Skip to comments.Rick Santorum Tells Sick Kid Market Should Should Set Drug Prices [Santorum is correct]
Posted on 02/02/2012 3:02:35 AM PST by grundle
GOP contender Rick Santorum had a heated exchange with a mother and her sick young son Wednesday, arguing that drug companies were entitled to charge whatever the market demanded for life-saving therapies.
The mother said the boy was on the drug Abilify, used to treat schizophrenia, and that, on paper, its costs would exceed $1 million each year.
Santorum said drugs take years to develop and cost millions of dollars to produce, and manufacturers need to turn a profit or they would stop developing new drugs.
"You have that drug, and maybe you're alive today because people have a profit motive to make that drug," Santorum said. "There are many people sick today who, 10 years from now, are going to be alive because of some drug invented in the next 10 years. If we say: 'You drug companies are greedy and bad, you can't make a return on your money,' then we will freeze innovation."
Santorum told a large Tea Party crowd here that he sympathized with the boy's case, but he also believed in the marketplace.
"He's alive today because drug companies provide care," Santorum said. "And if they didn't think they could make money providing that drug, that drug wouldn't be here. I sympathize with these compassionate cases.
I want your son to stay alive on much-needed drugs. Fact is, we need companies to have incentives to make drugs. If they don't have incentives, they won't make those drugs. We either believe in markets or we don't."
(Excerpt) Read more at gma.yahoo.com ...
schizophrenia drugs costing $4,500 per year save more than $70,000 in annual institutional treatment costs
Also, there are cheaper generic drugs that are available. Many people take generic drugs to save money. In several years, the patent for Abilify will expire, and its generic version will be available too.
Keep in mind also that most Conservatives do believe in assistance for children with debilitating diseases who simply cannot afford help on their own.
It’s the folks who CAN help themselves we don’t want freeloading, thank you very much......
Rick is right on the market, but he’s not very quick on his feet sometimes. This is going to come-off worse than he intended.
I see that DU has a thread about this. Not a single person there has shown any understanding or appreciation for how difficult and expensive it is to invent a new drug. And none of them seem to understand that these “expensive” drugs for treating schizophrenia are far cheaper than the cost of institutionalization. And none of them seem to understand that life on these drugs is far better than spending your life in a hospital.
You’d think that liberals would have a better understanding of mental illness...
But he is correct in his principles. He sticks to what he knows is the truth, and doesn't try to be a slick politician and be everything to everyone. We need more of this.
He is spot on with his analysis. And the FDA is one orrrupt organization. Ask anyone who followed the story of Dendreon.
It can take up to 1 billion to bring a drug to market..and with a limited patent life, only a few years to recoup the investment and turn a profit. 17 year patent, up to 13 years chewed up in development.
That’s right, all the drugs that people were “dying for” at the time of Clinton care in ‘96, had to eat dog food so they could buy them, etc., re now generic and $4/ month at Wal-mart and a lot of other pharmacies. Plus , Abilify even on paper, at $1m/year, is an outrageous lie.
The expense is greatly driven up by government over-regulation and lawsuits of all kinds. Most executives in the pharmaceutical industry are lawyers, not doctors. On the plus side there are a lot of drugs invented that have dubious value so the massive government obstacle course keeps them off the market. Drugs could certainly be brought to market much cheaper if the FDA relaxed their regulation though.
Yes. That's utterly ridiculous. At drugs.com a six month supply of Abilify, at a 10mg/day dose (recommended starting dose for schizophrenia) is ~ $3,422. That's not cheap, but it clearly isn't ‘a million dollars a year on paper’.
First, some of the huge costs have to do with offsetting giving or steeply discounting the drug to some (many) patients. Others to offset the scores of drugs that cost money to develop, but never made it to market.
Case in point. A new cystic fibrosis drug has been approved. It will GREATLY help 10% of CF sufferers. With tweaking, it may help some of the rest.
The drug costs $300,000 per year. There are 30,000 CF sufferers in the U.S., so that’s a pool of only 3,000 patients (compare with the pool for cholesterol, diabetes or blood pressure meds).
In 17 years or whatever, generics will be available. Somewhat sooner, similar products will also drive the cost down. In the meantime, some people who have a horrible genetic disorder, great suffering and a short life assigned to them, may be able to live a normal, full length life. This is a huge deal. Without the payoff, the drug WOULD NOT EXIST.
Some drug companies have patient assistance programs, as well.
“I see that DU has a thread about this. Not a single person there has shown any understanding or appreciation for how difficult and expensive it is to invent a new drug. And none of them seem to understand that these expensive drugs for treating schizophrenia are far cheaper than the cost of institutionalization. And none of them seem to understand that life on these drugs is far better than spending your life in a hospital”
That’s because people at DU believe that those who are institutionalized should get the pillow treatment.
Why let facts get in the way of a good smear?
That woman and her child were obviously plants trolling for soundbytes for the DNC or one of the other candidates. One in particular comes to mind.
My brother, a lib lawyer, once told me that something had to be done about “big pharma” because they were the most profitable industry in the country. I argued that was good since it would spur the development of new and better medicines which most of us want. I then asked him that since liberals seem to have industries ranked on how deserving they are to make money, which ones are their top 3, and why do they deserve to make that money, and which place should pharma occupy? He didn’t have an answer for that, it just felt bad that pharma was on top.
I dislike Santorum, but he is correct. These drugs would not EXIST if there were no possibility of them earning enough to pay for their own development and production, and paving the way for further research on other medicines. Stupid hit piece. Infantile premises.
Ideally, the safety of drugs would be rated by the government, by private companies, and by insurance companies, and then doctors and patients could discuss the risks and benefits and make up their own minds.
So she said it was $1 million a year when it’s really about $7,000.
When a conservative is setup to be made to look bad by being drawn into an argument with a “victim” about the complexities of pricing and new drug development, why not just deflect by referring the plant to charitable organizations that help indigent democrats?
Not only that, but as the drug companies pay off the investments into making their drugs, the price drops.
It is in the best interest of the drug companies to have 10 people taking a drug, at $150 000, than to have 1 person taking it at $1,000,000.
Its better to have 100 people taking a drug at $20,000 a piece than 10 at $150,000 a piece.
Its better to have 1000 people taking a drug at $3,000 a piece than to have 100 people taking it at $20,000 a piece.
And so on.
On top of that, many drugs never make it to market -- billions in R&D invested. I don't recall the number, but I seem to remember a majority never make it to market.
“So she said it was $1 million a year when its really about $7,000.”
Yep. Makes a nice soundbite though, doesn’t it?
Purchasing Abilify is expensive but if it works well it is worth it plus the manufacturer has a program if you can not afford it they will give it to you for free. I am told this is common for expensive pharmaceuticals.
Alternatively: why not take the opportunity to articulate Conservative principles?
Santorum was right: he gave an excellent example of how the market serves humanity. Plus this Democrat plant was never going to vote for him anyway.
The market would fix the out of control healthcare costs. The problem is that very few patients pay their own bills. It doesn’t make much difference if it’s insurance or the government paying the bills, the market doesn’t really exist.
These are the types of situations that we need a candidate like Newt to win; he knows how to deflect these types of bogus arguments and still win the issue on facts. Neither Santorum nor Romney are capable of doing that ...and it becomes more and more obvious each day.
Good for him. This type of exchange is exactly what Republicans need to engage in. Its also part of Chris Christie’s appeal. The Dems are good at putting someone sympathetic in front of a GOP politician and having them say “How can you be so heartless as to say the government shouldn’t pay for my treatment or pay me a fair wage?” Way too many times, the GOP candidate stammers and stutters because they don’t have the intelligence or stones to make a coherent argument that the market has a better solution to the person’s problem than the government. Its hard to tell a mother that she should pay a fortune for a drug for her sick kid because the implication is that they may not be able to afford it and the kid will die. The argument is that if we didn’t allow the market to work and charge these prices, there would be no new drugs, but that is cold comfort for the mother. I’m glad Santorum did this. It increased my respect for him.
Under this argument, taken to its logical extreme, if 24 hour nursing care was a life saving therapy for the woman's schizophrenic son, then nurses should not be entitled to accept the highest paying jobs they could find but should be limited instead to earning what this mother could afford to pay, even if that amount was insufficient to repay the costs of nursing school and would force nurses into bankruptcy. Can't everyone see these nurses have an "obligation" to this woman and those like her; the nerve of nurses putting their individual pursuit of life, liberty and happiness ahead of their obligation to this woman and anyone else like her! How greedy!
Most people don’t realize that the government infuses huge amounts of money in the way of grants for these manufacturers in the name of research.
When a new drug is found and patented, the government receives nothing from the patent. Worse yet, the government becomes the largest customer for the new drug since the welfare system will pay for most of it. In addition to that the price of any drug (new or old) is unreasonably high to government approved and out of control litigation costs, FDA regulations and a myriad of other hurdles anyone in the health field has to jump over.
How’s that for throwing our money away in the name of crony capitalism?
Of all the most important drugs that were ever developed to treat disease in the last century, I can’t think of a single one that came out of the USSR, China, Cuba, or any other socialist/communist heaven.
Socialists should quit vilifying drug companies and try to calculate how many millions of their own children died because those regimes turned their backs on the most effective model for drug development ever invented: capitalism. If anyone is venal, it’s the socialists.
‘Youd think that liberals would have a better understanding of mental illness...’
First chuckle of the day. Thanks for the post.
Libs should harken back to the day of the old Soviet Union and all their innovation in the pharmaceutical industry. They were very efficient as the only drug required for them was Vodka.
:) You'd think.
Good one, btw.
Having sold Abilify for seven years, I got a chuckle out of this. First, as has been pointed out, it costs about $400/month at the lower doses that kids would likely take. Secondly, the value of a child succeeding academically and socially during his/her primary education years cannot be underestimated. If the drug was truly helping, there may be huge present and future value. Schizophrenia is extremely rare in children, and the child was most likely being treated for behavioral issues, such as this newly created ODS(Oppositional Defiance Syndrome) diagnosis.
Another thing I have noticed in visiting clinics where these children are treated is that their biggest problem is often their parents, who are destroying the kids by persistent poor behaviors, such as shouting at the kids and acting just as selfish and immature as the kids. Also, many of the parents have mental health issues of their own, and just cannot cope with the job of parenting.
Guess who had a much bigger profit margin? It wasn't "Big Pharma."
I wish I still had the article. IIRC, it was by a "think tank" economist and not the industry, either.
Pharmaceutical companies, like other companies, have to make a profit to stay in business. Funny that no one seems to object to certain other types of companies making a profit.
All three of your points are correct, but nevertheless, and I guess it’s the way the story is written, Santorum still comes off looking as the unfeeling wonk that argues arcane points with poor sick children and their mothers.
You cain’t win.
I still don’ get why conservatives are not rallying around Santorum.
He sticks to his guns and tells it like he sees it. I reallly wish he were the front runner.
What Santorum is not telling us is that if the market actually did set drug prices, we would be paying a lot less than the artificial prices imposed on us within the US. Pharma companies have had the legal system manipulated to prevent Americans from shopping around on the world market. They will go on donating whatever it takes to Santorum and Romney to keep the scam going.
There was a time not too long ago that people sought help from their parish or church when things like this cost too much, or they didn’t have insurance. Then government stepped in and said they could do it better and actually put a lot of churches out of the charitable business. It’s a travesty, really, and in the meantime, church attendance has plummeted. So, you have whole generations growing up outside the church body and learning to depend on the government. What could possibly go wrong?