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The Soaring Cost Of A Simple Breath

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http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/13/us/the-soaring-cost-of-a-simple-breath.html?hp&_r=0

OAKLAND, Calif. — The kitchen counter in the home of the Hayes family is scattered with the inhalers, sprays and bottles of pills that have allowed Hannah, 13, and her sister, Abby, 10, to excel at dance and gymnastics despite a horrific pollen season that has set off asthma attacks, leaving the girls struggling to breathe.

Asthma — the most common chronic disease that affects Americans of all ages, about 40 million people — can usually be well controlled with drugs. But being able to afford prescription medications in the United States often requires top-notch insurance or plenty of disposable income, and time to hunt for deals and bargains.

The arsenal of medicines in the Hayeses’ kitchen helps explain why. Pulmicort, a steroid inhaler, generally retails for over $175 in the United States, while pharmacists in Britain buy the identical product for about $20 and dispense it free of charge to asthma patients. Albuterol, one of the oldest asthma medicines, typically costs $50 to $100 per inhaler in the United States, but it was less than $15 a decade ago, before it was repatented.

The US consumer their just to have their cash extracted. Win dollar tokens and pay them out.

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Guest eight

I would not breathe in the US - I couldn't afford to.

Since humans breathe out CO2, the most harmful substance known to man, it's probably best if we all refrain.

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About 75% of Americans consider themselves Christian, about 70% believe that they have a guardian angel... Wonder what would happen if Jesus turned up and started healing the sick for free?

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About 75% of Americans consider themselves Christian, about 70% believe that they have a guardian angel... Wonder what would happen if Jesus turned up and started healing the sick for free?

He'd get arrested for practicing medicine without a license, and get a 5 year jail term, where he'd be expected to work for some for profit corporation to help pay the costs of the for profit prison.

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Since humans breathe out CO2, the most harmful substance known to man, it's probably best if we all refrain.

But the elixir of life for plants and trees......;)

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But the elixir of life for plants and trees......;)

Strange then that some scientists claim to have observed that the ocean's plants, which produce ~50% of the worlds O2, have decliined by 40% since the 1950s as the seas have warmed. ;)

What's the cost of breathing oxidising carbon ?

Edited by LiveinHope

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How can things out of patent be repatented? Surely they should be producing this as a generic drug by now?

The drug itself, can't be repatented. What can be patented is a new method of dispensing it.

The classic salbutamol (also called albuterol) inhaler worked by dissolving the drug in a solvent/propellant made from CFCs. Once both the drug and inhaler design came out of patent, the generic firms quickly started making clones.

Then it was discovered that there were some issues with CFCs and they were banned. The original manufacturers spent billions looking for alternative non-CFC solvents for the inhalers, and did eventually find some. They patented the new solvent formulation and new inhaler designs needed to work with them.

So far, none of the generic manufacturers have been able to develop a CFC-free solvent on their own.

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A lot of the asthma patents ran out around 2010 to 2012 and there was much worry as they were HUGE cash cows for the drug companies. But they just came up with ways of repatenting the systems. or by mixing two drugs into one, and, voila, cash cow continues.

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It's not that the free market isn't working, there is no free market in US healthcare. There are a series of government mandated monopolies that have lead to widespread fleecing.

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The drug itself, can't be repatented. What can be patented is a new method of dispensing it.

The classic salbutamol (also called albuterol) inhaler worked by dissolving the drug in a solvent/propellant made from CFCs. Once both the drug and inhaler design came out of patent, the generic firms quickly started making clones.

Then it was discovered that there were some issues with CFCs and they were banned. The original manufacturers spent billions looking for alternative non-CFC solvents for the inhalers, and did eventually find some. They patented the new solvent formulation and new inhaler designs needed to work with them.

So far, none of the generic manufacturers have been able to develop a CFC-free solvent on their own.

again - buy it in Maxico - problem solved - free market always works

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The drug itself, can't be repatented. What can be patented is a new method of dispensing it.

The classic salbutamol (also called albuterol) inhaler worked by dissolving the drug in a solvent/propellant made from CFCs. Once both the drug and inhaler design came out of patent, the generic firms quickly started making clones.

Then it was discovered that there were some issues with CFCs and they were banned. The original manufacturers spent billions looking for alternative non-CFC solvents for the inhalers, and did eventually find some. They patented the new solvent formulation and new inhaler designs needed to work with them.

So far, none of the generic manufacturers have been able to develop a CFC-free solvent on their own.

However, strict exemptions to monopoly trading laws for medical and pharma firms in the US, along with serious financialisation and a very compliant insurance industry has resulted in the stupid, anti competitive pricing in the US.

Leverage is priced into all medicine in the US.

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again - buy it in Maxico - problem solved - free market always works

As long as you don't get caught. It's well and truly illegal.

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About 75% of Americans consider themselves Christian, about 70% believe that they have a guardian angel... Wonder what would happen if Jesus turned up and started healing the sick for free?

He'd be crucified by the media for a start..

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Yeah it's more the insurance / reimbursement plans in the US that keep drug costs high.

Inhalers are tricky too - though it is true for Albuterol that the CFC to HFA switch resulted in new formulation patents. There are at least 3 separate suppliers of HFA Albuterol in the US.

GSK's Advair went off patent in 2012 to all intents and purposes but no generic exists ($6 billion worldwide sales) - mostly because it's a real pain in the **** to copy (I should know - that's my day job).

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Guest eight

What's the cost of breathing oxidising carbon ?

Well in my own personal case, the "cost" is continued existence.

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In the UK we pay a premium for a roof over our heads but have "free" healthcare. In the USA, they pay a premium for healthcare but have cheap housing. Who is crazier, us or them?

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In the UK we pay a premium for a roof over our heads but have "free" healthcare. In the USA, they pay a premium for healthcare but have cheap housing. Who is crazier, us or them?

Don't worry, as soon as our current gov has pushed up housing costs to unbearable extremes (if its not there already), they or their successors will get to work on doing the same to healthcare. Then we will have the best of both worlds.

Edited by alexw

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