Bayer's CEO: We Develop Drugs For Rich Westerners, Not Poor Indians

from the refreshingly-honest dept

We've covered the continuing efforts of emerging economies to provide key medicines for their populations at affordable prices. To do that, they often invoke their right to use compulsory licensing to bring down costs. For understandable reasons, the big pharma companies aren't happy with that approach, but usually dress it up as a concern about the supposed threat to "innovation" that it represents -- their claim being high prices are needed to fund expensive research. But as Techdirt has noted, pharma's estimates of expenditure here tend to be hugely inflated, which rather undercuts that argument.

One of the companies that has been affected by compulsory licensing moves in India is Bayer. Here's what its CEO said on the subject according to a report in Bloomberg Businessweek:

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."
That's a refreshingly honest admission that rather than wanting to save lives around the world, what Bayer is interested in is maximizing its profits by selling expensive drugs to "western patients who can afford it," and that those who can't pay can just, well, drop dead -- which, of course, is precisely what many of them will do without Bayer's drugs.

Some might say that's a perfectly reasonable position -- after all, Bayer and the other pharmaceutical companies are for-profit concerns. But they weren't always so dismissive of humanitarian concerns. Here's what George Merck, who became president of his father's eponymous chemical manufacturing company in 1929, said on the subject, as quoted on the Today in Science History site:

We try never to forget that medicine is for the people. It is not for the profits. The profits follow, and if we have remembered that, they have never failed to appear. The better we have remembered it, the larger they have been.
Bayer's CEO obviously disagrees.

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  1.  
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    Violynne (profile), Jan 27th, 2014 @ 5:45am

    Because of crap like this, I've been buying off-brands rather than named brands.

    Want to see something more offensive: try the new safety wrapping from Vicks' Nyquil: We don't make generic brands.

    What an arrogant, bullshit thing to put on a product. "We value profits over health" is exactly what the message says.

    Pharmacy is part of the reason healthcare is so expensive.

    But as long as there are Congress members with stock in these companies, things will never change.

     

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    Ninja (profile), Jan 27th, 2014 @ 7:35am

    Indeed it is at least honest. But really if these aren't for poor Indians anyway it means Bayer will suffer no loss with the initiative. As abhorrent as the comment is it further undermines Bayer's arguments.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 7:45am

    Why does he care then?

    If they didn't develop it for Indians, and only rich westerners were supposed to be their target consumer, then why should they give a rat's ass if Indians are producing their own and selling it for 97% cheaper (from the article)?

    I suspect they're really afraid that the world will begin to see what's really going on here, and other countries will follow India's lead.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Howard (profile), Jan 27th, 2014 @ 7:46am

    Re:

    This.

    No targeted demography? Good, no expected profits lost then. And since they don't plan to make those medicines, they can give them up for free for those who will.

     

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    MadAsASnake (profile), Jan 27th, 2014 @ 7:48am

    They will however happily use cheap Indian labour to produce the stuff.

     

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    jilocasin, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 7:54am

    Re: Why does he care then?

    The problem isn't just that, "...Indians are producing their own and selling it for 97% cheaper...", while that admittedly ruffles their feathers. I think the bigger concern is that the Indians will start selling it to others 95% cheaper than they do.

    This would be especially painful if they those affluent Westerners his company claims to be targeting start buying these generics.

     

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  7.  
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    crade (profile), Jan 27th, 2014 @ 7:55am

    Re: Why does he care then?

    The people who discovered fire didn't do it for you. The people who invented the wheel didn't do it for you. The people who invented the tangled web of lies used to dupe people into thinking it's a good thing to prevent people from using the things that are discovered and invented didn't do it for... oh nevermind they probably did.

     

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  8.  
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    crade (profile), Jan 27th, 2014 @ 7:56am

    Re: Re: Why does he care then?

    So what? That's called competition.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 8:01am

    Innovative drugs will be developed perfectly fine without patents and the pharmaceutical industry knows this. Everyone knew this before patents were around for so long because without patents drugs were developed and so the pharmaceutical industry had to pretend that patents were about the public interest. The industry just wants patents so that they get a patent on everything and lobby the FDA to require pre-approval for any new drugs so that pharma can prevent others from competing.

     

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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jan 27th, 2014 @ 8:05am

    How dare those damn Indians not just skip the drugs and have a mass die off!

    Seriously, they produce drugs and are going out of their way to price it out of the hands of a majority of the people on the planet. Do they understand the concept of if you let all of the people your drug could have saved die off your actively killing your total market?

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 8:06am

    Re: Re: Why does he care then?

    You act like patents are a good thing. They're not.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 8:11am

    Also, Bayer needs to remember that they aren't entitled to patents and patents weren't put in place to serve Bayer's interests but to serve the public interest.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 8:11am

    Re:

    (and allowing the poor who can't afford drugs to die in favor of corporate profits is clearly not in the public interest and so is not part of the purpose of having patents. but this is proof that the true reason patents exist is not to serve the public interest but to serve private corporate interests).

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 8:12am

    This right here explains why cures are a thing of the past. Profit matters over everything else. If compulsory licensing is 'essentially theft', then surely cures are a 'cancer' for long-term profit.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 8:21am

    there should be a public outcry over this! regardless of what this obnoxious arse hole thinks, without the 'Indians', neither his or any other company would sell sufficient amounts or numbers of their products to stay in business, let alone make a profit. just because people are rich, doesn't mean they will always be able or willing to spend the amounts of money some drugs allegedly cost to manufacture. then i have to wonder if the rich would be in sufficient numbers anyway, regardless of how many these cartels think there are!

     

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  16. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    out_of_the_blue, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 8:22am

    SEE THE RICH ARE EVIL AND TECHDIRT IS EVIL CUZ IT IS RICH PEOPLE MINION RARGH! RANT RANT RANT!
    _______________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________RANTY RANT!

     

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  17.  
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    DannyB (profile), Jan 27th, 2014 @ 8:25am

    All asprins alike

    You can Google for "The Dark History of Bayer Drugs", which reveals all sorts of interesting ugliness, but that doesn't cover the thing I remember from my youth.

    What I was searching for was a lawsuit about Bayer Aspirin marketing back in the 1970's.

    Anyone remember those TV commercials suggesting that Bayer Aspirin was somehow better than generic aspirin? They had a commercial with various myths proven untrue such as:
    * (picture of Wright Bros trying to fly) . . . If man were meant to fly, he's have wings!
    * (man saying...) All aspirins alike
    Then the commercial goes on to explain that all aspirins are not alike. Even though each tablet is the same exact active ingredient, somehow Bayer aspirin has magical qualities not found in generics.

    Of course, after a lawsuit, it was found that generic aspirins were just as good and Bayer had to stop saying this. My sixth grade teacher said: they lied.

     

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  18.  
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    DannyB (profile), Jan 27th, 2014 @ 8:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Why does he care then?

    Yes, but if competition is allowed, then people will look at Bayer's prices and start noticing how little material is in the emperor's wardrobe.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 8:29am

    The world would be a better place if we sent people like Marijn Dekkers off to prison for crimes against humanity.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 8:32am

    Marijn Dekkers, is simply afraid the affordable humanitarian aid in India, will catch on and spread to other countries. He's afraid access to affordable medicines will become a priority over artificially inflated prices, which are caused by draconian patent laws.

    He sees governments prioritizing sick patients over profits, and it scares the living dickens out of him.

     

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  21.  
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    scotts13 (profile), Jan 27th, 2014 @ 8:41am

    Re:

    "Want to see something more offensive: try the new safety wrapping from Vicks' Nyquil: We don't make generic brands."

    I'm not sure what you find objectionable about that. It's a widely-held but almost entirely inaccurate belief that generic drugs are made by the same companies as name brands - the only difference being labeling. They're just saying that, in this case, it's not true.

     

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  22.  
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    scotts13 (profile), Jan 27th, 2014 @ 8:46am

    Re: All asprins alike

    "Then the commercial goes on to explain that all aspirins are not alike. Even though each tablet is the same exact active ingredient, somehow Bayer aspirin has magical qualities not found in generics."

    And sometimes it's true. Two commercial preparations of a drug, with the same amount of the same active ingredient, may have different effects or effectiveness. For example, what binders are used and how quickly and completely the drug is absorbed. Or in the case of aspirin, coated or uncoated, buffered or not, etc. I know several people who have had bad reactions to ostensibly-identical generic versions of drugs.

     

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  23.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 27th, 2014 @ 9:03am

    Re: Re: All asprins alike

    This is why drug labels also list the inactive ingredients. Some people can be allergic to some inactive ingredients. These ingredients can affect absorptions rate, but not really the underlying effectiveness of the drug.

    "Buffered," by the way, just means that an antacid is included in the formulation.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 9:20am

    Re: Why does he care then?

    They give a RA precisely because once companies begin manufacture of a generic version in, say, India, that generic version will almost instantaneously become a prime candidate for export worldwide.

    It is disappointing to see the constant vilification of long standing pharmaceutical companies as somehow the devil incarnate. There is nothing wrong with earning a profit. Nor is there anything wrong with differential pricing that depends upon market conditions in individual countries. For all those who rail "But people will die", it cannot be dismissed that the newer formulations are almost always not the only ones available in-country to treat a specific medical condition. Additionally, the entry into many foreign markets are conditioned upon the exporter creating domestic financial opportunities for a country's citizens. The construction of manufacturing facilities for any number of products is not at all an unusual mandate. The same can be said requiring the infusion of money to support domestic R&D. Companies is many, many industries do this all the time just to try and gain a foothold.

    The comment by Bayer's rep was not particularly wise, but there is a measure of truth that Bayer does not devote significant resources over the course of many years to create a product, only to turn over all relevant information about that product to a third party so that the third party will immediately be established as a coat-tail-riding competitor having expended virtually no company resources other than modify its manufacturing facilities and processes, as necessary, to begin cranking out the product.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 9:24am

    Re:

    Sure innovative drugs may be developed without patents...just as soon as developers figure out a way to keep others from making them and becoming competitors without having contributed anything to their development.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 9:28am

    Marijn Dekkers needs to be punished for those views so I propose we make him listen to ten hours of Prince.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 9:35am

    Re:

    Well stated.

     

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  28.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 27th, 2014 @ 9:42am

    Re: Re: Why does he care then?

    There is nothing wrong with earning a profit.


    Indeed. But there is a great deal wrong with prioritizing profits over human lives. Pharmaceutical companies are hardly the only ones vilified for doing this. I believe that it's an entirely criticism.

     

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  29.  
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    DannyB (profile), Jan 27th, 2014 @ 9:50am

    Re: Re: All asprins alike

    As my, then, young mind seems to recall (and these commercials were just blasted on TV all the time, and there was no TiVo to skip them), the Genuine(tm) Bayer(R) aspirin never seemed to have any specifics on how it was better.

    It was found not to be any better after a court battle.

    I do understand the issue that some people can have issues with inactive ingredients. I am more skeptical that inactive ingredients would be chosen that have an effect on the efficacy of the medication.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 9:50am

    Re: Why does he care then?

    just like other industries, they dont want to have to compete, relying preferably on stupid politicians to change the laws in their favor!

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 9:54am

    This Is exactly why the trade agreements should be very carefully examined, If it Doesn't benefit all nations involved by respecting the people of these nations, then by the will of the people it should be dissolved.
    These Big Pharma Corps should have to abide by the same Hippocratic Oath that Physicians do world wide.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 9:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Why does he care then?

    If profits are not earned by for-profit businesses those businesses will quite likely shutter their doors in short order. This is a truism, so to suggest that earning profits over saving lives is wrong is a bit off the mark.

    What people here seem to rail about is "they are trying to financially rape people who cannot afford life saving medications". Is this really true? Who is going to enter into a market if potential users of a product will be unable to buy it?

    This issue, associated in this instance with India, is about the perception that an unfair competitive advantage is being provided to domestic industry by government fiat. In addition, once the domestic industry has the means at hand to manufacture and distribute a medication, exports follow almost immediately.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 9:59am

    Re: Re: Re: All asprins alike

    What court battle? Details please...

     

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  34.  
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    beltorak (profile), Jan 27th, 2014 @ 10:00am

    Re: Re: Re: All asprins alike

    but it's not just a matter of allergens. I read a report that the different manufacturing process and slightly different binding agents could cause the total absorption of the active ingredient (as measured by how much is in the blood) to vary widely - sometimes only 30% of the drug was absorbed, it was fairly common for the absorption to be 70-120% of the name brand. I don't remember what the numbers were for time delay variances.

    I'd say (with my completely uneducated common sense) that if you are switching from a name-brand to a generic you should be mindful (and have your doctor evaluate it with you) that you could be changing your effective dose.

    /disclaimer: faulty memory, cant find the article; IANAD. etc etc.

     

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  35.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jan 27th, 2014 @ 10:02am

    Re: Re:

    Sure innovative drugs may be developed without patents...just as soon as developers figure out a way to keep others from making them and becoming competitors without having contributed anything to their development.

    Except, if you look at the actual history of the pharmaceutical industry, you would know that it came out of the chemicals & dyes industries, which had nearly all of its major breakthroughs in Switzerland and Germany during periods of time when those countries did not allow patents on chemicals -- and yet the industry and innovation thrived in both countries.

    So, yeah, there's plenty of evidence that you get a very dynamic and innovative industry without patents when all you're doing is mixing a bunch of chemicals together.

    You should learn some history.

     

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  36.  
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    jilocasin, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 10:02am

    Re: Re: [Mostly publicly funded R&D anyway]

    Actually I believe that much (most) of a typical pharmaceutical company's R&D (drug R&D that is) is actually accomplished at universities, many of those publicly funded.

    The largest expense is, wait for it, marketing. Someone has to pay for all those television and magazine ads that push drugs you (as a non-doctor) can't actually prescribe for yourself. That and all the encouragement (a.k.a. kickbacks, bribes, free dinners and retreats, and my favorite lobbying).

    The longer a patent lasts, and the easier it is to restrict others (including generic manufactures) the less likely we are to see new and innovative drugs developed. Get a patent, cash in, tweak that patent, cash in, country doesn't let you extend the patent on an existing drug by cosmetically tweaking it, sue that Country.

    If you look at history, countries with weak/non-existent patents on drugs created the most innovative treatments. Patents discourage innovation and encourage rent seeking.

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 10:02am

    Re: Re: Why does he care then?

    They do not, as the original developers, want to have to compete against their very own products in the hands of third parties who have zero skin in the game. I cannot say this is an unreasonable view.

     

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    mattshow (profile), Jan 27th, 2014 @ 10:03am

    All I can think of reading that quote is Scrooge's line from A Christmas Carol. It's not an exact fit, but it's what immediately springs to mind:

    If they would rather die, then they'd better hurry up and do it and decrease the surplus population.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 27th, 2014 @ 10:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Why does he care then?

    You misread me. I said "prioritizing profits," not "earning profits."

    Who is going to enter into a market if potential users of a product will be unable to buy it?


    That's a problem. It's also a great argument for nationalizing the development of medications instead of leaving it in the hands of for-profit companies.

    After all, one of the good things that governments do is those things that are both essential and that won't be properly done by private industry because of the lack of profit potential. Pharmaceuticals sound like they might fall into this category.

     

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    PRMan, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 10:07am

    Re: Re:

    This comment is almost sure to end up in a courtroom proving there are no "lost sales".

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 10:07am

    Marijn Dekkers, holds both Dutch and U.S. citizenship, is also member of the Board of Directors of General Electric.

     

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    jilocasin, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 10:08am

    Indian is a side show... look to South Africa

    If you think India is giving Big Pharma indigestion, read up on what's happening in South Africa.....

    sample:
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/edsilverman/2014/01/18/as-pharma-eyes-patent-changes-i n-south-africa-a-government-minister-cries-genocide/

     

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  43.  
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    PRMan, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 10:10am

    Re: Re: Re: [Mostly publicly funded R&D anyway]

    You forget all the bogus "research" that proves that we need impossibly low numbers of all bodily functions in order to survive or we need a drug for life.

    "Cholesterol at 140? Gasp! You need to take this pill every day for the next 50 years!"

     

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  44.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 10:12am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I do understand the history of this industry, thank you. There are many reasons why and how industries arise, but one that is cited as important in this one is that formulations were held by their developers in the strictest of confidence. The effective use of trade secrets can lead to the creation of new products, but it does have the downside of keeping others in the dark for an extended period of time. Love them or hate them, patents associated with the pharmaceutical industry can have the beneficial effect of forcing the disclosure of chemical compositions useful in the treatment of various medical conditions.

     

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  45.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 10:14am

    Re: Re: Why does he care then?

    There is a level of hypocricy in defending the Kirksaeng ruling and at the same time defending this kind of price regulation.

    When that is said, some prices in the west are starting to become artificially ultra-limited supply. In that way the prices can be set high enough to cover the cost of burning the overproduced stash and then some. Not even going into the complete madness of medicine pricing in socialized healthcare. Certain newer drugs are indefensibly expensive. Maybe the west should follow the example of India and set own compulsary licenses! The only other real alternative to deal with this problem is a complete dismantling of the patent system, but that is unrealistic.

     

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  46.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 27th, 2014 @ 10:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: All asprins alike

    it was fairly common for the absorption to be 70-120% of the name brand


    That's right. I even acknowledged this in my comment. :)

     

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  47.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 10:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Why does he care then?

    We already have "orphan drug" legislation in US law that was enacted to promote the development and distribution of medications useful in the treatment of rare medical conditions. Perhaps there are other things that can be done, but creating USGovernment Pharma is beyond scary.

     

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  48.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 27th, 2014 @ 10:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Why does he care then?

    It might be scary, but is it scarier than the system we have right now with the pharma companies? That's a subjective call, of course, but in my opinion, no, it's not. Big Pharma is absolutely terrifying and doesn't serve the needs of the nonwealthy public very well at all.

     

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  49.  
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    crade (profile), Jan 27th, 2014 @ 10:48am

    Re: Re: Why does he care then?

    Nothing wrong with earning a profit if you actually earn it. Their business model relies on denying the reality that anyone else could do the same thing for less if it weren't for government protection.. The extra money they get from the legal monopoly goes right back into lobbying for more government protection (since that is obviously there largest money maker). What do you expect? Anyone who ever tried to earn an honest dollar should be vilifying them. If people are giving a company money because it's the law rather than because they choose to do business with them, well you should expect both that there will be plenty of excuses as to why and that people will vilify the company.

     

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    crade (profile), Jan 27th, 2014 @ 10:56am

    Re: Re: All asprins alike

    I know people who have been healed by people touching them and saying "baby Jesus".

     

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  51.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 11:13am

    Hey, Bayer

    Don't cheap out and manufacture the drugs in India then. Pay people in the US to do it, you stupid fuckers.

     

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    antymat, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 11:26am

    For rich westerners...

    And that is why in Germany 10g of Aspirin made by Bayer is 4.50€ and the same made by some no-name in UK - £0.59.

     

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    DannyB (profile), Jan 27th, 2014 @ 11:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: All asprins alike

    Before I posted, I was trying to google it. But I only recall the news from when I was young.

    The commercials I remember very strongly. I also remember the classroom discussion fairly well. I do not know any specifics beyond that Bayer had to stop the ads, and the public now knew that all aspirin was alike.

     

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  54.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 12:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Why does he care then?

    So yr saying the free market won't work it for them?

    Why is that?

     

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  55.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 1:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Reverse engineering of most chemicals is mostly easy and cheap today. Some "right management" may be introduced to complicate the reverse engineering process, but it is still pretty doable. Therefore the trade secret stuff would be of lesser importance in several of these specific industries today.

    The problem in allowing copying is tied to the regulatory regime of several separate organs where each chemical compound has to be screened for safety, health, environmental and in case of consumables dosis-response before it is allowed to be sold in specific markets. These requirements are very expensive and time-consuming. Since the first to bring a product to market is stuck with this bill, there would be very little incentive to be first on the market since you are unlikely to be able to ever recover these costs.

    Compulsary licensing is a strong mechanism for forcing medicine prices down and if it is long enough and high enough it is still very profitable to be an inventor. But it doesn't solve any other problems of patents like cost-benefit for rare ailments, market separations by regulations and enforcement costs.

     

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  56.  
    identicon
    Just Sayin', Jan 27th, 2014 @ 1:03pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    " yet the industry and innovation thrived in both countries."

    Yes, because it was an era of low hanging fruit and cheap development. We aren't in the same place now, where many bacteria are drug resistant, where there is extensive testing and insane levels of liability attached with each new release.

    You sort of forget that not only has the date changed, but reality has changed as well.

     

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  57.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 1:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: All asprins alike

    "sometimes only 30% of the drug was absorbed, it was fairly common for the absorption to be 70-120% of the name brand"

    Ok, I call bullshit. Please explain how you can possibly absorb over 100% of an included ingredient? What do they include some magic fairy dust that makes replicate itself in a person's stomach? Or do they happen to have a special priest that blesses it so that it and makes it do Jesus's famous loaves and fishes trick?

     

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  58.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 1:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: All asprins alike

    Then again, maybe they do their calculations with Hollywood math (ie. just make the shit up even if it doesn't make any sense.)

     

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  59.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 1:35pm

    Re:

    No, they use cheap Chinese labor for that. They use cheap Indain labor to manage their consumer support lines like every other company.

     

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  60.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 27th, 2014 @ 1:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: All asprins alike

    It's a percentage change in absorption rates, not the amount of the medication actually absorbed. the 120% figure means that in that case, the drug is absorbed 1.2 times as fast as the brand name version.

     

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  61.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 2:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: All asprins alike

    Ok, that's not what he said though. I now notice that I did misread what he actually wrote which answers my original question even though it still doesn't say anything about the rate (ie. speed) of absorption though. If with the brand name you only absorb 50% of the active ingredient when you take it and with a generic you only absorb 70% compared to the brand name then I could see where you could have a different generic that where 120% of the amount that was absorbed by the brand name would be absorbed. But then again that is describing a generic that is MORE effective than the brand name not less. It also goes to show how those doing studies of pharmaceutical effectiveness (most likely for the pharmaceutical companies themselves) will go to great lengths to present figures in the most confusing way possible in an attempt to baffle the public with bullshit.

     

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  62.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 2:49pm

    Re: Re:

    No, developers will innovate drugs without the need to keep others from copying. They've done it in the past and they will do it again. Necessity drives innovation, if people are willing to pay for something people will be willing to produce. History and evidence supports this and there is little to no evidence to suggest that patents spur innovation. The burden is on you to prove your case with evidence, not to simply assert it, since patents are a privilege that no one is entitled to and my ability to copy or independently invent the same thing is a natural right. History is full of independent inventors without patents.

     

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  63.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 27th, 2014 @ 2:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: All asprins alike

    It's a mistake to equate absorption rates with effectiveness. The two can be related -- for example, if the absorption rate is low enough (something you often see in multivitamin pills), then you'll pass the pill prior to complete absorption and get a lower does than you wanted.

    What it does affect is dosage (strength and frequency). The law requires generic versions of medications to be functionally equivalent, including having similar absorption rates, but they can vary -- not only between different manufacturers, but also between different production runs from the same manufacturer.

    In practice, none of this matters the vast majority of the time. Most drugs do not require an incredibly precise dosing schedule, so any variations are meaningless. The ones that do require something exact require doctor's supervision and regular testing for drug levels anyway, so the dose can be adjusted as needed.

    That brings up yet another aspect of this dosing thing: even if every pill is precisely identical, rates of absorption and abosorbed does will vary anyway -- it's affected by your stress level, diet, exercise, and all kinds of other things that have nothing to do with the pill itself.

    So, in my view, this entire topic is a red herring when talking about generics vs name-brand.

     

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  64.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 2:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Patents are worthless. Even today companies use trade secret laws to protect their secret. Why patent it if it's non-obvious when you can get it protected by trade secret law? Patents are just used to prevent others from making obvious ideas that others will independently invent. Trade secret laws should be abolished.

     

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  65.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 2:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    and, frankly, I don't really care if a company wants to keep their special 'secret' a secret. Just so long as they don't prevent me and others from 'copying' or independently inventing whatever I want.

     

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  66.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 27th, 2014 @ 2:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: All asprins alike

    I remember all that as well. In fact, in my advertising classes (which I strongly recommend to everyone who is exposed to media, whether they're interested in advertising or not -- what you'll learn may blow your mind) I remember aspirin frequently used in discussions about false advertising. Bayer's advertising around aspirin has always been more than a little shady, and the amount of lying they've done is astounding.

    It continues to this very day. Remember the business about aspirin helping to prevent heart attacks? Bayer went apeshit about that and advertised it heavily -- in the process, basically lying. The effect is true, but the does required to see the effect is absolutely miniscule. As one of the researchers commented at the time, you could lick a baby aspirin once a day and get the full preventative effect.

     

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  67.  
    identicon
    Adam, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 3:03pm

    "We did not develop this medicine for Indians."

    So then it shouldn't matter to you what the Indians do with it.

     

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  68.  
    identicon
    David, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 3:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "forcing the disclosure of chemical composition" is a given anyway since you could not do clinical trials otherwise.

    Patents make more sense for the production process than the composition anyway. To give some return of investment, one could simply make clinical trials count only for the company producing the respective medication specimens. So there would be a financial threshold for competitors, and delayed time to market.

    Also independent corroborration from a third party with different financial incentives. Could have caused thalidomide to get pulled from the general market earlier.

     

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  69.  
    identicon
    David, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 3:22pm

    Re:

    Do they understand the concept of if you let all of the people your drug could have saved die off your actively killing your total market?

    Did you even get the point? They don't want a market in India. An Indian life is too cheap to save, setting a bad example.

     

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  70.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jan 27th, 2014 @ 4:41pm

    Re: Re:

    I get the point perfectly.
    And if they offered the drug at a reasonable price they would have a huge market, rather than the Indian Government feeling forced to allow production via legal loopholes.

    I can sell this to a handful of rich westerners and make X.
    I can sell this drug internationally at a lower price and end up making multiples of X, but I can't let everyone know I sell it cheaper elsewhere or they'll all want it cheap... even thought I'd still make huge amounts of cash.

     

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  71.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 4:53pm

    Unsurprisingly the usual shills tout the philosophy of "If you can't afford it, you don't deserve to live."

    And this is supposed to be considered a reasonable view of what copyright/IP law should be like. What a joke.

     

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  72.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 5:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Why does he care then?

    "skin in the game"

    Ha - douche bag terminology

     

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  73.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 5:37pm

    Re:

    "cures are a thing of the past"

    Yup - why sell a cure when you make more off treating the symptom. This is douche bag corptocrasy 101

     

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  74.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 5:43pm

    What would this captain of industry have to say about a university taking the position that "We perform research for the benefit of everyone, not just rich assholes" ?. He would probably blow a gasket.

     

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  75.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 6:32pm

    Please do not forget: dr Mengele was a Bayer contractor. His employer Fritz ter Meer became Bayer CEO after serving Nuremeberg war crimes sentence.

     

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  76.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2014 @ 9:13pm

    Re:

    “I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its ‘one percent,’ namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the ‘rich,’”

    -Tom Perkins

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  77.  
    icon
    btrussell (profile), Jan 28th, 2014 @ 2:53am

    Re: Re: Re:

    And that, my friends, is exactly why copyright needs to be reduced and why copyrighted items SHOULD HAVE dropped in price drastically these past few decades. Increased market plus decreased shipping and copy production costs.

    The original Mona Lisa is worth something. Copies of it are just that, copies, which are cheaper by the dozen.

     

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  78.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2014 @ 8:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: All asprins alike

    "So, in my view, this entire topic is a red herring when talking about generics vs name-brand."

    I agree completely with this except that it's relevant because those doing the comparison studies that claim the name brands work better are often funded by the pharmaceutical companies that will then quote those studies to claim that the generics aren't as good.

     

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  79.  
    identicon
    Westerner, Jan 28th, 2014 @ 10:57pm

    Indian generic sell for 95% lower because they are manufactured under attrocious standards. And actually they are not Indian, but manufactured by Israel company TEVO, the equivalent of Mosanto.

     

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  80.  
    icon
    Niall (profile), Jan 29th, 2014 @ 1:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Why does he care then?

    I'm pretty sure 'socialised' healthcare (as practiced in non-US Western countries) actually keeps drug prices down, as governments have the size and muscle to 'encourage' drug companies not to gouge too much.

    Certainly in the UK, the evaluation agency NICE looks closely at cost/benefit ratios, and just will not fund any drug seen as too expensive. That in turn means that companies wanting to supply the NHS have to be more realistic in their pricing. On the other hand, the US seems to be more of a free-for-all rush-to-the-trough for pharma companies.

     

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  81.  
    icon
    Niall (profile), Jan 29th, 2014 @ 1:43am

    Re: Re: Re: Why does he care then?

    It also ignores the fact that they make their money off the academic labour partly contributed to by government-paid 'free' academic work.

     

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  82.  
    icon
    Niall (profile), Jan 29th, 2014 @ 1:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Why does he care then?

    I'm sure there's a dermatological product for that out there somewhere!

     

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  83.  
    icon
    Niall (profile), Jan 29th, 2014 @ 4:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Why does he care then?

    Then they need to start competing on what they can offer - such as brand recognition. It's all very well saying India can market drugs at 95% less, but that still takes effort - and if the brand name is associated with your company you can take a leaf out of the free-software companies and make more money in after-sales support. There will always be those who would rather trust a slightly more expensive product from Bayer rather than a cheaper knock-off of doubtful providence, especially if Bayer offer further services or support with the product.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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