Phil Mayes

Archive for the ‘Health care’ Category

The Effect of Patents on Drug Prices

Monday, October 14th, 2013

The NYT has a good article on how patents enable drug companies to keep prices high – far higher than in other countries.

For example, with the patent for the older oral contraceptive Loestrin 24Fe about to expire, the company Warner Chilcott stopped making the pill this year and introduced a chewable version — with a new patent and an expensive promotional campaign urging patients and doctors to switch. While many insurance plans covered the popular older drug with little or no co-payment, they often exclude the new pills, leaving patients covering the full monthly cost of about $100. Patients complained that the new pills tasted awful and were confused about whether they could just be swallowed.

Sick Rantorum

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Rick Santorum has spoken out against contraception, calling it “a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.” What does he have against pleasure? The injunction against contraception is nowhere in the bible; the Catholic church came up with it by inference.

Health Care Premiums

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

I see nothing in the current health care proposals that limit the premiums insurance companies can charge.  Yes, they may be subject to premium ratios, but their plaint will be that to cover the burden of insuring everyone, all premiums must rise.  Remember, too, paying these increased premiums will be mandatory.

Only a public option can save us from this scenario.

When Socialism works

Thursday, March 10th, 2005

In Slate, The Triumph of Socialized Medicine comments on a Washington Monthly report that VA hospitals provided better quality of care than fee-for-service Medicare.

Such news must be anathema to free-market ideologues, but the reasons given make sense; for instance, that long-term strategies pay off for the VA but not for private organisations whose patients may switch. There are many other examples where centralised planning delivers benefits: cell-phone usage abroad led that in the USA because single-technology systems were mandated; a single yellow pages would avoid duplication of resources and the need for businesses to advertise in multiple places; fishing stocks have been reduced by 90% or so.

Drug costs and medical research

Saturday, March 5th, 2005

The pharmaceutical industry claims that the high cost of drugs in America is necessary to support the costs of research, but a more likely cause of those costs is in the NYTimes article which says “[t]he drug industry has long spent billions of dollars annually – far more than it spends on research – trying to persuade doctors to prescribe its pills.

This is a model that is not working. Far better is for medical research to be done by universities and the results to be made available without patent restrictions for manufacturors to compete in the market.