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  1. #161
    Moderator Kasierith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bergtau View Post
    Withholding a cure because of profit? Doubtful. The development of a cure being held back by profits? Probably.
    Possessing the cure for cancer would be unbelievable profitable for a company, despite the loss of other products, because it would remove all competition from the field and would bring irrefutable prominence to the company in terms of reputation. The only problem is that it is, in reality, a "miracle" cure. No one is going to waste money shooting for the stars and hinging on that 0.0001% chance of succeeding until some sort of common and targetable element of all cancer cells is discovered.

  2. #162
    Quote Originally Posted by Kasierith View Post
    Possessing the cure for cancer would be unbelievable profitable for a company, despite the loss of other products, because it would remove all competition from the field and would bring irrefutable prominence to the company in terms of reputation. The only problem is that it is, in reality, a "miracle" cure. No one is going to waste money shooting for the stars and hinging on that 0.0001% chance of succeeding until some sort of common and targetable element of all cancer cells is discovered.
    More than that, this would be one of the few things they really would look long term at. Lets say they cured cancer, that would be massive profits in the immediate short term, but past that quick spurt at the beginning, it would be a massive loss for the company after that point as they would no longer need steady treatments for many of their problems. It would turn a 20 year repeat customer into a one and done deal. Sure it would be very profitable, but would be a loss in money in the long term as far as they would be concerned. And then when the drug patent expired and generics could be made by others.....

    Them making the cure for something major would be like an energy company inventing a zero point energy generator that could power your house, car, and everything in it while at the same time being small enough and cheap enough to have in everything. Sure they would make massive short term profits, but once the genie was out of the bottle, most of their long term profit in that venture would be gone after the hit market saturation.

  3. #163
    Moderator Kasierith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fugus View Post
    More than that, this would be one of the few things they really would look long term at. Lets say they cured cancer, that would be massive profits in the immediate short term, but past that quick spurt at the beginning, it would be a massive loss for the company after that point as they would no longer need steady treatments for many of their problems. It would turn a 20 year repeat customer into a one and done deal. Sure it would be very profitable, but would be a loss in money in the long term as far as they would be concerned. And then when the drug patent expired and generics could be made by others.....

    Them making the cure for something major would be like an energy company inventing a zero point energy generator that could power your house, car, and everything in it while at the same time being small enough and cheap enough to have in everything. Sure they would make massive short term profits, but once the genie was out of the bottle, most of their long term profit in that venture would be gone after the hit market saturation.
    Not really. Cancer cures will always be required, and ultimately the current profits are spread to the winds. They're shared among hundreds of groups performing chemotherapy, surgeries, radiation, and supportive treatment. If there was one company that had the profits from the current system centralized, you would have a point. But the current spread of the costs means that the entire system doesn't necessarily heavily benefit a single party. Even if a single treatment only makes them 1/10th of the profit that current therapy would, the amount of people being treated would more than make up for the profit loss. Another thing is that ultimately, they'll control the price for 10 years. Ya, people don't want to pay a lot, but what would you rather do.... pay 5 times the reasonable cost for a drug, or spend a few months in chemo? The competition to the cure would make price setting fairly simple. Then there is the publicity. If a company cures cancer, they'll have sponsors and such for future projects climbing out of holes to get to them, probably a selection of the best research and developer scientists in the world, and enough funding from third parties that future projects would be a breeze. Most people who dismiss pharmaceutical companies as horribly unethical know nothing about the drug development process and how incredibly expensive and tedious it is. Public support can go a very, very long way.

    It's good that you're thinking critically. Now you just need to go deeper.

  4. #164
    It would have MASSIVE short term gains, no doubt about that and yes, the current system spreads the money around more than a central cure. But you aren't thinking about this from a long term business perspective, and the pharmaceutical industry is one of the few I have seen that still thinks long term. Even if they charged you 10 times the price of a normal treatment, that is still a net loss in their eyes compared to keeping you on their product for 20 years for treatments.

    If they were to release this, they would probably be wanting to ask over $100,000 for it to make up for all the lost repeat business.

    I know if I didn't care about my customers a single bit and I was attempting to get as much out of them as I could, I would make sure I was the first to come out with such a cure but I would also make sure that such a cure never came out unless I had absolutely no choice as it would cut into my profits. If I can make sure my competitors also refuse to come out with such a cure, we effectively have something we can milk for decades. Once that cure comes out, they have a 10 year time clock with massive PR to milk as much as possible before I have effectively lost a massive cash crop due to generics and the loss of repeat customers.

  5. #165
    Moderator Kasierith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fugus View Post
    It would have MASSIVE short term gains, no doubt about that and yes, the current system spreads the money around more than a central cure. But you aren't thinking about this from a long term business perspective, and the pharmaceutical industry is one of the few I have seen that still thinks long term. Even if they charged you 10 times the price of a normal treatment, that is still a net loss in their eyes compared to keeping you on their product for 20 years for treatments.

    If they were to release this, they would probably be wanting to ask over $100,000 for it to make up for all the lost repeat business.

    I know if I didn't care about my customers a single bit and I was attempting to get as much out of them as I could, I would make sure I was the first to come out with such a cure but I would also make sure that such a cure never came out unless I had absolutely no choice as it would cut into my profits. If I can make sure my competitors also refuse to come out with such a cure, we effectively have something we can milk for decades. Once that cure comes out, they have a 10 year time clock with massive PR to milk as much as possible before I have effectively lost a massive cash crop due to generics and the loss of repeat customers.
    You're ignoring that ultimately they lose money on things like chemotherapy over time as well. Or do those patents simply not matter since they don't support your argument?

    A cure would be a highly stable investment. To say that having it would not be profitable compared to the current system is ultimately ignorant of the entire system. Even ignoring a 10 year undisputed monopoly in the area, which you seem to brush off as non consequential when things such as Lipitor have clearly showed us otherwise, the long term benefits of being the ultimate benefactors of medicine by finding the magical bullet of cancer would be enormous. Then there's the fact where a company's R&D goes off of its current profits. A 10 year massive profit bolus would heavily stimulate other projects, essentially investing the money they earn to turn short tern gains into long term ones. The reason why research is not done in this direction is because of its impossibility, not because of the profit margin.
    Last edited by Kasierith; 2012-11-20 at 06:11 AM.

  6. #166
    I am trying not to ignore anything. My neighbor had chemotherapy and from what I could tell, I didn't see anyone losing money on that thing but her before she died (they got too aggressive on the cancer and she ended up dying within 3 months of them finding out, looked and felt completely healthy till 1 day she had problems and went to the doctor....) But not an expert on that stuff so not sure if it gets cheaper over time or something for the repeats.

    I wasn't saying it wouldn't be profitable, I am saying it would be LESS profitable over the long run. Which is one of the main things that would hold them up on it. I may be wrong and to be honest, I hope I am, but from a long term business perspective, it seems like they would see at is shooting themselves in the foot for a short term burst. Great to save that bullet for if you are doing really bad financially or with public relations and need that burst but is a long term loss any other way.

  7. #167
    Yet people continue dying of cancer either way, this shouldn't be the end of the world.

    Either they are allowed to raise the price, or no cancer medication for anyone. I'm assuming some annoying regulation is in place preventing them from selling it at a profitable price?

  8. #168
    Quote Originally Posted by Powerogue View Post
    Yet people continue dying of cancer either way, this shouldn't be the end of the world.

    Either they are allowed to raise the price, or no cancer medication for anyone. I'm assuming some annoying regulation is in place preventing them from selling it at a profitable price?
    It is still profitable. It just isn't as profitable as some other stuff they could be making so they have dumped it to make the stuff with the higher profit margin.

    I honestly say that anything made with taxpayer funding and any drug (name brand or generic) that is abandoned, the government has the right to make and sell them at little to no profit. Let them compete against it based on its merits, not because it is less profitable than some other drug.

    You can't allow them to charge what they want, they have laws that prevent them from charging over a certain amount or else stuff like this where they know it is critically needed, they would end up charging several hundred (if not thousand) dollars a pill with some obscene profit margin.

    The stuff they are dumping is over 50 years old, it has worked for decades and they have not made anything better than it in all that time, the only reason they are dumping it is they no longer have the patent and with the current laws and availability of companies to make generics, the profit margins aren't as high as alternative products they could make and sell for other stuff.

  9. #169
    People in this thread don't know anything about modern healthcare, it's kind of hilarious

  10. #170
    Quote Originally Posted by jotabe View Post
    These companies are not the evil big pharma, they are the generic drugs guys. Small laboratories, limited manufacturing capability. Can we really blame them for turning to the most profitable drugs?
    What the hell are you talking about? Teva Pharmaceutical Industries is a massive multinational company with a $41 billion market capitalisation.

    ---------- Post added 2012-11-20 at 11:35 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Spectral View Post
    I don't understand the question. I'm not trying to be rude, I literally don't understand. We allow them to exist because people are free to form associations with each other; we'd have to have a compelling reason to ban them, not the other way around.
    Quote Originally Posted by Spectral View Post
    I think a company's goal should be to maximize profits while not violating legal or moral constructs.
    I'm not sure that isn't missing the point of the question. The goal of a company is different to the point of companies. I think what Bergtau is getting at is that the purpose of economic development (and by extension corporations) is the betterment of living standards. We adopted the (mostly) free market because this capitalist system has proven to the best yet invented for improving human lives. Private corporations are allowed to operate in this system because they contribute to the sum of well-being in society, not because they have any inherent right to masquerade under the legal fiction of personhood.

    We seemed to have lost sight of that at some point. Free market worshipers seem to be calling for growth for the sake of growth and only growth.

  11. #171
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    And how does any of this come as a surprise? They are profit-seeking businesses, not charities. Maybe a joint-operated/built/paid EU medical factory could work; everyone gets their share the needed drugs; put a bit of pressure on drug corporations but not drive them out of business.

  12. #172
    Moderator Kasierith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fugus View Post
    I am trying not to ignore anything. My neighbor had chemotherapy and from what I could tell, I didn't see anyone losing money on that thing but her before she died (they got too aggressive on the cancer and she ended up dying within 3 months of them finding out, looked and felt completely healthy till 1 day she had problems and went to the doctor....) But not an expert on that stuff so not sure if it gets cheaper over time or something for the repeats.

    I wasn't saying it wouldn't be profitable, I am saying it would be LESS profitable over the long run. Which is one of the main things that would hold them up on it. I may be wrong and to be honest, I hope I am, but from a long term business perspective, it seems like they would see at is shooting themselves in the foot for a short term burst. Great to save that bullet for if you are doing really bad financially or with public relations and need that burst but is a long term loss any other way.
    So you're approaching the discussion from a biased perspective, essentially. I am sorry to hear that about your neighbor, but overall you have to think about several things in terms of the long term perspective. The reason why the profits from a cancer cure will drop after 10 years is the patent wears off, right? In order to sustain that position, you also have to recognize that the patents wear off for chemotherapy drugs as well. After the patents wears off, the profit margin decreases substantially. Another is the long term gains from publicity. Ultimately one of the most valuable and most underrated resources for R&D are researchers; if you take everyone across the board, there is definitely only a small group that are very innovative and progressive, with the greater part just going through the works to sustain their living. If you are the company that solved the cancer problem, than you have more innovators sending in their resumes, giving you the selection of the cream of the crop. You also gain support of third parties, who ultimately focus on the results of their investments panning out. Third, drug companies run research divisions off of the profits of previous drugs. A short term massive burst will result in a domino effect allowing them to get a myriad of other projects going, and even if they don't pick another massive undertaking like diabetes or HIV, they will still find such a time period of massive profits very good for expanding their research.

  13. #173
    Elemental Lord Masark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimer View Post
    Maybe a joint-operated/built/paid EU medical factory could work.
    This kind of idea (creating a crown corporation to supply generic medications) has been kicked around here for at least the last couple decades, more usually on the provincial level. It tends to get shelved every time people forget what the previous tories did and put them back in power.

  14. #174
    Bloodsail Admiral Madkitty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dezerte View Post
    Corporate greed shows it's ugly rear once again...
    "because pharmaceutical companies say it is not financially worth their while to make it any more."
    This quote turns my stomach, I can't believe they actually think & reason like this.
    Its a debatable question, for a pharmaceutical company what are some of the profits used for....development. The company could have a method of how much they return to investors, no investors means no company so no drugs. They have to match targets as to how much the investors earn of they will pull out, so if money is tight then that is less for development.

    Also it could be a case of Drug A is £x, and they developed a new Drug B that is £1.5*x, its slightly more effective with less side effects. People will buy Drug A because it does what is needed and is cheaper. Sales of Drug B are low, and not making a return for the expense of producing it, they decide to pull Drug A so people buy Drug B so they aren't loosing money and have money to develop a future drug.

  15. #175
    The Lightbringer Lenonis's Avatar
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    Oh my goodness...this thread has just a little bit of everything in it.

    I see Laize is still banging away on his "free markets make the world go 'round" drum. (But who cares if millions die in the process).

    Also, Laize-- I think what everyone was arguing with you about was your mixing up the concept of "losing money" with the concept of "making lower profits". They are two very different and distinct things.

    I also see we have the tin foil hat brigade of the "there is a cure for cancer and the drug companies are keeping it from us". I could sit here and explain to you the 394892348 ways that would be impossible, however the tin foil hat brigade has never let facts and reason shake them from their beliefs!

    But...back to the original topic -- there has always been a category of drugs that are not desirable to make...usually due to low demand or low profit. Generally the government has to create incentives them to keep them available.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orphan_drugs

  16. #176
    Wonder when the world will realize that there will never be a cure for a cancer as long as it is profitable. Every cancer charity can kiss my arse. It is just a simple reality of how humans work.
    http://raptr.com/puremallace/about

    What has been made by QQ can be unmade by QQ!!!

  17. #177
    The Lightbringer Lenonis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Puremallace View Post
    Wonder when the world will realize that there will never be a cure for a cancer as long as it is profitable. Every cancer charity can kiss my arse. It is just a simple reality of how humans work.
    You have it all backwards.

    There is a competitive landscape. Companies are always looking for the next big thing to take market share from the competitors. A cure for cancer would be a windfall -- you would dominate the market. You would be able to sell your other products in a portfolio including the cancer cure and everyone would buy from you because they want the drug. The insane amount of profit would allow you to invest in all sorts of new drugs to have a robust pipeline for the future to replace any drugs that you make obsolete.

    You are also assuming the company that markets cancer treatments will come up with the cure. If a company without a cancer portfolio comes up with a cure they have absolutely no reason to move forward.

  18. #178
    World just needs more Jonas Salk's.

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