The Phaserl


A Cardiologist Stands Up

by Karl Denninger, Market Ticker:

No, this is not the first thing Ramin has posted on this general topic, and no, it’s not the first time he’s gone after the real issue. It is, however, particularly poignant given the circumstances and worth a read.

Americans pay four to 10 times more for prescription drugs than what citizens of other developed countries pay. It’s true that drug prices must be high enough to pay for research and development, but there is no reason that only American consumers should bear that cost. We effectively subsidize the generous national health systems of Canada and other western countries by allowing them to get away with paying much lower prices that don’t reflect the much greater R&D costs of the drugs they use.


When I point out that I can reduce the cost of medicine in the United States by 80% in a single day without screwing one patient or killing one person by withholding (rationing) care I usually get blank stares in response. It’s utterly true, however; when you pay 4-10x — or even 1,000x as much as a market price for something simply putting a stop to that screwing takes 60-90% or more out of the cost.

And that’s just one aspect of health care (drugs), although it’s a damn big one.

Go quote out the per-hour charter rate for a “life flight” type of chopper. I note that said charter rate includes the pilot (along with the fuel and enough profit to pay for the hull and engine) and that such is readily available all over the place — today, it’s on the Internet via myriad companies that offer exactly that service. Does the equipment to go with it (jaws of life, etc) and doctor (or paramedic) on board add to this? Sure but by how much? Not that much. There’s another 500% (or more) overcharge and this one is particularly egregious in that when you need that service you need it right now. There are laws against hosing people who are in extreme circumstances; try to charge someone $20/gallon for gas when a hurricane is coming and you’ll find yourself in prison in an afternoon. Well?

Diagnostics? Compare MRI prices in Japan with those in the US and get back to me on that. Again, you’ll find 10x, 20x, even 30-40x higher prices charged here than there.

It’s not hard to take 80-90% out of the cost of something when you’re being robbed to the tune of 1,000% to start with. You simply need to stop the scamming and price plummets.

Then there’s fraud. Yes, outright fraud. As we’ve now learned Mylan intentionally, it appears, “mis-coded” their EpiPens so as to get paid more than their actual price. When questioned Mylan’s CEO, as I pointed out, erected the middle finger, literally, at America.

This is a company that enjoys the protection and legal environment of America and yet it believes it can literally tell the people of this nation and indeed anyone who criticizes the company ought to go **** themselves. Congress, Wall Street, even the FDA? Go **** yourself.

Well, I have a question. If this is the view — that Mylan has no obligation to obey the law, can overcharge people with impunity, can manipulate Congress and the Executive and screw the nation all it likes for any amount of money it likes then perhaps you can tell me why this executive thinks he, his family, and everyone who works at the firm ought to be able to enjoy basic protection of the law? You know, the ability to walk down the street without being mugged, his wife raped and his children taken as slaves to be sold to some sex trader…..

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