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Thread: The American Politics thread

  1. #346
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spark View Post
    I'm thinking bigger picture. Chloroquine replacement. New generation of antibiotics. Stuff that is so desperately needed but so unattractive on an economic basis.

    Take your point, though.
    And I take yours as well . The reason why there are not many technologies in anti-infection is multifold and include the economics of the market place. There is good work being done though - I remember AZ opening a new TB research centre in Bangalore a few years back which must have been quite an investment.

    Distribution of medicines to the Developing World is a passion of mine, but people need to understand all the reasons for it not working as it should. In the area of infection I actually think that efficient distribution of currently available drugs is more important than developing new ones.

    Your point about Universities is also interesting. They can innovate in a way that Pharma struggle to. In the UK at least, there is not strong enough partnering between Industry and Academia to develop innovation, hence the development of the AHSCs. Lots more to be done there.

  2. #347
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uppercut View Post
    wtf, that's not what a market imperfection is. If market imperfections could be solved by the markets then they wouldn't be market imperfections. A market imperfection would be a mutually beneficial trade between two parties causing severe negative consequences for a third party, or imperfect information rendering a crucial market non-existent. I don't know how to respond without feeling like I'm giving a lesson in economics for dummies.
    There is not just one kind of market. There can be centrally planned markets and free markets. Do you mean market failure?

    If that is so, then Friedman explains that between the government and free-market dealing with market failures than the free-market is simply the better alternative - or that the same market failure problems also plague the government and that when the government steps in to fix these failures they can create bigger problems. He actually talks about the TRIS case I brought up earlier in the linked video.

    That Friedman piece on monopolies is both fascinating and completely unrelated to the point you're trying to make.
    Then what point were you trying to make?

    All you're likely to get is the collapse of lucrative markets because no one is willing to deal with their imperfections and an industry that continually loses global competitiveness as its structure tends constantly towards monopolies.

    Industries that move towards monopolies and lose global competitiveness are, as Friedman states, strengthened - or forced to be strong - by having free trade and making them compete.
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    Giving Spark the points here. Next.
    Indians can't bowl - Where has the rumour come from as I myself and many indian friends arwe competent fast bowlers ?

    With the English bid I said: Let us be brief. If you give back the Falkland Islands, which belong to us, you will get my vote. They then became sad and left

  4. #349
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spark View Post
    They market other people's recommendations from these bodies you sing the praises of. That's the point.
    So they are going to lobby every single individual to recommend the bodies we question? The fact that people die from these medicines won't speak in direct opposition?

    You make a mistake, IMO, by thinking that one's opinion of a product is more valuable than it's actual utility. In the end, at best, your gripe in the above will delay the truth coming out. But it will come out. As I said before, that is a far better alternative than not having a rival drug at all.

    It will influence which one I buy, will it not?
    Not in the long run, no. The drug companies are not going to be profitable by fooling people and making a quick grab. Their inherent interests is in creating profits continuously. Your counter is not in their inherent interests. It would probably be cheaper to just produce a good drug.


    And therein lies the issue. You want to give these people more power? The reason they have to lobby etc. is because they don't get their own way automatically.
    Not quite, you're almost there. The drug companies don't have any power. Government has power. Therefore they try to influence government. If you take away government's power to regulate their industry, they are naked. They have no power and must compete.

    And when it comes to fine distinctions that can only be tested by an extensive scientific analysis? This is not a black-and-white game. It is extremely difficult to differentiate between products when they're all more or less the same. It then comes down to a case of who has more exposure and hence more brand name recognition. There is no difference, essentially, between the various versions of Panadol and its competitors. All contain 500g of paracetomol. They are the same. Why does Panadol get market dominance? Brand name recognition. Not because GSK are making an inherently superior product.

    It gets even more dodgy with Herron, who were trying to differentiate themselves by saying "oh, we're Australian!" - what the **** do I care? I'm looking for something that will get rid of my headache, not nationalistic pride. Why is that relevant? But it's just another example of phama-companies using things which are not product quality to gain market share.

    Hell, their ads IIRC actually boasted of making the exact same product as Panadol.
    This really is not a problem in the greater scope and is on a different level of concern. As long as they create good, helpful drugs, people are free to buy what they want. The packaging is better, the ads are nicer, whatever. For most people, I venture to guess, the price will be determinative. You are not talking about a regulation on quality now but have ventured into how they should be allowed to market it. As long as they aren't making false claims re the efficacy what does it matter?

    To add my own experience: I am Iranian and in Iran medicine is very cheap. People there aren't concerned with labels and are more knowledgable about the actual contents of the medicine. They wouldn't ask for Panadol, they'd ask for paracetamol. I guess that would be one of the better outcomes to the free market, where people start being more knowledgable about the drugs they consume than be pacified by a sloth regulatory body and be interested in brand names.

    Tell me, what is the world like when there are only two colours, black and white? I'd love to know.
    It is what it is. I can appreciate that you understand some things about the free market but your statement makes no more sense than someone advocating the scientific model in one experiment and not in another*. Well, if they truly understood what makes the scientific model great they wouldn't be making that statement.

    *I am not imagining a situation where there are bias or something like that. More where in one you use the model and in another you witchcraft. Didn't want to make it complicated but just to understand that the free market ideology is itself a mechanism which naturally produces better results than initiatives by guesses in government.

    Then find them.
    From your questions re quality of medicine and the expense, I think I clearly have. Although, I am sure others could do it better. I am not intimate with the sector, but if you have a question I feel is novel I'll look into it.
    Last edited by Ikki; 19-11-2011 at 03:34 AM.


  5. #350
    Request Your Custom Title Now! Flem274*'s Avatar
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    Lollin at two Australians caring about American politics so much.

    /hypocrite who browses American politics forums
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  6. #351
    Global Moderator Spark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by keeper View Post
    And I take yours as well . The reason why there are not many technologies in anti-infection is multifold and include the economics of the market place. There is good work being done though - I remember AZ opening a new TB research centre in Bangalore a few years back which must have been quite an investment.
    Good to hear.

    Distribution of medicines to the Developing World is a passion of mine, but people need to understand all the reasons for it not working as it should. In the area of infection I actually think that efficient distribution of currently available drugs is more important than developing new ones.
    Agree, but we so badly need a new non-resistant anti-malaria drug it's not funny. Until then it's mosquito nets and crossed fingers, really. Quinine just isn't very good. Hearing good things about arteminsin (sp), but that's about it.

    Your point about Universities is also interesting. They can innovate in a way that Pharma struggle to. In the UK at least, there is not strong enough partnering between Industry and Academia to develop innovation, hence the development of the AHSCs. Lots more to be done there.
    Indeed, because universities aren't required to make a return on their investment. They can afford to completely fail, essentially, which is the fundamental tenet of true science, but unfortunately is very bad business practice. So long as they've done good work along the way, the elimination of a dead end is inherently scientifically useful and will ensure that you still get grant money.

    So they are going to lobby every single individual to recommend the bodies we question? The fact that people die from these medicines won't speak in direct opposition?

    You make a mistake, IMO, by thinking that one's opinion of a product is more valuable than it's actual utility. In the end, at best, your gripe in the above will delay the truth coming out. But it will come out. As I said before, that is a far better alternative than not having a rival drug at all.
    Er, no.

    You are assuming a black and white game, where either a medicine works, or it doesn't and people die. In reality it is far more complex than that. It can take years, decades, for the ill effects to become apparent. And even then it generally takes an extensive scientific study which also takes years to establish that this drug is harmful, because it the vast majority of this cases it won't be, and what may appear to be drug-caused harm may turn out to be completely circumstantial.

    It takes a seriously long time - minimum years - to establish that a drug isn't great. And in the meantime...

    This is not even considering the far more common case of two similar drugs where the difference between the two is small. Establishing the superior product is simply not possible in the normal consumer-based way - again, it takes a study, and that takes years.

    You cannot do this sort of thing on that sort of timescale.

    More importantly, you cannot do this after the fact. Because people are actually getting hurt in the meantime without actually knowing it.

    Not in the long run, no. The drug companies are not going to be profitable by fooling people and making a quick grab. Their inherent interests is in creating profits continuously. Your counter is not in their inherent interests. It would probably be cheaper to just produce a good drug.
    Er, when it takes a decade to uncover their mistake, it might be. It's a risk I reckon a lot of companies would be willing to take to the detriment of many.

    One other big mistake you're making is that your argument relies on there starting out with a level playing field. It is not. It is so heavily weighted towards the big multinatn'ls that it's not funny. They'd compete, of course - amongst themselves, after squeezing out competition as all big companies have a tendency to do. Perhaps the current situation is the result of the current framework, but that is beside the point - your framework would only exacerbate this problem.

    Not quite, you're almost there. The drug companies don't have any power. Government has power. Therefore they try to influence government. If you take away government's power to regulate their industry, they are naked. They have no power and must compete.
    Wow. I don't like the phrase "kool-aid", but...

    Companies have no power?

    ?!?!?!

    This really is not a problem in the greater scope and is on a different level of concern. As long as they create good, helpful drugs, people are free to buy what they want. The packaging is better, the ads are nicer, whatever. For most people, I venture to guess, the price will be determinative. You are not talking about a regulation on quality now but have ventured into how they should be allowed to market it. As long as they aren't making false claims re the efficacy what does it matter?
    Because there is no blanket result on drugs. If they say this drug treats chronic migraines, that's good. Even better when it works exactly to plan.

    What that doesn't tell you about the 20% increased risk of stroke that will only become testable in a decade's time.

    And given that most people impulse-buy this stuff anyway, without some regulatory body to say "no, that's not good enough", people will probably continue to buy the stuff anyway because a headache is a headache.

    To add my own experience: I am Iranian and in Iran medicine is very cheap. People there aren't concerned with labels and are more knowledgable about the actual contents of the medicine. They wouldn't ask for Panadol, they'd ask for paracetamol. I guess that would be one of the better outcomes to the free market, where people start being more knowledgable about the drugs they consume than be pacified by a sloth regulatory body and be interested in brand names.
    Haha do you know why they wouldn't just ask for that in all but the most obvious cases? Because the average consumer - hell, even the average doctor, more importantly - would have no ****ing clue what active ingredient is needed for what illness. Why? Because most people aren't chemists.

    Besides which my original point was the power of marketing to influence consumer behaviour in this matter far over the efficacy of the actual drugs themselves. Brand name recognition becomes critical.

    I don't see how you can avoid that without stripping property rights, which is a biiiiiig can or worms.
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  7. #352
    International Coach Ikki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by silentstriker View Post
    400-1 is only good in a cricket match. I mean people respect his votes when they agree with them (eg Patriot Act) and call him crazy when they don't, and no one says he isn't consistent -- but politics is the art of the possible, which means compromise, and having people so entrenched in their positions does no one any good. It makes the hardcore idealogues respect you and cheer, but it most often results in gridlocks and really defeats the purpose of even having a government with people of differing opinions.

    It's one thing to stand on principle on certain issues, but everything? At that point, you serve no purpose, or are a complete failure because you are unable to pursuade people to compromise with you.

    FTR, he has voted no on bills that he himself has inserted language to get pork for his district.
    I find this wholly ironic. You push for universal health care: that is not in the realms of the possible. *You push for the world to bow to US interests: that is not in the realms of the possible. You push for spending beyond your means: that is not in the realms of the possible. You push for regulating markets, which in effect means you are trying to predict the ongoings of every single transaction; that is not in the realms of the possible.

    He is the only one candidate for the presidency that is dealing with living beyond your means and in reality. You guys seem to have some Steve Jobs distortion field going

    *You not being you Manan

    Quote Originally Posted by Sanz View Post
    Precisely, and he has done that knowing very well that the bill would be passed, his district will get the federal funds and at the same time no one can question his record. It is a clever political game he has played over the years.
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  8. #353
    International Coach Ikki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spark View Post
    Er, no.

    You are assuming a black and white game, where either a medicine works, or it doesn't and people die. In reality it is far more complex than that. It can take years, decades, for the ill effects to become apparent. And even then it generally takes an extensive scientific study which also takes years to establish that this drug is harmful, because it the vast majority of this cases it won't be, and what may appear to be drug-caused harm may turn out to be completely circumstantial.

    It takes a seriously long time - minimum years - to establish that a drug isn't great. And in the meantime...

    This is not even considering the far more common case of two similar drugs where the difference between the two is small. Establishing the superior product is simply not possible in the normal consumer-based way - again, it takes a study, and that takes years.

    You cannot do this sort of thing on that sort of timescale.

    More importantly, you cannot do this after the fact. Because people are actually getting hurt in the meantime without actually knowing it.
    You bring up a legitimate concern, but fail to consider just how much worse it is under a single federal bureaucracy. At least you're getting closer.

    Time is not the central issue here. If it takes a long time to make a drug; then the bodies in question will have to take a long time to test its efficacy. You talk about efficacy of a drug and the regulators abusing their position through advertising but now have jumped into the process of creation. Your point re advertising was for drugs that have been tested and are now in the market. I'll take your digression as an admission that your point re advertising is not strong.

    In a roundabout way, the point is the same: they cannot produce a poor drug and expect to profit and thrive. If they are hindering the testing process in order to thrust out drugs faster, the efficacy of their drugs will hinder their sales. Worse, if they cause harm; they will be sued. This is old ground.

    Now think what would happen if the mandate extended by a central authority over a whole industry. I've already shown you the TRIS example. This is why it is better to keep certain things localised, so that the benefits - if they're there - can be shared slowly and if there is harm it is stopped.

    A bad drug which is found to be harmful 20 years from now can occur in a free market system or regulated with the FDA - so your point on that is moot. No one can legislate harm out; merely to give sanctions to those that are negligent.

    Er, when it takes a decade to uncover their mistake, it might be. It's a risk I reckon a lot of companies would be willing to take to the detriment of many.

    One other big mistake you're making is that your argument relies on there starting out with a level playing field. It is not. It is so heavily weighted towards the big multinatn'ls that it's not funny. They'd compete, of course - amongst themselves, after squeezing out competition as all big companies have a tendency to do. Perhaps the current situation is the result of the current framework, but that is beside the point - your framework would only exacerbate this problem.
    As I said in the above; such a point is moot. It can occur under both systems - but it can affect more people when it is given a national mandate or approval.

    Moreover, you are getting into the rights of those harmed and how far negligence/liability can extend. This is for the courts to regulate and they can make it very damn expensive for the drug companies and make sure they clean up their act. Their loss of sales will be a double whammy. These are all the regulations you need to safeguard that kind of negligent risk taking.

    Re your second point: OF COURSE it is on point. The current situation has made it so there are many huge pharma companies. If it takes about a billion dollars just to get past all the necessary regulations and barriers to get a drug out of course there is going to be little competition. The Free Market can not give you a level playing field now because no one is starting from 0. But it takes the shackles off the little guy to create a miracle drug or do something profound. Whereas in the current system that may as well be impossible.


    Wow. I don't like the phrase "kool-aid", but...

    Companies have no power?

    ?!?!?!
    Companies have no power...that is why they lobby in the first place. 1+1=2. The only powers they have can be market influences - things such as economies of scale / the ability to create certain drugs which require high amounts of capital.

    They lobby government to aid their initiatives - and often in the framed words of "it's for the people".


    Because there is no blanket result on drugs. If they say this drug treats chronic migraines, that's good. Even better when it works exactly to plan.

    What that doesn't tell you about the 20% increased risk of stroke that will only become testable in a decade's time.

    And given that most people impulse-buy this stuff anyway, without some regulatory body to say "no, that's not good enough", people will probably continue to buy the stuff anyway because a headache is a headache.
    Such problems are solved by freedom of information initiatives and do not require the FDA. Ironically, FDA has in the past censored certain information about drugs. Paul proposed a bill called the Health Freedom Protection Act: read his speech about it here in the HoR. A part of it:

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Ron Paul
    FDA bureaucrats have even refused to abide by the DSHEA section allowing the public to have access to scientific articles and publications regarding the role of nutrients in protecting against diseases by claiming that every article concerning this topic is evidence of intent to sell a drug.

    Because of the FDA's censorship of truthful health claims, millions of Americans may suffer with diseases and other health care problems they may have avoided by using dietary supplements. For example, the FDA prohibited consumers from learning how folic acid reduces the risk of neural tube defects for four years after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended every woman of childbearing age take folic acid supplements to reduce neural tube defects. This FDA action contributed to an estimated 10,000 cases of preventable neural tube defects!
    Besides which my original point was the power of marketing to influence consumer behaviour in this matter far over the efficacy of the actual drugs themselves. Brand name recognition becomes critical.

    I don't see how you can avoid that without stripping property rights, which is a biiiiiig can or worms.
    I disagree with you vehemently - people aren't going to purchase computers that don't work past a week no matter how much they are marketed. I'd predict they'd be even less tolerant on their health. Regardless, you have to give the power to the people to choose. But that way they have the tools to decide and the producers of alternatives can supply their choices.

    It is still a far better alternative to a system which doesn't give them that choice at all. Moreover, it's not like Americans arent inundated with worthless drugs at the moment.
    Last edited by Ikki; 20-11-2011 at 01:06 AM.

  9. #354
    International Coach Ikki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flem274* View Post
    Lollin at two Australians caring about American politics so much.

    /hypocrite who browses American politics forums
    I laugh at myself about it to be honest. I have taken an interest since I was pretty young. Ask me about the Australian political landscape and I'd not know 1/20th of my info on America.

  10. #355
    Request Your Custom Title Now! Flem274*'s Avatar
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    American politics is fascinating though; only they could produce the current Republican nominees.

  11. #356
    Global Moderator Spark's Avatar
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    FOI won't solve that problem at all because the only way to test it is with an extensive study that takes years to complete. There's no point looking for hidden information because it simply isn't known.

    I think we're at cross-purposes. You're arguing that the FDA is worse. I'm arguing that an entirely unregulated market is worse. I reckon we just leave it there, honestly, and let this thread get back on course.

    ---

    FTR I took an interest in American politics well before I took an interest in Aus politics (that only came recently). Don't know it as well as I should, though.

    ---

    Huntsman still looks the only remotely pragmatic candidate I can see. Would definitely consider voting him over Obama (big hypothetical though because 1. not American and 2. he's not going to get anywhere near the nom, unfortunately)

  12. #357
    International Vice-Captain Redbacks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shankar View Post
    It is possible for say, an experiment, to result in a hypothesis being dropped from a theory. But there is no logical compulsion for that to happen. One of the reasons why this is so is that there is no such thing as a pure 'fact' independent of theory. Accepting a 'fact' (say a experimental result) implies accepting several background hypothesis/theories. By questioning any one of these background hypotheses the 'fact' can be questioned. For example several theories are involved in accepting a particular interpretation of an 'experimental fact'. Any of these theories can be questioned to deny the 'fact'. This is what happened in the history of science as well. Another way in which a theory can be saved is by proposing ad-hoc hypothesis as I mentioned above.

    If the numbe of ad-hoc modifications needed to save a theory grows too much without any 'benefits' people begin to stop backing such a theory slowly moving onto a better one. But there is no logical compulsion which would force one give up a theory. The distinction is not between 'false theories' and 'proven theories'. It is between progressive research programs and degenerating research programs (This is the alternate model provided by Lakatos. There could be other models).
    Nah, that's just common sense that everyone knows. Lakatos was a socioligist and good for him, but they often talk a heap of half truths and dress them up as something more.

  13. #358
    Spanish_Vicente sledger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ikki View Post
    the Australian political landscape
    This is basically the extent of it:


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    obama said a similar thing



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