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The World's Biggest Industries (2nd Topic = Medical)

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The World's Biggest Industries (2nd Topic = Medical)

Unread postby Bill the Butcher » Wed Jun 25, 2008 11:07 am

First, I would like to say I am man who believes in possibility.

That said, I'd like to talk about what I think are the biggest industries in the world:

-the Oil Industry
-the Medical Industry
-War

I believe in the possibility of each of these being orchestrated in some way, shape, or form to control citizens of the world and, simply, to make money. Each holding us hostage to some degree and they've got us by the balls.

I'd like to have this discussion go by each industry at a time. First topic at hand... the Oil Industry.

The Oil Industry
You'd think in this day in age, a majority of our vehicles on this planet would be running on another type of fuel. And you hear it on the news all the time... scientists figuring out a car that can run on hydrogen or something like that. I think we can all agree that an ideal situation would be our vehicles running on garbage... That'd be sweet. Anyway, like I said, the news tell us that people are trying to figure this out, just to show the public that there is "improvements in society" and that "we're moving forward."

But what if someone had successfully figured it out? Suppose, for the sake of argument, that somebody figured out a way for vehicles to run on water. It's abundant, efficient, and it'd probably be cheaper than oil... the Earth isn't polluted anymore and the amount of smog is plateaued... everybody wins. Wouldn't that new vehicle be sweeping the nation? The world? Wouldn't governments embrace this new technological advancement with open arms?

I don't think so. Why? The Oil Industry has established itself to be one of the biggest money makers in the world. If a car that can run on water was successfully invented, millions would be converting to that vehicle... leaving the oil industry out to dry. The people who really own the oil industry now cannot make the money.

I believe in the possibility of a vehicle able to run on another fuel being invented already, but being hushed for the simple reason of keeping the oil industry alive.

Thoughts, concerns, insults? I'm ready for them.
Last edited by Bill the Butcher on Wed Jul 02, 2008 12:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postby FUDU » Wed Jun 25, 2008 11:19 am

But what if someone had successfully figured it out? Suppose, for the sake of argument, that somebody figured out a way for vehicles to run on water. It's abundant, efficient, and it'd probably be cheaper than oil... the Earth isn't polluted anymore and the amount of smog is plateaued... everybody wins. Wouldn't that new vehicle be sweeping the nation? The world? Wouldn't governments embrace this new technological advancement with open arms?


Cars can/do run on water, although the energy needed to do so makes it very impractical (might as well skip the step and just make em electric). A quick Google and you'll see the most recent way of doing this.

As to your point, I think there is validity in saying there are forces in this world keeping things from happening or at least controlling how and when things happen to a point.

Just a heads up, but bringing up this type of discussion invites a lot of tangents and hi jacks, plenty of which could be way way out there and really bury your point/intention.
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Unread postby skatingtripods » Wed Jun 25, 2008 11:41 am

From a History Channel documentary I watched on oil and alternate fuel sources technology, the problem with hydrogen engines, outside of not being fully ready yet, is that a common 4-door Ford Focus or something of the like would be over $100k for the consumer. It's just too expensive a technology right now, not the mention the safety issues of blowing up.

On FUDU's point about cars that run on water, there are people that piss and moan that we will run out of water eventually. Sure, it's a smaller group than those concerned with running out of oil. But, without Google searching it, my problem would be how they get the spark out of water. I understand that you can do atom-splicing and separate the hydrogen from the oxygen, but that puts us back at hydrogen cars that will be too expensive for the consumer.

This also raises the ethanol question. I'll go off on an anti-Democrat tangent because that's what I do, but it will piggyback my point. Our do-nothing Democratic Congress decided to sign a bill where 25% of corn grown must go to the research and development of ethanol technologies. You'll note the higher prices at the grocery store soon enough. That number doubles to 50% next year. The problem here, is that it is an inefficient process. As Ben Stein said on Glenn Beck the other day, more corn is used than energy is created. Therefore, it is a losing proposition and a waste of food resources. People can't eat already. Raising the price of food won't help, especially wasting it on a process that is never going to solve our current energy crisis.

Another thing that I found interesting from Stein's interview was that he said that 2% of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are creating by man-made processes. Seems pretty small to me. Also, Beck noted that for every 1% the dollar drops worldwide, oil goes up $4 a barrel. That's becoming the real problem. The weaker the dollar gets, the less its worth in the worldwide economy of oil, and especially the less its worth to OPEC nations who gouge the United States to begin with.
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Unread postby Bill the Butcher » Wed Jun 25, 2008 12:40 pm

FUDU wrote:Just a heads up, but bringing up this type of discussion invites a lot of tangents and hi jacks, plenty of which could be way way out there and really bury your point/intention.


Which I don't have a problem with. I welcome tangents and hijacks, other people's opinions and insights. It gets the ball rolling. The more the merrier.
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Unread postby jfiling » Wed Jun 25, 2008 2:52 pm

I like the general theme of this post. President Eisenhower warned us about this in his farewell address.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUXtyIQjubU&feature=related[/youtube]

Ike knew it 47 years ago. Too bad his message has been forgotten.
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Unread postby Bill the Butcher » Fri Jun 27, 2008 11:59 am

Thanks for that video clip, jfiling.

Nobody else has anything to say about this topic? Nobody seems to notice? Nobody seems to care?
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Unread postby Bill the Butcher » Wed Jul 02, 2008 12:20 pm

Okay, on to the next topic... The Medical Industry.

What I have to say is basically the same concept as the oil industry...

What if cures for certain diseases and/or illnesses have been discovered in the past, but yet again, the government doesn't want to release these cures just for the sake of keeping the medical industry up and running. Think about it: certain diseases and/or illnesses that bring in billions of dollars every year for treatment and medication... no longer bringing in billions because it has been cured.

Also another thing... vaccines. You think vaccines truly work? Or do you think there is a possibility that it's just a placebo, just another way to bring in money. OR... a vaccine not really a vaccine but something that just breaks down the immune system so as to increase the chances of humans getting a disease and/or illness? People pay for vaccines, but then end up paying again for treatment for that illness.

There is a YouTube video on the web about vaccines. I'm not entirely sure what to type in the search bar. Probably "do vaccines really work?" or something.

Comments, concerns, insults?
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Unread postby skatingtripods » Wed Jul 02, 2008 12:33 pm

What the hell kind of conspiracy theorist are you?

Germs and diseases are constantly mutating to find other ways to affect the human race. If there was a cure for cancer, and someone knew it, it would absolutely be released to the public. That's not a question of making money. It is beyond absurd that you actually think that. Just because they are politicians doesn't mean that they have no human values.

Not to mention, if you want to talk about a business perspective, if a certain medical company found a cure for cancer, stock in that company would rise through the roof and people couldn't buy fast enough. That company would own an absolute monopoly over the cancer treatment sector of the medical industry. No one else could compare.

Even if there was a cure, 10 million people are diagnosed with cancer every year. Cures don't stop people from getting cancer, they force cancer into remission.

What about AIDS worldwide? If there was a cure for that, how could you get it to anybody?

Yes, vaccines truly work. Vaccines build up antibodies to fight diseases by injecting the person with a dead and dormant form of the disease.

The medical industry isn't some big money-making conspiracy. It is a valuable resource and an absolutely necessary resource for the care, treatment, and betterment of the human race.
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Unread postby Bill the Butcher » Wed Jul 02, 2008 12:59 pm

Good stuff, Tripods.

Hah, first I'd like to say that I am not a conspiracy theorist. I actually heard these views from someplace else, just relaying it on here to get feedback on what others think. But you didn't know that, so I take no offense to your first sentence.
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Unread postby skatingtripods » Wed Jul 02, 2008 4:50 pm

Bill the Butcher wrote:Good stuff, Tripods.

Hah, first I'd like to say that I am not a conspiracy theorist. I actually heard these views from someplace else, just relaying it on here to get feedback on what others think. But you didn't know that, so I take no offense to your first sentence.


Fair enough. Please tell me it was the Communist News Network so I can continue hating them even more.
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Unread postby FUDU » Wed Jul 02, 2008 7:29 pm

The medical industry isn't some big money-making conspiracy. It is a valuable resource and an absolutely necessary resource for the care, treatment, and betterment of the human race.


Then why do we pay for RX drugs?
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Unread postby Mr. MacPhisto » Wed Jul 02, 2008 10:21 pm

jfiling wrote:I like the general theme of this post. President Eisenhower warned us about this in his farewell address.

Ike knew it 47 years ago. Too bad his message has been forgotten.


Ike did warn about the military industrial complex.

What you never hear people mention is his warning also against academic elites and the cost of the educational-industrial complex.

The universities suck dry as well and use the same tactics as the military-industrial complex to get their money.
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Unread postby Bill the Butcher » Thu Jul 03, 2008 12:34 am

Mr. MacPhisto wrote:Ike did warn about the military industrial complex.

What you never hear people mention is his warning also against academic elites and the cost of the educational-industrial complex.

The universities suck dry as well and use the same tactics as the military-industrial complex to get their money.


How so? What specific tactics?
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Unread postby Mr. MacPhisto » Thu Jul 03, 2008 1:20 am

Bill the Butcher wrote:How so? What specific tactics?


It's part of the military-industrial complex in a way and also forms another group Eisenhower identifies. It's usually not mentioned because it is often the academic elites that cite Eisenhower's speech and they don't like his criticisms of the system that puts food on their tables.

http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/ike.htm

Selected text from President Eisenhower:

Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

In this revolution, research has become central, it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.


We've also seen his warning happen. The global warming paranoia is an example of this. The Earth may be experiencing warming and mankind may have a small part in it, I don't know. However, scientists that don't tow the line with the bureaucrats that believe in it will not get funding, will not get published, and do get blackballed. I've seen it happen in academia quite often to anyone who dissents against the dogma of the day. Federal funding has robbed the universities of free thought and has instead propped up a scientific elite that man the bureaucracy and ensure that no one strays from their dogma just like the Catholic Church and other authoritarian institutions of old. And just like in those days, we are trained to believe whatever they tell us as truth instead of investigating for ourselves. Those that do investigate and cite differences are either labeled as corporate sell outs, religious zealots, or a number of other things - anything to avoid having a debate on the subject. If you've got the evidence to prove your point then why avoid a debate or claim that all debate has ended? When people do those things it indicates that their cupboard may be bare.

The thing about Ike's warnings on the military-industrial complex really centered on government getting out of control. Same thing for the scientific elites - it all centered on big government that he felt emulated the Soviets and their ideas. I think he would be very disappointed in what the Federal government does today. Self perpetuating bureaucracy that doesn't really solve problems. Politicians on both sides of the spectrum that seek to buy off constituencies with expensive government programs that don't work. All the while the things that made America great fall by the wayside: personal responsibility and determination. Americans have an independent spirit because we started out away from the old world. We had to make our own things, stand on our own two feet. Now we seek to make life easier and lose the lessons of hard work. Instead many seek government handouts because they feel it is a right for them to have them. This isn't everyone, but I've seen so many people abuse the government programs. It's amazing how many people I've seen on welfare that drive fairly new Mercedes.

Ike's concern was government growth and unnecessary secrecy in government. There will always be things that need to be classified, but outside of the necessities it is best to be as transparent as possible. We do need to have a military as well. While Ike aimed for disarmament on some level, I think that is a bit unrealistic in the real world. It is wise to avoid escalation if at all possible and always prudent to keep a strong, advanced military ready because it serves as a deterrent if nothing else, though you have to be willing to back up any harsh words with force. This is a major problem with the UN - they don't back up anything and when they try they fail utterly (that and the organization is corrupt as hell - one benefit of the Iraq invasion is we know how much France, Germany, and the UN stole from the Iraqi people in the Oil-for-Food scandal. It would have continued if not for that).
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Unread postby Bill the Butcher » Thu Jul 03, 2008 1:36 am

Holy cow, MacPhisto.

I'm speechless for right now.
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Unread postby skatingtripods » Thu Jul 03, 2008 12:14 pm

FUDU wrote:Then why do we pay for RX drugs?


Because, like any other service, you have to pay into it to get a return. The money goes for the ingredients that make up the drug as well as further research and development of the drug.

Not to mention, someone has to get paid right? Otherwise, what's the point in working for that company?
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Unread postby FUDU » Thu Jul 03, 2008 3:31 pm

Skating Tripods wrote:
FUDU wrote:Then why do we pay for RX drugs?


Because, like any other service, you have to pay into it to get a return. The money goes for the ingredients that make up the drug as well as further research and development of the drug.

Not to mention, someone has to get paid right? Otherwise, what's the point in working for that company?


B/C :

It is a valuable resource and an absolutely necessary resource for the care, treatment, and betterment of the human race.


I thought?
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Unread postby skatingtripods » Thu Jul 03, 2008 4:09 pm

FUDU wrote:
Skating Tripods wrote:
FUDU wrote:Then why do we pay for RX drugs?


Because, like any other service, you have to pay into it to get a return. The money goes for the ingredients that make up the drug as well as further research and development of the drug.

Not to mention, someone has to get paid right? Otherwise, what's the point in working for that company?


B/C :

It is a valuable resource and an absolutely necessary resource for the care, treatment, and betterment of the human race.


I thought?


What exactly is your point here?

Why do we pay a water bill? A gas bill?
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Unread postby FUDU » Thu Jul 03, 2008 4:40 pm

My point is you implied (or actually said) that the medical industry isn't in it for the money, I am implying (saying if you like) that they indeed are.

If indeed this is all for the benefit of human kind then by God it shouldn't cost us what it does. To be consistent with that train of thought it should either be free or the medical industry should not profit from their efforts, however the have HUGE profits.

This is completely anecdotal so forgive me and I don't expect you to really buy into my story. But I was at a seminar about 8 years ago and there were very very wealthy people speaking (talking about wealth like 10's of millions of dollars). Mostly about business but some tangents as well. Anyway it was fairly common knowledge at this meeting that many of these speakers were on some pretty prestigious boards, one guy was on one at IIRC Duke (their medical board?). He flat out said that there is proof a very workable cure for heart disease as we know it today. Now I don't put 100% of confidence in this myself, I'm a bit of a cynic, but my point is a man like this has no reason to bullshit us. He wasn't selling anything and the majority of the people present had no money problems.

The point in regards to our discussion is that it isn't in the best financial interest of medical companies to put an end to some of these things. After all like you said they need to make money right, so why would they put an end to that?

Don't take this as some conspiracy crap I'm just making a point.

FWIW want a good read on something along the lines of this discussion, read The Great Cholesterol Con. Cholesterol has little to due with heart disease, maybe nothing at all.
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Unread postby skatingtripods » Thu Jul 03, 2008 4:58 pm

No, no. FUDU, I completely respect your points of view and would never call you some conspiracy theorist or any of that.

I realize it's big industry. I guess I was more or less saying that it's a big business that is very critical to the human race. Sure, they can prey on it and make money, but that's what business does.

I was really saying that it is imperative and necessary. Regardless of the costs, people need medical treatment.

It costs a lot, but I've never really seen a breakdown in terms of what the R&D costs are and the cost of the drugs themselves. I know they're making a lot of money off of us, but because I don't want to be on a waiting list for drugs or doctor visits for multiple months, even years, I'll just deal with what we've got.

If indeed this is all for the benefit of human kind then by God it shouldn't cost us what it does. To be consistent with that train of thought it should either be free or the medical industry should not profit from their efforts, however the have HUGE profits.


Just because they're for treating people, they have no right to be a profitable industry? I don't understand that train of thought at all.
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Unread postby Mr. MacPhisto » Thu Jul 03, 2008 5:35 pm

The medical industry is, to a certain extent, in it for the money and in it to help people. You can do both. Some hospitals are not in it for the money because they are non-profit, though they do want to make money. Our big non-profit network down (BayCare) here makes lots of money and reinvests it every year. They also employ over 17,000 people in the Tampa Bay area, so they are very important.

Pharmaceutical companies want to make money too and there's nothing wrong with that. If not for them wanting to make money we would not have advanced as far as we have. Same thing for many hospitals, universities, etc. New surgical techniques are pioneered to help people and to make money for the doctors, institutions, etc that pioneer them. A friend of mine underwent revolutionary brain surgery over at Stanford Medical Center that gives the school tons of $$$. The surgeon that pioneered it is a millionaire because of it. Without the profit incentive the chances of anything like this coming to us as quickly as it has goes way, way down.

Despite the bad labels, Big Pharma, medical companies, etc all still operate on basic business principles. They general make around a 10% profit, sometimes a bit less and sometimes a bit more. Like with the oil companies, people's eyes sometimes open when they see huge profits, but they rarely ever see the gross. Going back to oil, one of the companies reported $4 Billion in profits for the first quarter if memory serves off of revenue of $460 Billion. That's 8.7% or about the same margin as they had a decade ago. $1.8 Billion of that profit is actually not profit because it ends up going to the Federal Gov't in taxation and that corporate tax, just like a "windfall" tax, is passed onto the consumer to maintain the profit margins. About 23% of what you pay for any product before sales tax goes to government and is called embedded tax. It's what you don't see. That's why I'm a champion of greatly reducing the corporate tax - it creates jobs and lowers the cost to the consumer. That's what happened in Ireland when they dropped the corporate rate to 12.5%. I happen to be a Fair Tax guy, so I'd like to see the Corporate and Income taxes abolished anyways.

One of the reasons why we pay more for prescription drugs is due to the government controlled healthcare systems in other countries. When Canada or the UK or France or whoever want a drug for their system they threaten to cancel the pharmaceutical company's patents unless they sell them the drug for the price they want. In this way the population of the United States helps to subsidize these countries that refuse to pay their fair share. We also subsidize most of the medical innovations currently made.

If more nations returned to a free market healthcare approach we would find costs reduced. It's only one factor in the larger picture. There are insurance regs that drive costs up. Tort reform is desperately needed on a national level. Medicare is one of the biggest contributors to causing costs to go up in the US through fraud and poor management.

I'm glad there's a profit incentive for medicines because that's why we get the revolutionary ones that are out there. Remove the profit incentive and try to get people to do it just for the "good of humanity" and you'll find progress stalling. Here they DO do it for the good of humanity but also because they can make money to buy stuff.

Consumerism can drive progress. It can also do a lot of negative things too, but there are two sides to every coin.
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Unread postby Bill the Butcher » Thu Jul 03, 2008 9:57 pm

...dang.

My brain is getting rocked.
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Unread postby FUDU » Thu Jul 03, 2008 10:10 pm

Just because they're for treating people, they have no right to be a profitable industry? I don't understand that train of thought at all.


My point being if it was truly for treating people, truly for the betterment of mankind and its well being profit would never enter the equation.
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Unread postby Mr. MacPhisto » Fri Jul 04, 2008 12:46 am

FUDU wrote:My point being if it was truly for treating people, truly for the betterment of mankind and its well being profit would never enter the equation.


I'd disagree.

I think most doctors do want to make money but also want to help people. Like the drug companies, they do give away what they offer for free in some circumstance - though not on the level that the drug companies do or even hospitals.

I think the betterment of mankind thing and profit can go hand in hand.
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Unread postby Bill the Butcher » Fri Jul 04, 2008 8:05 am

I think the point FUDU is trying to make is if it weren't for the big paychecks, people in the medical field wouldn't be doing what they are doing. Most of them are motivated by the money, not by the betterment of mankind. It's selfish and not at the same time. But in my opinion, I think it's a bit more selfish than not.
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Unread postby Mr. MacPhisto » Fri Jul 04, 2008 11:18 am

Bill the Butcher wrote:I think the point FUDU is trying to make is if it weren't for the big paychecks, people in the medical field wouldn't be doing what they are doing. Most of them are motivated by the money, not by the betterment of mankind. It's selfish and not at the same time. But in my opinion, I think it's a bit more selfish than not.


So it is for most people in most jobs. It isn't always about the money. Sometimes it could be about power as well. For many CEOs it is probably about money and power, though I'm sure many of them also do or did have a nobler reason at first. For politicians it is often about power and money as well, though many do genuinely want to help while some care more about holding on to power than doing what they think is right.

As I've said, the profit incentive drives innovation. It can also drive corruption and can pervert someone's values but it is still the best thing out there. If we paid cancer researchers $10 an hour then I'd doubt most of them would be thrilled about working for the betterment of mankind. There are some people that may give 120% for that reason but I'd guess that most would tire of the "betterment of mankind" mantra after a while, especially if it occurred in a profit driven system where the people that just operate on that notion get taken advantage of.
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Unread postby FUDU » Fri Jul 04, 2008 11:33 am

My point here is the medical industry is inherently tied to humanitarianism and to be truly humanitarian about going forth with it is not inline with profit driven incentive.

Their are many individuals in the medical community driven by the good work they do and the motivation of helping people, the industry as a whole however does not take on that personal touch.

If it were really about solving health concerns for people for the sake of improving people's lives RX drugs like Nexium wouldn't cost $3 a pill for some people. Or they wouldn't make up conditions like RLS (restless leg syndrome) to sell a pill, seriously gimme a break with that stuff. If your legs are restless you need to mix in a bike ride or some exercise.
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Unread postby Mr. MacPhisto » Fri Jul 04, 2008 11:52 am

FUDU wrote:My point here is the medical industry is inherently tied to humanitarianism and to be truly humanitarian about going forth with it is not inline with profit driven incentive.

Their are many individuals in the medical community driven by the good work they do and the motivation of helping people, the industry as a whole however does not take on that personal touch.

If it were really about solving health concerns for people for the sake of improving people's lives RX drugs like Nexium wouldn't cost $3 a pill for some people. Or they wouldn't make up conditions like RLS (restless leg syndrome) to sell a pill, seriously gimme a break with that stuff. If your legs are restless you need to mix in a bike ride or some exercise.


Yes, there's a money incentive and they do make up stuff to sell drugs for. My point is that if not for the profit incentive you would not see miracle drugs out there because they never would have gotten the capital to develop them.

As to Nexium, it is not just $3 a pill for some people because of the "greed" in the industry. Now, I don't think the industry is all that greedy because they run the same margins as everyone else does. There are many other factors here in the States due to other countries manipulating prices and the bureaucratic hoops that a drug company has to jump through to get a drug to market. They could still be safely delivered with far less red tape and cost to the drug companies. Several economists have researched the costs and seem to think that the socialist medical systems of other countries actually double out Rx cost here in the US. Like I said, we subsidize them because they don't want to pay market value. Red tape accounts for another 30% or so in cost. That would take a $3 pill down to about $1.20.

Drug companies have to recoup there cost and make a profit on drugs. They spend billions in research and development and also finance a lot of dead ends. Governments around the world make it even more expensive for them. When they are forced to sell their drugs for below cost in the UK, Canada, France, etc they end up passing the losses onto their US customers so they can make money. They get clogged by red tape here and abroad just to get the drugs approved for sale.

Government not greed may be the largest factor in creating expensive drugs. I would argue that poor government regs and the poor ideals of foreign governments are much greater reasons for high costs in the medical industry. The bureaucrats need their pockets lined and they need to be in control. Canada needs to control costs so they threaten to cancel patents. The drug companies invest billions and put far more effort in than these bureaucrats do and I feel they certainly deserve to make their 10% profit because that's generally what they make.
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