drugs generally and discourage their consumption and use. You also make developing drugs specifically for the their world even more unprofitable.

Just by taking this policy, India has increased the risk profile of investing in drugs useful for the third world. They've turned a positive sum game into a zero-sum one.

I'd rather see drug development funded by an alternative means, and the elimination of IP. While we use IP to fund drug development, I oppose India's actions on consequentialist grounds. Short term some people get some drugs they might not have (though India has enough money for a space programming and Mars missions...) Long term, drugs go undeveloped and unsupplied.
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Re: Advanced drugs not developed for people of India

Postby CorruptUser » Sun Jan 26, 2014 11:37 pm UTC

I still have a problem with the company itself making the call. If given the opportunity, no matter the service, a firm will charge as much as they can. I don't want MerckMedco deciding how much I can afford to pay any more than I want a restaurant charging me ten times as much as the next table.

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Re: Advanced drugs not developed for people of India

Postby elasto » Sun Jan 26, 2014 11:55 pm UTC

Ormurinn wrote:The problem is in distorting the resulting price signals - by forcing westerners to pay over the odds for drug development, you slow down the development of drugs generally and discourage their consumption and use.


But that's absolutely not what's happening here. This whole thread is about the fact the CEO said this drug was not developed for Indians; ie. it was planned for and expected that Westerners would pay the full cost of this development of this drug:

The CEO wrote:We did not develop this medicine for Indians, we developed it for western patients who can afford it.


Yes, you might be right in some instances - perhaps even in general - but in this case apparently the CEO would disagree with you...

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Re: Advanced drugs not developed for people of India

Postby BattleMoose » Mon Jan 27, 2014 12:54 am UTC

Pharmaceutical companies choosing not to develop drugs for India is the obvious and predictable outcome of India not respecting the patents.

It might be that India benefits as a whole for infringing patent laws and getting drugs on the cheap. But it also means that no Pharmaceutical company will develop a drug for diseases and illness that are regionally specific to India, Malaria, Dengue Fever for examples.

Zamfir wrote:IP might be a legal concept, but India is a sovereign country. They are not bound by the laws of other countries. If you want to accuse them of theft, you will have to accept IP as a moral concept that should bind even people who are not bound to it by law.


India is a party to the Patent Cooperation Treaty and I would expect they would also be party to any other international patent agreements. The article was incredibly silent on whether or not India actually granted a patent for this drug. I expect India would have granted a patent for this drug.

Further, the Pharmaceutical companies are pursuing the matter through Indian Courts, this would only be possible if there are Indian laws that were broken?

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Re: Advanced drugs not developed for people of India

Postby morriswalters » Mon Jan 27, 2014 1:37 am UTC

BattleMoose wrote:Pharmaceutical companies choosing not to develop drugs for India is the obvious and predictable outcome of India not respecting the patents.
I wouldn't suggest that it couldn't be true, can you show it is? There is no indication in what I read that this is a done deal. I suspect if a drug is not being developed for India, it is because there is no money tree there to pull dollars off of. By definition what the gentleman said was elitist. These drugs would be no more available to patients in the US than they would in India if they were poor. The difference is in the GDP of the US. Our wealth. The system absorbs the blow. There is nothing to say that Bayer couldn't have cut a deal that would have made the drug available for a lesser price and still made a profit. Lord knows we have sucked enough wealth out of the world and India. Are you ashamed to return the favor.

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Re: Advanced drugs not developed for people of India

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Jan 27, 2014 9:37 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:So, appalling racism is racist. But I don't think there's anything wrong with a company making drugs with the intent to profit on them, and while it's... not appalling, but 'not good' that patented drugs are jacking up prices of life saving necessary therapies... the way to combat this is not patent busting.

I support companies profiting from making life saving treatments, as it incentives further life saving treatment research, and allows them to support charities or discounted drug programs. Which is, obviously, virtually unrelated to the asinine statement above. But lets not get on a 'boo pharma for wanting to continue being in business' bandwagon.


Right. Now, patent reform overall needs to happen, but "we'll ignore the patent system entirely in situation x, and let it continue being ridiculous elsewhere" is not a very sound approach.

Thesh wrote:Except they will profit by selling to India, just not as much as they want to. The cost of manufacturing is low, so selling it cheap or even licensing it will still be profitable for them as opposed to not selling it at all.


You have a strange definition of profit. If it isn't making up the research costs, the drug as a whole is not profitable. You cannot simply look at manufacturing costs without utterly failing to understand IP.

Bayer's profits slipped in 2012, I'm not at all surprised that they are concerned about being forced to give up IP.

morriswalters wrote:I don't really care if big pharma makes money or not, although they will. Or someone will come along and make it if they can't. I was more depressed because the statement was a racist/elitist throwaway and Businessweek didn't so much as blink.


It's a discussion of markets, not races. It's not as if Bayer reps are standing at the counter of your local pharmacy to punch anyone of Indian descent who tries to purchase their things. Elitist? Maybe. But it's a discussion of business, not of class. What he's saying is something everyone does in practice. If there wasn't a wealthy western market to purchase drugs...many drugs we have today would simply not exist.

Zamfir wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:The problem I have with price discrimination is that I in the US will end up paying more for the same exact item as someone else.

What about paying more for the same medicine if you have more money than others?


This is no different than the issue we recently discussed with regard to textbooks, really. I mean, it's fine if the company wants to ask different prices in different places, but there shouldn't be any legal weight thrown around to enforce this. They get to sell their product wherever they wish, at whatever price they wish, but resale and reshipping should not be their concern.

I don't think we have some god-given right to all pay the same price for something...but if it costs $100 a pill here and $1 a pill there, it's naive to think that the latter market won't leak into the former.

EMTP wrote:This is a situation in which a sovereign, democratic government has appropriately taken action to care for its people by placing some sensible regulation on the company's pursuit of maximum profit. I don't disagree with your moral assessment of the situation, but the important thing is that we not expect corporations whose mission is to maximize profit to always act morally. Sometimes the government needs to keep them in line, and that's no bad thing.


More accurately, this is how a corrupt as shit government has decided to simply take IP without prior warning because they do not wish to pay for it. This can be expected to harm international relationships, and may hamper their future access to cutting edge medical IP due to a simple lack of trust. Theft is always great if you only look at the short term effects.

Zamfir wrote:
Ormurinn wrote:*I disagree with the concept of IP, but whilst it exists as a legal concept and as the way we fund drug discovery and testing it deserves to be respected in this case.

IP might be a legal concept, but India is a sovereign country. They are not bound by the laws of other countries. If you want to accuse them of theft, you will have to accept IP as a moral concept that should bind even people who are not bound to it by law.


Nah. IP is a concept they accept as well. They simply have decided to discard it in this case because they do not wish to pay. This isn't some grand moral concept thing.

EMTP wrote:
Its not slippery slope. Forcing companies to charge significantly closer to cost than in the west is the explicit purpose of this legislation.


You are claiming anyone who supports this specific piece of legislation must also support what you claim is the universal application of the same principle. That very much sounds like a slippery slope fallacy. There may be may things that make this case different. Don't attribute sweeping general philosophical assertions to other people based on their views in one specific case. If you think supporting the Indian government in this case will lead inevitably to the general case, that's a slippery slope. If you merely think we must believe in the general case, that's a straw man. Either way, poor reasoning.


In this case, it is being applied simultaneously to twenty drugs. This does seem to herald a growing willingness to engage in the tactic, and if they do not suffer ill effects, it seems likely that they will employ the tactic again in the near future.

CorruptUser wrote:I still have a problem with the company itself making the call. If given the opportunity, no matter the service, a firm will charge as much as they can. I don't want MerckMedco deciding how much I can afford to pay any more than I want a restaurant charging me ten times as much as the next table.


This is not exactly the case here. The problem is that India wants to decide. And obviously, India wants to pay very little. If all of us paid that little, the drug would not be made. It's shifting costs to others for their benefit. Obviously, if this becomes a popular tactic among various countries, it will cause a number of breakdowns. Loss of trade because of distrust and IP theft is one potential outcome. Drugs not being made because of an inability to recoup costs is another potential outcome.

morriswalters wrote:
BattleMoose wrote:Pharmaceutical companies choosing not to develop drugs for India is the obvious and predictable outcome of India not respecting the patents.
I wouldn't suggest that it couldn't be true, can you show it is? There is no indication in what I read that this is a done deal. I suspect if a drug is not being developed for India, it is because there is no money tree there to pull dollars off of. By definition what the gentleman said was elitist. These drugs would be no more available to patients in the US than they would in India if they were poor. The difference is in the GDP of the US. Our wealth. The system absorbs the blow. There is nothing to say that Bayer couldn't have cut a deal that would have made the drug available for a lesser price and still made a profit. Lord knows we have sucked enough wealth out of the world and India. Are you ashamed to return the favor.


By this definition, everyone who markets anything to an above average income group, worldwide, is elitist. This would include the maid who cleans the homes of rich people...because obviously, poor people cannot afford maids. Does this make a maid elitist?

Also, wealth ain't a zero sum game. We are not rich because we sucked India, etc dry. India is getting more wealthy due to trade with us, not less. At the risk of being rude, Mercantilism has been dead as an economic system for hundreds of years, the fact that people are still espousing ideas based on such a simplistic view of the world is incredibly worrying.

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Re: Advanced drugs not developed for people of India

Postby morriswalters » Mon Jan 27, 2014 11:13 am UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:By this definition, everyone who markets anything to an above average income group, worldwide, is elitist. This would include the maid who cleans the homes of rich people...because obviously, poor people cannot afford maids. Does this make a maid elitist?

Also, wealth ain't a zero sum game. We are not rich because we sucked India, etc dry. India is getting more wealthy due to trade with us, not less. At the risk of being rude, Mercantilism has been dead as an economic system for hundreds of years, the fact that people are still espousing ideas based on such a simplistic view of the world is incredibly worrying.
I'll paraphrase, it was "we developed the drug for people who could afford it", not "we developed the drug to treat people who are sick, and the necessities of the market make the drug expensive". It's the mindset that would make the quote possible that I object to.

Mercantilism may be dead but its child is still alive. The wealth is the US and Western Europe came about due to the "mercantilism" and is continued using the kick start it gave us. Our wealth as it currently exists, is due to global markets. Without those markets we would be poorer and so would Bayer.

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Re: Advanced drugs not developed for people of India

Postby leady » Mon Jan 27, 2014 11:52 am UTC

morriswalters wrote:I'll paraphrase, it was "we developed the drug for people who could afford it", not "we developed the drug to treat people who are sick, and the necessities of the market make the drug expensive". It's the mindset that would make the quote possible that I object to.


As has already been pointed out, everyone has this mindset. I find it more concerning that people can't be honest because others refuse to acknowledge reality

Mercantilism may be dead but its child is still alive. The wealth is the US and Western Europe came about due to the "mercantilism" and is continued using the kick start it gave us. Our wealth as it currently exists, is due to global markets. Without those markets we would be poorer and so would Bayer.


No it didn't, free trade and industrialisation funded mercantilism (as empircally shown by the relative performance of nations with colonies vs those without). Mercantilism made specific individuals a lot of money, not nations.

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Re: Advanced drugs not developed for people of India

Postby morriswalters » Mon Jan 27, 2014 1:10 pm UTC

leady wrote:As has already been pointed out, everyone has this mindset. I find it more concerning that people can't be honest because others refuse to acknowledge reality
Is this true because you say it is or is there some evidence?
leady wrote:No it didn't, free trade and industrialisation funded mercantilism (as empircally shown by the relative performance of nations with colonies vs those without). Mercantilism made specific individuals a lot of money, not nations.
Perhaps I misunderstand, your definition of Mercantilism seems to vary from the Wikipedia articles. A quick reading seems to indicate that free trade in particular didn't seem to have much to do with it.

Let me restate my position. If Bayer chooses to develop only for those who can pay what it wants to charge for it, is that moral? The goods under discussion aren't things that are wants rather things that are needs. People will die lacking those goods. So there is a difference between Iphones and cancer therapies. By analogy it I have water in the desert and you can't pay my price but can pay some lower price, is it moral to let you die even if I can't be shown to suffer a hurtful loss because I let you pay what you can afford? I would defend Bayer's right to offer the drugs at differential rates based of the wealth of the individual nations. I would also defend Bayer's right to protect that income stream. I suggest there is a moral way to achieve a goal that will get the therapies to the countries that need them at a price that can be afforded by those countries that still provides value to the shareholders and money for future research.

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Re: Advanced drugs not developed for people of India

Postby leady » Mon Jan 27, 2014 2:43 pm UTC

[quote="morriswalters]Is this true because you say it is or is there some evidence? [/quote]

People aren't that altruistic (average of 3% of salary goes to charity) and they generally (hell, one step below nearly always) go for maximum value in work or personal trades. Yet when a faceless corporation acts exactly like a person (or worse admits to it) everyone becomes horrified. I bet you that that Pharma company already sells drug cheaper in less rich markets and has a chartitable programme to give out drugs.

Perhaps I misunderstand, your definition of Mercantilism seems to vary from the Wikipedia articles. A quick reading seems to indicate that free trade in particular didn't seem to have much to do with it.


We might be talking past each other, but I was assuming you were using mercantilism in the "east india company sense", rather than the general protectionist economic sense. That model was subsided not wealth generating (bar the immediate recipients)

Let me restate my position. If Bayer chooses to develop only for those who can pay what it wants to charge for it, is that moral? The goods under discussion aren't things that are wants rather things that are needs. People will die lacking those goods. So there is a difference between Iphones and cancer therapies. By analogy it I have water in the desert and you can't pay my price but can pay some lower price, is it moral to let you die even if I can't be shown to suffer a hurtful loss because I let you pay what you can afford? I would defend Bayer's right to offer the drugs at differential rates based of the wealth of the individual nations. I would also defend Bayer's right to protect that income stream. I suggest there is a moral way to achieve a goal that will get the therapies to the countries that need them at a price that can be afforded by those countries that still provides value to the shareholders and money for future research.


understood, but my view of the world is that there is no circumstance under which your immediate needs allow to take anothers stuff. There is an infinite set of "needs" and the resources are scarce. If I go to the trouble of setting up a water store in a desert I damn well have the right to charge you $10k a glass as its probably cost me $9999 to be there. If there are two of you and your friend can pay and you can't, well it sucks to be you if I only have 1 glass. This logic applies just as well to stuff like cancer drugs (the old pharmacist parable for example) - if you condone stealing it and it won't exist to steal.

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Re: Advanced drugs not developed for people of India

Postby morriswalters » Mon Jan 27, 2014 3:12 pm UTC

leady wrote:There is an infinite set of "needs" and the resources are scarce. If I go to the trouble of setting up a water store in a desert I damn well have the right to charge you $10k a glass as its probably cost me $9999 to be there. If there are two of you and your friend can pay and you can't, well it sucks to be you if I only have 1 glass.
That wasn't the question I posed.
morriswalters wrote: By analogy itif I have water in the desert and you can't pay my price but can pay some lower price, is it moral to let you die even if I can't be shown to suffer a hurtful loss because I let you pay what you can afford?
But I'll try another analogy. If I am the operator of a passenger ship and I come across your life boat at sea, can I pass you by if you can't pay for a ticket? I exist to carry passengers not rescue fools lost at sea. Tough on you for getting adrift in your lifeboat. It sucks to be you. Is that position moral? If not than how does it differ than my question? Is there a solution that allows Bayer to enjoy the fruit of their labors, profits, without letting people die?

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Re: Advanced drugs not developed for people of India

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Jan 27, 2014 3:23 pm UTC

Depends. The fool at sea may be required to pay the additional cost incurred to the ship, eg, the cost of being delayed an hour. But the captain of the ship would be conpletely unethical to charge anything more than that when the person is clearly under duress.

What we have with the pharmas is less like random ships at sea and more like a rescue service. It costs money to build the rescue ships, and a certain amount of money to use the ships. Should one country refuse to pay part of the cost of building the ships and only pay the cost of mounting an individual rescue? The result is that another country has to pick up the cost of building the ships.

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Re: Advanced drugs not developed for people of India

Postby jseah » Mon Jan 27, 2014 3:46 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:Let me restate my position. If Bayer chooses to develop only for those who can pay what it wants to charge for it, is that moral?

Yes. Yes, it is to me.

Making any drug is alot of work. It is unethical to force people to work, which is what your implied meaning results in.

A surgeon is entitled to take a holiday (with pay even, if its short enough to fall inside the allotted yearly leave) even if that holiday would result in people dying from the lack of his/her services.

I see Bayer having to develop drugs for life-threatening conditions that they do not want to (for any particular reason, even if it's simply "we can't be bothered to", much less "we can't make money doing that"), to be analogous to that.
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Re: Advanced drugs not developed for people of India

Postby Mittagessen » Mon Jan 27, 2014 3:51 pm UTC

There seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding of international patent law. For a long time India didn't recognize patents on pharmaceutical products at all. When she joined the WTO in 1995 one of the requirements was to bring its patent law in line with WTO guidelines which require the patentability of pharmaceutical products but at the same time allow for compulsory licensing if an invention isn't "worked" in the patent granting country. India retained such a provision although it hasn't been applied until a few years ago. The general cause for compulsory licensing has always been that a pharmaceutical company had never offered a certain drug for sale in India or at conditions that the Supreme Court found to amount to "non-working" the patent. The compulsory licenses are neither free nor is the resulting product affordable to a vast majority of Indians, they just enforce the original intent of this particular government granted monopoly.

In addition most countries with national health organizations collectively bargain for drug prices. The NHS through NICE effectively forces pharmaceutical companies to provide any drug under a certain price point and it does it through a comparatively less controlled procedure than the independent judiciary of a (semi-)working democracy.

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Re: Advanced drugs not developed for people of India

Postby Heisenberg » Mon Jan 27, 2014 3:54 pm UTC

leady wrote:People aren't that altruistic (average of 3% of salary goes to charity) and they generally (hell, one step below nearly always) go for maximum value in work or personal trades. Yet when a faceless corporation acts exactly like a person (or worse admits to it) everyone becomes horrified.

This corporation had a face, and that face said something horrific. Of course we're horrified. He very easily could have said something with a shred of humanity, like "We'd love to help more people with this drug, but the market makes that implausible at this time." Instead he said he doesn't care about helping an entire race of people because all he cares about is money. That's a pretty horrific thing to say when you hold someone's life in your hands. Fuck that guy.

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Re: Advanced drugs not developed for people of India

Postby LaserGuy » Mon Jan 27, 2014 4:51 pm UTC

leady wrote:No it didn't, free trade and industrialisation funded mercantilism (as empircally shown by the relative performance of nations with colonies vs those without). Mercantilism made specific individuals a lot of money, not nations.


This argument might have more merit if mercantilism didn't predate industrialization by almost 200 years. In modern times, selective protectionism has yielded explosive economic growth in Japan (50s), Korea (60s), and China (80s to present). There's quite a bit of benefit to maintaining protectionist policies if your trading partners are unable to (as in the case of colonies) or prefer not to (as in modern times, to some extent or other) retaliate.

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Re: Advanced drugs not developed for people of India

Postby morriswalters » Mon Jan 27, 2014 6:27 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:What we have with the pharmas is less like random ships at sea and more like a rescue service. It costs money to build the rescue ships, and a certain amount of money to use the ships. Should one country refuse to pay part of the cost of building the ships and only pay the cost of mounting an individual rescue? The result is that another country has to pick up the cost of building the ships.
Your argument isn't about the company, it seems to be about parity. So if India wants to share the drug it should share the cost to develop the drug equally with you. Therefore they should pay the same price as you. Would that be a fair statement of your position?
Mittagessen wrote:In addition most countries with national health organizations collectively bargain for drug prices. The NHS through NICE effectively forces pharmaceutical companies to provide any drug under a certain price point and it does it through a comparatively less controlled procedure than the independent judiciary of a (semi-)working democracy.
Are you saying that the NHS through NICE can force drug companies to lower prices?

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Re: Advanced drugs not developed for people of India

Postby Arancaytar » Mon Jan 27, 2014 6:28 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:The problem I have with price discrimination is that I in the US will end up paying more for the same exact item as someone else.

I abhor any form of price discrimination unless it is available to everyone (e.g., Early Bird Specials, Groupon, Steam deal, etc).


The price of this treatment is easily worth flying to India for, mind you.
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Re: Advanced drugs not developed for people of India

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Jan 27, 2014 6:34 pm UTC

Arancaytar wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:The problem I have with price discrimination is that I in the US will end up paying more for the same exact item as someone else.

I abhor any form of price discrimination unless it is available to everyone (e.g., Early Bird Specials, Groupon, Steam deal, etc).


The price of this treatment is easily worth flying to India for, mind you.


I cannot help but assume that a treatment developed in the west, and then exported halfway around the world, and the patient is then ALSO exported halfway around the world to get it....may not be a very efficient model.

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Re: Advanced drugs not developed for people of India

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Jan 27, 2014 7:02 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:What we have with the pharmas is less like random ships at sea and more like a rescue service. It costs money to build the rescue ships, and a certain amount of money to use the ships. Should one country refuse to pay part of the cost of building the ships and only pay the cost of mounting an individual rescue? The result is that another country has to pick up the cost of building the ships.
Your argument isn't about the company, it seems to be about parity. So if India wants to share the drug it should share the cost to develop the drug equally with you. Therefore they should pay the same price as you. Would that be a fair statement of your position?


Close enough for practical purposes. They can be free to sell the drug for $100 in one place and $1 in another only if I am also free to buy it in the other place and resell for $40 in the first place. If they want to enforce any forms of price discrimination, it must be available to all, such as ordering online vs purchase at stores, or coupons, etc. As an aside, I really really hate student and senior discounts, even though I take advantage of student discounts all the time.


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