WSJ You didn’t invent that

Obama redux, stealing intellectual property. That next big advance that might have saved your child isn’t going to happen because the government is seeking to get the fruit of billions of dollars in research investment on the cheap.

24 thoughts on “Thieves

  1. RE: “stealing intellectual property”

    Is it really stealing? After all, if taxpayers funded the development, shouldn’t taxpayers get the royalty?

    If we really believe in capitalism, perhaps the federal government should operate businesses.


    1. Pasteur determined that infectious diseases were caused by bacteria. 80 years later, Flemming discovered Penicillin.

      Are Pasteur’s heirs due Flemmings royalties?

      What about the hundred or so antibiotics developed since then?

      Taxpayer research identified amyloid buildup as a factor in Alzheimer’s, but that’s it, Private investment made that discovery useful. (Maybe)

      More importantly, who is going to make the investment of billions of dollars to exploit the next discovery in basic science if they are going to be denied profits comensurate with risk?


      1. You make sense (to me), but I think the difficulty of your position lies in showing that taxpayer investments are fundamentally different from shareholder or entreprenurial investments.

        One might argue that the purposes, expertise and natural experience of government are unlike those of private enterprise. But then some muttonhead will come along to say, “There is no difference! Investments and profits are all the same, no matter the agency that produces them.”

        I think there are many differences between public and private spending, but good luck trying to explain them to people who won’t listen.


  2. If you were not a hyper-partisan with constipated pre-conceived ideas you would have abandoned this article after the dishonest first sentence . . .

    “Remember when Barack Obama declared that businesses owed their success to the government?”

    Bullshit was sure to follow and sure enough it did. Especially from you who have totally distorted what even this doctrinaire piece had to say.

    “Government bureaucracies love to take credit, but the NIH is essentially claiming intellectual ownership of Biogen’s drug. ”

    No, they are not stealing anybody’s property. We are talking about a press release reminding the public and Biogen of the role the NIH plays in advancing medical science. Now that the government can negotiate drug prices for Medicare patients – thanks to Democrats, it may be thought of as the beginning of the coming hardball negotiation and a warning that the government is no longer a patsy. And that is a good thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And the next breakthrough drug that would have saved you or someone you love will never happen.

      Muck like Obama’s claiming a partial government ownership of businesses because they benefit from infrastructure the NIH forgets that the roads were there for everyone, but only Bezos built Amazon.

      The knowledge of the part Amyloid buildup contributed to Alzheimer’s was there for everyone but how many investors stepped forward to make use of that knowledge?

      Basic science is like the roads, they present an opportunity but private actors find the value in them.


      1. Go ahead and repeat your LIES about what Obama said that day. It does not change the fact that you are full of shit today. There are no “Thieves.” No intellectual property has been stolen. There has been no demand for royalties. These are NOT matters of opinion. They are the simple facts of the matter.

        The “Thieves” in this story are the pharmaceutical companies that bought enough Congressmen to give themselves carte blanch to rip-off Medicare. That has been going on for more than a decade now until the Dem0crats were finally able to curb some of it in the IRA. This WSJ story is part of their orchestrated squealing campaign.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. If the government forces the sale of a product at less than its market value, that is theft.

          And that remains true whether it is by regulation or the creation of a monopsony.

          But we have already established that you have no problem with theft under the color of authority. All that matters is what’s in it for you.

          But you forget that those wonder drugs that will never happen as a result might have saved you or someone you love.

          The market always wins, and it can be very harsh in doing so,


          1. “But we have already established that you have no problem with theft under the color of authority. All that matters is what’s in it for you.”

            What you call “theft” I call paying my taxes. Because, you know, I am not a doctrinaire jackass.

            “All that matters is what’s in it for you.”
            I am not sure what you think I am getting from the government when I support, say, Medicare-For-All. I already have Medicare. Or when I support cancelling student debt? I have already paid my student loans and put my children through college on my dime. Your silly accusation betrays a greedy Ayn Rand mindset – “I got mine, you get yours.” is your response to every social and economic issue we must deal with.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Actually, it’s I earned mine; you earn yours.

            But the thing is that in the long run, no one benefits from stifling innovation in phrama by stealing the profits for short term savings


          3. “Actually, it’s I earned mine; you earn yours.”

            Well, that is sooooo much more better.

            What is particularly sickening about you people is your assumption that those who are poor and may need help do not work as hard as you do. There are many reasons that people are poor. Laziness is not near the top of the list IMHO.

            Liked by 1 person

      2. “And the next breakthrough drug that would have saved you or someone you love will never happen.”

        That is a pretty lame statement. Big Pharma as been extremely profitable for a long time despite all the “horrible” treatment from our government.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. In case you haven’t noticed, the environment in which our current generation of wonder drugs were developed no longer exists.

          Medicare will “negotiate” prices for drugs for those over 65 from a monopsony position. Investment in new drugs is very risky, very few make it to market, and even among those, few are profitable. Those few that are must be VERY profitable to support the industry. That’s not going to happen in the current environment.

          So, whatever would have come next, won’t.


          1. Did you read the article? Aduhelm and lecanemab for Alzheimer’s for a start. Hundreds of others that were very expensive when they first came out. Paxlovid didn’t just pop out of a hat, it’s a combination of an aids drug and another antiviral decades in development.

            The more risky an investment is, the greater its return on investment must be to attract capital.

            Drug investment is very risky. Even those that work and get approved can still fail. Remember Levitra? Few people do.

            Levitra is very similar to Viagra, slightly better actually, but it came out a few months later and the blue pill had already won the market. So a good drug went nowhere after over a billion in investment.

            The winners have to make a lot to carry the losers, or there won’t be either.


          2. Medicare will “negotiate” . . .

            Why do you put negotiate in quotes? Do you think letting Big Pharma put any price they want on this or any other drug is the right way to go? Pharmaceutical companies operate profitably in other countries where drug prices are a fraction of what they are here.

            Liked by 1 person

          3. Because if you’re over 65 and covered by Medicare, the government “negotiates” as a monopsony, which really isn’t a negotiation.

            Al companies should be able to ask any price they want. The proper control is competition. We should try that.

            There are 135 companies worldwide making generic insulin, but the FDA only allows 4 to sell in the US. Not much competition.

            We need to let more generic equivalent drugs get to market.

            Companies can sell in other countries for the marginal cost of production because our market pays for the R&D. I don’t know how we can get other countries who fix prices to pay their share of R&D, but that is what we need to solve.


          4. So, a drug company has a marvelous new drug for Alzheimer’s. It has the patents. It is the sole provider. Almost all of the patients who will use the drug are covered by Medicare. How is “competition” going to keep the price within reason? For this drug, at least, we have a monopoly and a monopsony with conflicting interests. It NEVER made sense to not negotiate the price. Both parties have strong hands.

            As for your explanation for lower prices in other countries, I gotta throw the bull flag. The amount spent on R&D is a small percent of the amount spent on advertising in this country. And what IS spent on “R&D” is mostly about defending proprietary positions with patentable changes in formulation and production. The real reason, IMHO, is that other countries do not have political systems quite so corrupted by political money allowing them to deal with the truth – the free market model is not the best model for delivering optimum healthcare.

            Liked by 1 person

          5. “For this drug, at least, we have a monopoly and a monopsony with conflicting interests”

            But why do we have a monopoly?

            There are currently 2 similar Alzheimer’s drugs. But Medicare only accepts one of them. Even if one were slightly more effective, approving both breaks the monopoly.

            Remember the Epi-pen scandal? Epinephrine has been generic public domain for decades, the injector is a Dept of Defense design. Literally, any pharma ,manufacturer could produce them, but the FDA only licensed two suppliers, One had quality control issues with the injector, leaving the other with a monopoly(which the owner shamelessly exploited)

            Why did the FDA license only 2? To
            prevent excess competition. Seriously, that was their explanation. The FDA feared too much competition would make producing them unprofitable.

            The problem was the FDA trying to “manage” the marketplace. Let the market work and the problem gets a lot easier to manage.


          6. Those are, of course, opinion pieces and there is a great deal of cherry picking.

            For example, a drug like Xarelto took over a decade to develop and gain approval.

            In the year since it came out, a lot has been spent on advertising, but zero went to advertising for the decade before it was approved.

            I can’t speak for all drugs, but there is a lot of legitimate training provided by pharma.

            To give an example, about 10 years before I retired, a new material for Root Canal Fills came out. It was unquestionably better, and because it was more efficient, less costly to the patient. But everything about it, from the instruments used to the technique for prepping the tooth was different from what we learned in school. So, the manufacturer hosted a two day training program, free of charge. Instruments and training dummies included, It easily cost them $1000 each, but eventually they made it up on sales of the files and materials, Had I been asked to pay for the training, I might have continued using the inferior old method a bit longer, So, that “marketing” benefited the manufacturer, me, and my patients.

            The same is true of every new heart valve, knee or hip joint, surgical mesh, and countless other devices and drug regimens, They all require updated training and one way or the other, the cost is borne by the patients in the end, but they also get the benefits,

            Is that really “bribing” the doctors?


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