by Karl Denninger, Market Ticker:
They are stealing from you and I. They demand to do so at gunpoint.
Trikafta took three decades to develop. Scientists first isolated the genetic defect that causes cystic fibrosis in 1989. Vertex, which developed the treatment, has set a high price tag for Trikafta, at $311,000. But a treatment that can extend life expectancy for cystic fibrosis patients by decades, while also improving the quality of life for my daughter and patients like her, is still worthwhile even at that price.
It’s not $311,000 once, it’s $311,000 per year, forever.
I assure you that neither she or her daughter have that kind of money. Her daughter is five. If she lives to 80 she will steal $23 million dollars from others in order to live to 80 and have this medication. Of course that’s pie-in-the-sky bull****; there are no long-term studies on any of these molecules, and while a 10-20% improvement in airflow into the lungs is very impressive whether that’s permanent and what other bad things may come are both undetermined.
But let’s assume the best, for the moment.
The bottom line remains simple: Nobody has the right to steal $23 million from anyone, ever, period, and those who do deserve prison, the gallows — or both.
Those who try to steal $23 by force often discover, quite lawfully, that the answer to such a demand is “bang.”
So why do we tolerate someone trying to steal $23 million by parading around cute children as their weapons that are shoved in your face.
Don’t get me wrong — I feel very badly for anyone with a chronic disease like this and there are, sometimes “treatments” developed. We don’t know what the long-term side effects are of them because they haven’t been around long enough to know, but that they produce benefit right now isn’t the question.
The question is whether the current model of medicine, which institutionalizes extortion and theft at gunpoint from others such that your health “insurance” costs $10,000+ a year can be defended or whether those who advocate for that level of theft from you, especially when they use cute children as props for their schemes, should be free to roam among us or ought to be charged with felony child abuse and locked up — or simply told “No” or perhaps something even more-forceful — like “**** you.”
There are answers to these problems that don’t involve such types of theft but notice how none of the cute children paraders are interested in those. That’s because they’re thieves and don’t give a wet crap about how they get what they want, just like any other thief.
One of those potential solutions is to publicly fund this sort of research instead of allowing people to do what they do now, which is to piggyback on NIH (publicly-funded) primary studies and then steal all the money from what they refine that primary work forward.
Global pharmaceutical R&D spending was roughly $200 billion last year. Drugs discovered for one benefit all with the same condition, no matter where they live. Therefore there is utterly no reason for the United States to spend one penny more than our ratable portion of this based on our population, since, we are all told, there is no person who is worth more than another.
We are about 5% of global population; 5% of $200 billion is $10 billion.
Fine. Fund that out of the Federal Budget; it’s about 2/3rds of 1% of Medicare and Medicaid spending today.
Every other nation is then expected to kick in their piece. If they don’t, no drugs for them — at all. This isn’t a negotiation; fork it up or get nothing, ever, period, and we’ll enforce that at gunpoint if we have to. We spend $700 billion a year buying weapons, delivery systems and people — you either pay your share or we’ll blow up any attempt to circumvent the blackballing of your nation’s access to pharmaceuticals.
The exchange on this is that by paying your fair share of R&D based on population there are no patents on pharmaceuticals anywhere in the world; all molecules are publicly published as are the trial results, anyone can make them and sell them, anyone can cross-ship them between nations as they wish, and now we have competition so the price falls to that of reproduction plus a modest profit around 10% since R&D has been publicly paid for and there is no reason to set prices like this.
I know, you’ll claim I’m a communist.