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Comment: Re:This really should... (Score 4, Informative) 266

by nystul555 (#48593475) Attached to: Judge Rules Drug Maker Cannot Halt Sales of Alzheimer's Medicine

I couldn't agree with you more. It's not illegal currently but should be. Alternatively as others have suggested, if you stop making a medication other companies should be able to make a generic version.

Others have called this "ever-greening" but that's not completely right. The Namenda XR is evergreening but what Actavis/Forest (it was Forest when this started, now they are part of Actavis), what they have been doing is known as a "forced-switch" and has only been tried a few times. Its been extremely effective. Companies normally lose 90% market share when a generic comes out, but if they've done a forced-switch a year or more in advance it is usually only around a 25% loss.

Forest (now Actavis) has been desperate since the patent expired on their other blockbuster drug, Lexapro, in 2012. This was an attempt to retain the marketshare of their other blockbuster, and would have worked if they hadn't screwed up the implementation so badly. Forest cut over $500 million from their RnD and manufacturing budget in the last 2 years which I'm guessing is part of why they couldn't ramp up manufacturing of the new extended release quickly enough. Drug makers have to report on shortages and potential shortages to the FDA, and Forest/Actavis was fully aware that they could not make enough of the extended release to cover all the people they were forcing off of the instant release. However they decided to stop the manufacturing lines making their instant release anyway, since they knew the longer they kept making the instant release the more market share they would lose to the generic manufacturers when the patent expired. They really are scum.

Comment: Confusing summary - there are no generics (Score 5, Informative) 266

by nystul555 (#48593329) Attached to: Judge Rules Drug Maker Cannot Halt Sales of Alzheimer's Medicine

The summary doesn't make clear whats going on. I've been dealing with this personally for several months and what Actavis has been doing is terrible, the judge made the right decision.

They have been making the drug in question, Namenda, for many years and it has become a critical component of treating Alzheimers and several other related conditions. It is an instant release form.

There are no generics, it is still under patent until later next year. What Actavis did was create a new version of the drug which is extended release, and patent that. Its the exact same thing but with some coating that makes part of it release more slowly.Earlier this year they announced that they were discontinuing the instant release version, and they stopped manufacturing it.

Again, there are no generics yet, and no alternatives. The point was to force everyone to switch over to the extended release (which they have the patent on until 2025) BEFORE any other company could start making a generic version of the drug. This would make it extremely unlikely that any generic company would start making it at all since sales would be low and margins on generic medications aren't high. Most generic manufacturers don't have much in the way of a marketing budget, so once Actavis has gotten everyone prescribing the extended release version it would be too difficult for the generics to get doctors to switch back to the instant release version just because there was a cheaper option. Additionally, you don't want to change an Alzheimers patients medication any more than you have to, and since Actavis is forcing them to switch from the instant release to extended now you wouldn't want to switch them back to the instant just a year later, unless you had to.

To be clear Actavis stated all of this in their shareholder report. They were confident this plan would prevent generic manufacturers from taking any significant amount of the sales.

To make this much worse, Actavis stopped making the instant release without making nearly enough of the extended release. Google Namenda shortage to see the affects this has caused. Nursing homes have been forced to give patients their medication every other day, or instant some days and extended other days, because there isn't nearly enough to go around. I had to fill a 30 day Rx for it in September and had to contact 44 pharmacies to find one that had any (I was lucky and it had just arrived). People have been flying to other cities, even other states to fill the medication for their loved ones. Its been terrible for anyone suffering from Alzheimer's or any of the other conditions that it treats, as well as their families and the people providing care for them.

Comment: Maybe - but probably not (Score 4, Informative) 127

by nystul555 (#43887155) Attached to: Will Your Video Game Collection Appreciate Over Time?

This is what I do for a living, my company is the largest retailer and distributor of classic video games in North America (and most likely the world). Over the years we've built up a database with hundreds of millions of price points and sales transactions for tens of thousands of games. The overall trends haven't changed much, and with most games it's fairly easy to tell if the value is going to increase or decrease.

First, if you are talking about a new game - if you open it then it is highly unlikely the game will become worth more than you paid for it any time soon. If you don't open it and it is a limited edition or collector's edition, and actually contains figures, books, artwork, etc, it may increase in value. If it ends up being a popular game it can skyrocket in value, especially if no one expected it to be a huge success when it first came out. We bought several copies of the original Mass Effect Limited Edition in 2007, never opened them, kept the receipts, paid 69.95 for each and sold them all for over 1k each last year. During its peak unopened copies of the original World of Warcraft were going for several thousand dollars. But those are the exceptions. RPGs tend to do far better than other genres, most other games will lose value even if unopened.

Now if you are talking about older games, its a completely different story. For the last 8 years prices for classic video games have been going up at a steady, rapid rate. There are a few main factors. 1) - People get older, get better jobs, have money, and want to either replay the games they loved as a kid, get the games they couldn't afford when they were young, or show the games to their own children. 2) - International buyers are buying a HUGE number of classic video games - many of them were never released in their country and they only way they can legal play the game is to import it from the US. 3) - These games aren't made anymore. The supply is only decreasing. A decreasing supply combined with a rapidly increasing demand means price increases.

As long as people continue to enjoy collecting games, and as long as they continue to enjoy playing classic games on the original systems, prices are likely to increase, although more slowly than in the past. Virtual Console, PSN, and other re-releases usually result in a small increase in demand for the original games (unless they were already way too expensive). Roms have been around for far longer than we've been doing this and the demand for the originals, and the prices, are still increasing. But keep in mind that unless you are talking about unopened games, then the prices are increasing relative to their value a few years ago. A good, new NES game for bought for $60 in 1988 may only be worth $20 today. But in 2010 you could have bought it for $6. In 2008, $3.

If you have a bunch of old video games and need some cash, I'd sell them. Don't count on them to skyrocket in value. But if you don't need the cash and if you still enjoy playing them, it's fine to hold on. They should continue to increase in value. If they are new games - sell them as quick as you can! But not to GameStop. Sell them on Ebay or Craigslist. Places like GameStop will rip you off and give you half what you could have gotten selling it yourself.

"The identical is equal to itself, since it is different." -- Franco Spisani

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