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Friday links


  1. Owl
    Owl May 18, 2018 5:43 am

    Regarding the dog opening the box without jiggling the handle, I’m with you. I don’t think it is a case of dogs being ‘more rational’ as much as it is an example of dogs not having that great a sense of cause and effect when it becomes complex. Training dogs to do multi-step operations requires repetition; the more steps, the more repetition. A dog will initially look at the last step and thinks that is all that needs to be done – they don’t grok that all the steps are necessary until they are trained to do them. Even then, they don’t necessarily understand the _why_ behind each step in the sequence. They only know they have to A, then B, then C before they get a reward.

  2. Pat
    Pat May 18, 2018 5:47 am

    In “Explaining the Unexplainable”:
    Interesting. We’s rather accept the hard-to-define even when we know the scientific answer. This is why myths and “beliefs” keep such a strong hold on our psyche. We feel before we think, and some part of our brain wants to keep it that way. Perhaps we’ve not evolved far enough yet along the road to “humanness” – we need a few more million years.

    Re name brands vs generics: It’s not just about patents and reliability. Many name brands do not cost any more to make than generics. That’s what the drug companies do not want us to know. They could all be sold at considerably less cost and still earn a profit for the drug company.

    I’ve known a few dogs that were more rational than some humans. (And some humans that were DOGS – no offense to Fido.)

  3. Jim Brook
    Jim Brook May 18, 2018 7:36 am

    The problem with drug prices will not be addressed through any mere tweaks in the FDA’s approval process. The problem is inherent to the FDA itself, in that it exists. A federal agency approving whether or not a medication can be sold is fundamentally problematic. I’ll get to generics later, but first I will discuss new meds. The average price for development of a new drug is now up to $2.6 billion. Consider that staggering figure for a minute – if a company sells a new med for $1,000 for a month’s prescription, they would need to sell 2.6 million of those prescriptions just to get back their research costs, before any profit or production costs are met. The majority of that cost is because of barriers that the FDA erects. The incentive for an FDA regulator is to block approval. That is because if 3 lives are lost as a result of a medication, then heads roll at the FDA. If 30,000 lives are lost because of lack of approval of a potentially life-saving medication, nobody hears about it, and the regulators’ jobs are safe. Therefore, they erect increasingly difficult barriers to approval, making the process ever more expensive. For generics, every new formulation needs a new approval for every company making the med, although not nearly as expensive of a process as the new med approvals. This reaches absurd levels. For example, there is a shortage of IV fluids in the U.S. following the hurricane in Puerto Rico (still). Baxter has plants making IV fluids in Puerto Rico, which have been taken down. They have had to appeal to the FDA for permission to simply sell IV fluid in the U.S. that has been made in other countries, for example, Ireland and Australia. They make the fluid themselves, just in other facilities, and they have to get permission from the FDA just to import their own IV fluid. That is a ludicrous level of control. If the FDA was abolished, then these problems would go away. People clamor for safety certification, which is exactly why they would get it, through a private organization. Where there is a demand, a supply would arise. An example is Underwriter’s Laboratories for electronics. I discuss this in much more detail in The High Price of Socialized Medicine, as you already know, Claire.

  4. Comrade X
    Comrade X May 18, 2018 8:57 am

    Concerning the taxes on gun article; the new I 1639 being pushed in Washington state has a $25.00 tax on AR’s among many other things.

  5. maDDtraPPer
    maDDtraPPer May 18, 2018 9:20 am

    $8 grand US a month pension for not doing his job in the first place? He better spend the money on personal protection he might just need it. Lots of veterans suffering and killing themselves for lack of support. System isn’t just broken its Fu#*ed!

  6. fred
    fred May 18, 2018 10:11 am

    Drug companies STEAL.Take inhalers,they were 10 bucks or so.It had a propellant that was implicated in ozone depletion.Congress made inhalers exempt.

    Then the drug company lobbyists got congress to require new propellants,for the environment doncha know.That put patents back in place and 200-300 dollars is now the cost for an inhaler.

    I see that is being ignored by our bought and paid for whores in Congress.

  7. Adam Baum
    Adam Baum May 18, 2018 1:14 pm

    Regarding the “Coward of Broward”, I’ll bet his money will still be welcome in any business establishment in the area. Mr. Pollack’s lawsuit will be thrown out, if it hasn’t already. Warren v. District of Columbia and Castle Rock v. Gonzales

  8. larryarnold
    larryarnold May 18, 2018 1:21 pm

    What Jim Brook said. It’s grossly hypocritical for the FDA to shame drug corporations when they themselves are the main roadblock to less expensive medications.

    It’s also hypocritical to complain about companies selling your data. The bargain, when online businesses were looking for profits, has always been “if you let us make money selling your data, you can enjoy our ‘free’ applications.” It’s no more dishonest than the “free” broadcast TV channels and low-cost subscription newspapers and magazines supported by advertising.
    Which doesn’t mean privacy protection is wrong. Just expect to be charged more for the applications.

    The next gun battleground? Off the top of my head:
    1934, National Firearms Act, $200 tax on NFA items;
    1938, Federal Firearms Act, requires FFL for $1 per year (Now it’s $200 for three years, $90 for renewal);
    1972, Dept. of the Treasury’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Division of the Internal Revenue Service renamed and re-purposed as Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms.
    But we knew that. The power to tax is the power to destroy.

  9. Claire
    Claire May 18, 2018 2:03 pm

    I’ve heard about that and seen it a bit at first hand. What the drug makers and Congress conspired to do to desperate people who rely on inhalers is downright criminal.

  10. fred
    fred May 18, 2018 5:07 pm

    Cant tell me this is right.Generics have been going way up too.Thats all on the back of the Pharma Drug Cartels and the co-conspirators in Washington..

    2. Daraprim – $45,000

    You might recall 2015 when Martin Shkreli sparked outrage for hiking the price of Daraprim from $13.50 per pill to about $750 per pill in a matter of days. While this caused a national conversation about drug prices and a class-action lawsuit, the price for Daraprim has still remained high – with the list price for a one month supply (60 tablets) coming out to $45,000.

    Daraprim is commonly given to AIDS and transplant patients to prevent infection and is used to treat toxoplasmosis in otherwise healthy people. Unlike other drugs on this list, patients are rarely on Dariprim for more than a couple of months.
    4. Chenodal – $42,570

    Chenodal, used to dissolve gallstones, is manufactured by Retrophin, which was founded by Martin Shkreli – the same person responsible for Daraprim’s price hike.

    Back in 2014, while Schreli was still CEO of Retrophin, prices for Chenodiol increased five-fold. What’s more, Chenodal is currently off patent, which means it is technically legal for affordable generics to be manufactured. However, Chenodal is protected under what is referred to as a “closed distribution system,” which prevents generic drug makers from purchasing a brand name drug.

    While many patients take 90 tablets per month, some can take as many as 210 tablets per month, at a whopping $473 per tablet.

  11. Jim Brook
    Jim Brook May 18, 2018 6:24 pm

    A lot of generics are very cheap. I get zpacks for $3, 30 qty of augmentin 500/125 for $10, 42 amoxicillin 500 mg for $2, 14 levofloxacin 500 mg for $2, 28 cefdinir 300 mg for $11, 90 losartan 100 mg for $8, 500 plavix 75 mg for $27; the list goes on and on. For acute care meds, I sell them at my cost in conjunction with the visit, and for chronic meds I tack on about a $20 markup.

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