Washington and Other States Want to Seize Gilead's Patent on Coronavirus Drug



Good article, Matt. I appreciate your exasperations.


It's like having our nation run by illegitimate, greed-crazed, soulless sociopaths combined with the elimination of the lines between corporations, government, and organized crime are actually problems.

Well, that and the fact that they'd gleefully murder every last mutherfucking one of us for a dollar.


Throw one Pharma Bro in prison, ten more spring up to gleefully take his place.


What's going unsaid in all this is that remdesivir isn't very effective. The FDA trial found that it doesn't help patients survive, but it may shorten the hospital stay for survivors by a few days. It's debatable whether it's worth this limited improvement in outcomes given its cost, or if we would be better off spending that money on other interventions or treatments.

Regardless it should absolutely not be priced as a traditional, patented drug given the circumstances. That doesn't necessarily mean they should forfeit the patent altogether but they should be reasonable about pricing and it's fucked up that this even needs to be said.


Good piece. Some may remember one of Dennis Kucinich's better proposals was to create a system of public health labs that would create vital cures and therapeutics under the public domain. Google "The Case for Public Patents." Until then, we should absolutely use the authority available under 28 U.S.C. ยง 1498 to commandeer not only the intellectual property but the entire supply chain.

The government is in the driver's seat. Intellectual property is only a thing because the government says it is. We provide the system of laws and courts to enforce it, but in exchange the government is entirely within its rights to insist on certain carve outs for public health priorities, and of course provide reasonable compensation. We can't be talking about just taking property without at least some compensation. Even Kucinich knew that.


In the UK it costs around $2.

Yes, that little.

But it's mostly used if you're really really sick, as a last ditch strategy


I kinda hate myself for it, but I'm dying to see what raindrop, David, Feebles, and our other right-wingers are going to come up with to defend Gilead here.

@5 We're facing shortages of hospital beds, so reducing per-patient stay time by 30% represents a large gain in capacity that absolutely will save lives simply by ensuring more people who need hospitalization will be able to get it. This would absolutely be worth the money if the drug were being sold at even a 1000% markup over cost (which would amount to under $50 per patient even with extremely high estimates of production and distribution expense)


@8: I expected them to have already started bleating in the comments before I made it here haha. "Good luck convincing pharmaceutical companies to stay in America, comrade" and the like.


@5. Good point! Remdesivir was only shown to be better than placebo in specific circumstances. Specifically, a randomized clinical trial showed a modest but statistically significant improvement in recovery time for hospitalized patients with preexisting lung disease. That it's being used more widely is purely because FDA has issued an emergency use authorization. Remdisivir is used in the most dire circumstances when patients are likely on or going on a ventilator--certainly not something on which to bank the reopening of work and school.


8, Has this cost-benefit actually been demonstrated? It's my understanding that the reduction in hospital stay was only observed in a subset of patients, so the 30% reduction would only apply to a limited set of cases, but I haven't heard anything about its actual clinical impact. I just know about the findings from the FDA trial and the fact that they tweaked their clinical endpoints after the trial was initiated.


@8: Actually, you'd find my disposition on the mater anti-climatical in your quest for gratification.

No, I concur with @6.


@11 From what I understand it's even worse than that: the goal of the study was to show reduction in mortality, but the target was changed to hospital stay time when the data came in. This is sadly pretty common in medical research; understandable given the costs and ethical constraints (especially in a crisis) but it means a lot of conclusions come out of research that was not specifically designed to support them.

Even if your evidence is shaky, though, in an emergency you go with it until you get more robust results.


@13 If you got nothin', just say so. Blundering around with those extra words you don't quite know how to use correctly just makes you look like a dazed weasel.


@15: Oh yeah?

You were probably sweating bullets to have to come up with that out.


@15: If you don't want my commentary, don't troll for it.


God I love it, one sullen schoolyard neener-neener rejoinder just wasn't enough, he had to immediately post another on top of it.


As to vaccines for COVID-19, it should be pointed out that Canada has already bought out two sets of vaccines for every Canadian, so they'll be fine.

We, on the other hand, probably won't.


@16 Wow, you really outdid yourself as a hooting loon. You actually make Raindrop one of the reasonable voices in this discussion.