r/news Jan 14 '22 Wholesome 18 Evil Cackle 3 Silver 19 Gold 1 Helpful 19

Shkreli ordered to return $64M, is barred from drug industry


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u/TittyMcNippleFondler Jan 14 '22

But how would they make money after all the expenses related to research and development that were funded by grants that were funded by our tax dollars?


u/Gingorthedestroyer Jan 14 '22

When inventor Frederick Banting discovered insulin in 1923, he refused to put his name on the patent. He felt it was unethical for a doctor to profit from a discovery that would save lives. Banting’s co-inventors, James Collip and Charles Best, sold the insulin patent to the University of Toronto for a mere $1. They wanted everyone who needed their medication to be able to afford it.


u/Lisa-LongBeach Jan 14 '22

Same for Jonas Salk… I believe his response to why not patent his cure for polio was “Would you patent the sun?” A different world and morals today sadly.


u/_greyknight_ Jan 14 '22

Would you patent the sun?

Uh, duh!

- Fortune 500 CEO


u/Lucky-Variety-7225 Jan 15 '22

Don't steal my idea for NFT water!


u/horseydeucey Jan 15 '22

Nestle, would you patent... water?!


u/Jonne Jan 14 '22

Yeah, ask a capitalist if they would patent the sun and they'd be on the first rocket to the interplanetary patent office.


u/Raptor169 Jan 14 '22

Speaking from memory so correct me if I'm wrong but I remember Salk did try to patent but was rejected because polio vaccine was considered part of nature.

Still doesn't take away from your point though.


u/Lisa-LongBeach Jan 15 '22

I’m pretty sure those were his words, but not 100% sure. Back then unrestrained greed wasn’t as acceptable or worshipped as it is today


u/Raveynfyre Jan 15 '22

A different world and morals today sadly.

I really wish some things had never changed.


u/Discreet_Deviancy Jan 14 '22

THIS! It was never intended to be a for-profit product.


u/GreenStrong Jan 14 '22

That insulin is still very cheap; modern versions last longer and enables better regulation of blood sugar. They still shouldn’t cost as much as they do. The researchers who invented them should be rich, but it should not be such a racket for the corporations that produce it.


u/IcarusOnReddit Jan 15 '22 edited Jan 15 '22

Researchers don't make the big money, the bloodsucking CEOs do.


u/A_giant_dog Jan 15 '22

The people who make the money are investors. C level folks at those companies get kinda rich, the investors get filthy rich


u/sousuke Jan 15 '22

Dr. Silverman would beg to differ.


u/SirReal14 Jan 15 '22

And that type of insulin is $20 at Walmart. Modern, significantly safer insulin that has been recently invented is what is expensive.


u/markh110 Jan 15 '22

You say that like it's a reasonable thing; you can get about a year's supply of modern insulin in Australia for ~$55USD. Americans are being exploited, and I'm so angry on your behalf.


u/Red_AtNight Jan 15 '22

It's worth pointing out that Banting's method was to extract insulin from a dog's pancreas. It worked, but it wasn't very efficient. For about 50 years, all commercial insulin came from cows and pigs from slaughterhouses... similar issues to dog pancreas, and because it came from non-human animals, it had a risk of causing allergic reactions. That was the state of things until 1978 when synthetic insulin was first invented.

Basically all of the insulin that humans use nowadays is produced synthetically, through processes that are patented, and are not the process that Banting and Best developed in 1923. They work a hell of a lot better, but that's why insulin is still expensive despite Banting and Best selling their patent.


u/ImpossibleEffort4313 Jan 15 '22

He should’ve put his name on it so he could’ve controlled the price for it.


u/Nomandate Jan 14 '22

That was for the process of extracting insulin. Modern insulin is synthesized.


u/StinzorgaKingOfBees Jan 14 '22

Anything related to healthcare and medicine shouldn't be for profit. Then you are literally putting price tags on lives.


u/TheLizardKing89 Jan 14 '22

If there’s not a profit motive, there will be less incentive to invest in new pharmaceuticals. If someone develops a drug that improves the lives of millions of people, they should be able to profit from that. I’m not saying they should be allowed to charge whatever they want, but the idea that any profit is bad is just ridiculous.


u/khinzaw Jan 14 '22

Profit motive goes the other way too, companies have chosen not to develop drugs to treat rare diseases because they won't be profitable.


u/TheLizardKing89 Jan 14 '22

There isn’t any system in the world in which rare diseases get a ton of research dollars thrown at them.


u/horseydeucey Jan 15 '22

There isn't a system in the world in which rare diseases get a ton of research dollars thrown at them.

There's not?

Damn, someone totally should start one up... call it something like the, "Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network".

Oh wait, my bad. There is a system in the world in which... yadda yadda. Oh! And it's a part of the National Institutes of Health?! The largest single public funder of biomedical research in the world?!

But that can't be, you said such a thing doesn't exist.


u/TheLizardKing89 Jan 15 '22

The RDCRN has an annual budget of less than $40 million. For comparison, Americans will spend about half a billion dollars ($500 million) on Halloween costumes for their pets this year.


u/horseydeucey Jan 15 '22

Thank you. I just knew you were gonna go.... "I said 'A TON!'"


u/TheLizardKing89 Jan 15 '22

The median cost to bring a drug to market is around $900 million. A $40 million fund split amongst several drugs is basically nothing.


u/horseydeucey Jan 15 '22

In case you're not keeping score. The conversation has gone like this:

If someone develops a drug that improves the lives of millions of people, they should be able to profit from that.

Someone points out,

Profit motive goes the other way too, companies have chosen not to develop drugs to treat rare diseases because they won't be profitable.

You say (paraphrasing)

"No one throws a ton of money at rare diseases."

"Yeah, they do."

"But people pay more for...[X]" (as if that has ANY bearing on anything).

Now you're going back in time and qualifying the statement that I took exception to, to tie it to the cost of drug development.

Not all dollars are equal, especially not when left to the devices of accountants with for-profit companies. Oh, how they can make a dollar dance on paper!

Look, you may know more about the nuts and bolts about what happens with 'drug to market' costs. So, please let me know how open private drug companies are about the portion of your $900 million (but you know it's more, I know you do) figure... how much is out of pocket expense, and how much is 'capitalized' cost.

Real talk, if you honestly stand by this statement:

If someone develops a drug that improves the lives of millions of people, they should be able to profit from that

You would be CLAMORING for NIH to attach their name to patents. But they generally don't... leaving the profit game to the capitalists who go, 'I made this' all the way to the bank.
Meanwhile, public dollars continue to (quietly, and largely unknown and unseen by the public) help us live healthier, safer lives... absent any profit motive. At least, before the profiteers get involved.


u/SeeArizonaBay Jan 15 '22

But but but my capital


u/horseydeucey Jan 15 '22

I love it.
And the irony is, if anyone checks that second link, you'll see NIH justifying its mission by pointing out all the economic benefit it brings... because as so many others love saying (including the person I replied to), "you can't do anything without a profit motive!"
But then why would NIH need to crow about the economic benefit? Is that why they exist? To line capitalists' pockets?

OHHHH, so the CAPITALISTS have a vested interest in convincing the rest of us that nothing can get done unless they're assured of a profit... got it!
Because NIH just 'magics' money out of thin air. Makes so much sense to me now!


u/khinzaw Jan 14 '22

There are systems where the government subsidizes the development and production. The US does that to some degree.


u/TheLizardKing89 Jan 14 '22

Yes, but which diseases do they subsidize more, rare diseases or diseases that a ton of people suffer from?


u/dicknipplesextreme Jan 14 '22

Option 3: Corn


u/ZarMulix Jan 14 '22

There isn't any country in the world without people dying of hunger. That's not a metric by which to aspire (does it already exist). It's literally anti-innovation.


u/GETitOFFmeNOW Jan 15 '22

With a straight face they say "it can cost a million dollars to get a drug researched and approved!"

And that's fine for us rubes who simply have zero concept of what a million dollars means, much less billions in profits.


u/Umarill Jan 14 '22

You are literally paying for it with your taxes, they shouldn't make millions out of health issues when you already pay for it.