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Old 10-23-2013, 01:21 PM   #1
NorthAlabama
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frontline - hunting the nightmare bacteria (se32e5 oad 10/22/2013) [spoilers]

the nih outbreak story was new to me. i also found the comments on why drug companies are reluctant to develop new antibiotics revealing.

unlike cholesterol or cancer drugs which will work the same 30 years from now as they do today, antibiotics are prescribed for brief use, become less effective with each use, and doctors prescribe them sparingly to prolong their life until eventual obsolescence.

this makes antibiotics less profitable than other drugs, a much lower return on a pharmaceutical company's investment, creating less incentive for new research and development. a scary thought with several new "super bugs" that resist all current treatments also documented in the report.

is this an example of a free market failure? should government attempt to prompt research and development of new antibiotics?
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Old 10-23-2013, 06:18 PM   #2
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is this an example of a free market failure? should government attempt to prompt research and development of new antibiotics?
I don't think it's a failure of the free market, but HeathCare is just one of those things that shouldn't have been part of the "free market" in the first place. I applaud Pfizer for even trying to take on this big issue, but no way could've one company done it alone. I think this need to be a partnership between companies like Pfizer and government no way either could do it alone.
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Old 10-26-2013, 11:15 AM   #3
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Just saw this. Scary stuff!

The whole, "we answer to our shareholders" thing was disturbing in this context.
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Old 10-26-2013, 01:19 PM   #4
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Spoiler warning for a news show?

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Old 10-26-2013, 02:30 PM   #5
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Spoiler warning for a news show?
yeah - i did think before adding it. i tend to view frontline as a documentary more than a news show.
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Old 10-26-2013, 03:44 PM   #6
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the nih outbreak story was new to me. i also found the comments on why drug companies are reluctant to develop new antibiotics revealing.

unlike cholesterol or cancer drugs which will work the same 30 years from now as they do today, antibiotics are prescribed for brief use, become less effective with each use, and doctors prescribe them sparingly to prolong their life until eventual obsolescence.

this makes antibiotics less profitable than other drugs, a much lower return on a pharmaceutical company's investment, creating less incentive for new research and development. a scary thought with several new "super bugs" that resist all current treatments also documented in the report.

is this an example of a free market failure? should government attempt to prompt research and development of new antibiotics?
I too long for the days when I could chew on willow bark and not fear that anyone was being rewarded for my renewed health.
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Old 10-26-2013, 04:16 PM   #7
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Spoiler warning for a news show?
I guess it depends on if you want know if the folks profiled in the piece survived. Originally I was thinking that no one died since the interviews weren't sorrowful enough but then as they kept droning on about bad the infections were, I had a moment of doubt.
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Old 10-27-2013, 03:34 PM   #8
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I watched this too. It is scary what these drug resistant bugs can do in a short time.

I think the Government should be researching this. And also we should have Government Healthcare and not leave it with the free market.

In fact I think the world governments should be working together to find a solution to this problem.
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Old 10-27-2013, 03:57 PM   #9
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I too long for the days when I could chew on willow bark and not fear that anyone was being rewarded for my renewed health.
i have no problem with anyone being rewarded for hard work and innovation.

but to have the skills, knowledge, and power to help, and still refuse because it might not be profitable? when the customers you would be helping already provide you with billions in profits? that seems to be short sighted to me.
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Old 10-27-2013, 04:21 PM   #10
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i have no problem with anyone being rewarded for hard work and innovation.

but to have the skills, knowledge, and power to help, and still refuse because it might not be profitable? when the customers you would be helping already provide you with billions in profits? that seems to be short sighted to me.
Didn't the program mention a potential price tag of $1B to successfully introduce a new antibiotic? With costs that high, why should companies risk that much money on a product that might not produce a steady income stream? If I was a shareholder, I wouldn't want them to invest in such low return projects either.
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Old 10-27-2013, 05:34 PM   #11
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Didn't the program mention a potential price tag of $1B to successfully introduce a new antibiotic? With costs that high, why should companies risk that much money on a product that might not produce a steady income stream?
i would never suggest it be done because it's needed, or the right thing to do, so how 'bout this: if 25% of your profit base dies from untreatable infections, your profit falls 25%, too.

i'm not suggesting any one company be the hero here. it would be in the best interest of all pharmaceutical companies to come together and share the burden for advancement. if not, they might all share in the result.
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Old 10-27-2013, 11:49 PM   #12
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i would never suggest it be done because it's needed, or the right thing to do, so how 'bout this: if 25% of your profit base dies from untreatable infections, your profit falls 25%, too.

i'm not suggesting any one company be the hero here. it would be in the best interest of all pharmaceutical companies to come together and share the burden for advancement. if not, they might all share in the result.
Perhaps they can do a X Prize for the next big breakthrough. Have each country pony up some dough so the kitty is suitable large.

Also, the latest SGU podcast mentioned PPMOs as looking very promising for a new approach to battling bacterial infections.

http://oregonstate.edu/ua/ncs/archiv...rial-infection
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Old 10-28-2013, 01:36 AM   #13
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If there's a market for drugs to fight superbugs, then they will be aggressively developed.

I appreciate Frontline for bringing this issue to light. I am not, however, worried about the future.
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Old 10-28-2013, 09:43 PM   #14
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is this an example of a free market failure? should government attempt to prompt research and development of new antibiotics?
(This is news? I thought people have known about this for many years -- btw, I haven't yet watched or at least listened to the audio podcast of this episode...)

How is it exactly a free market failure? Plus, there has been government funding of 'basic research' for a very long time.

It is a *doctor* failure, for failing to tell their patients that antiobiotics don't work for some diseases AND CAN MAKE THINGS WORSE (because of this resistance issue).
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Old 10-29-2013, 12:12 AM   #15
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How is it exactly a free market failure?
i was asking if it was an example of a failure, because:

1) there are currently several deadly infections that are not treatable with existing antibiotics, and

2) pharmaceutical companies will not develop new antibiotics to treat these deadly infections because they do not anticipate as large a profit margin compared to boner, hairgrowing, asthma, and cholesteral meds that will be used regularly for life.
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Old 10-29-2013, 12:33 AM   #16
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(This is news? I thought people have known about this for many years -- btw, I haven't yet watched or at least listened to the audio podcast of this episode...)
MRSA has been in the news a lot for the past few years but I hadn't heard of KPC or the other resistant bacterias mentioned in the report.
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Old 10-29-2013, 07:11 AM   #17
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i was asking if it was an example of a failure, because:

1) there are currently several deadly infections that are not treatable with existing antibiotics, and

2) pharmaceutical companies will not develop new antibiotics to treat these deadly infections because they do not anticipate as large a profit margin compared to boner, hairgrowing, asthma, and cholesteral meds that will be used regularly for life.
The problem is it takes so long to get a drug through the FDA process. Getting an antibiotic for a bacteria that is affecting us NOW is a losing proposition. Everyone will always need boner pills, asthma, and cholesterol meds, but the current infection bug might not even be around or widespread by the time an antibiotic is developed specifically for it.

Sort of hard to start the process now for a new drug that will stop a future (new) bacteria that we currently don't know about.
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Old 10-29-2013, 02:42 PM   #18
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Sort of hard to start the process now for a new drug that will stop a future (new) bacteria that we currently don't know about.
what about the untreatable bugs (covered in the show) that are killing dozens of people now? if one makes the leap to pandemic, how would we treat patients, and how many would die? it's too late to start development after an outbreak - think spanish flu, not cancer.

not even trying to research because it might not be cost effective? i would feel better with anyone doing meaningful research, public or private.
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Old 11-04-2013, 01:13 PM   #19
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what about the untreatable bugs (covered in the show) that are killing dozens of people now? if one makes the leap to pandemic, how would we treat patients, and how many would die? it's too late to start development after an outbreak - think spanish flu, not cancer.

not even trying to research because it might not be cost effective? i would feel better with anyone doing meaningful research, public or private.
The reason they cannot prebuild drugs is that we do not know what we are fighting until they occur....Kind of like the NSA grabbing billions of emails/texts etc just in case they can have the one socked away that they need 2 days quicker.
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Old 11-04-2013, 01:24 PM   #20
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The reason they cannot prebuild drugs is that we do not know what we are fighting until they occur....
the bugs are here now, and new antibiotics in the past have been developed ahead of older ones becoming resistant.
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Old 11-04-2013, 03:10 PM   #21
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Roche in $550 million deal for superbug-fighting antibiotic
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