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Comment: Re:Just let them test out! (Score 1) 307

by pepty (#48596837) Attached to: Google Suggests Separating Students With 'Some CS Knowledge' From Novices
Could be worse. It is (or at least was) common to take on many more science grad students than they really have room for, then give a bunch the boot with a masters degree. Reason being that once you advance to candidacy you spend most of your time in a lab and become expensive to support instead of cheap teaching labor. But with the way NIH funding is going these days I think the winnowing process for grad students will be which ones manage to win their own fellowships, since few labs will be able to support them if they don't.

Comment: Re:There is no vaccine for the worst diseases (Score 1) 1051

by pepty (#48593867) Attached to: Time To Remove 'Philosophical' Exemption From Vaccine Requirements?
True about this year's vaccine, especially since it looks like the strain not in the vaccine is especially nasty. But studies have found that vaccinating the kids in a community prevents hospitalization of senior citizens:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3111961/

Also, I don't think most people actually sit in a doctor's waiting room anymore for a flu vaccine, they only get it at the doctor's office if they are already to see the doctor for some other reason. It's way too expensive for your health care provider to schedule an appointment just to get a flu shot. People get it at a drugstore, grocery store, etc, or at a flu shot clinic. If they wait in line, they are waiting in line with a bunch of other people who are there just to get a flu shot, not people who are already sick.

Comment: Re:Despicable tactic, but... (Score 2) 266

by pepty (#48593747) Attached to: Judge Rules Drug Maker Cannot Halt Sales of Alzheimer's Medicine

(the discussion about how it is far more profitable to treat as opposed to cure asthma is something for another time)

I think a cure for asthma would be a goldmine, especially compared to a new treatment. Imagine a best case scenario "take a pill, your asthma is cured, works for pretty much all patients" drug, then look at the numbers:

Market: 25 million+ asthmatics in the USA. A new treatment would have to compete against all of the existing treatments. A cure would own the market, full stop. It would displace pretty much all of the brand and generic treatments. Insurance companies would have to cover it. Medicare/medicaid would have to cover it. Pretty much everyone with decent insurance would end up on your cure.

Costs: R&D costs ... hard to compare. But for marketing costs: A billion dollar marketing campaign for a new asthma treatment would capture a fraction of the market for a few years. For a cure, pediatricians would be beating down your door instead of you spending out the wazoo trying to get them to accept free samples. A cure would generate so much attention in the news, medical conferences, literature, etc. that the only marketing costs would be in explaining how to administer it.

Price: Treatment: set by the cost of competing treatments. Cure: list price, $30k a pop in the USA, easy. Actual average price would end up being more like $15k after various discounts.

Revenue stream: This is the biggest advantage of a cure. With a treatment, you have to wait for your profit from each patient: money comes in dribs and drabs from each patient over a decade, and you never know when they might switch to another drug or just stop taking asthma drugs. For a cure, you get all of your money from each patient up front on day one. A dollar earned by the cure is worth about two dollars earned by the treatment, because you get that dollar much sooner and with much less risk. Really. By the time a competitor comes out with a "me too" asthma cure, you've already cured most of the existing asthmatics ($15k x 15M patients = $225 billion dollars, spread over ~4 years), so you will only be competing for new cases.

Comment: Re:Can you say... (Score 1) 266

by pepty (#48593515) Attached to: Judge Rules Drug Maker Cannot Halt Sales of Alzheimer's Medicine

I'd be fine with refusing the company the patent protection on an obvious follow-up product.

What if the new formulation is clearly better for some or most patients? Even when several drugs all have the same active ingredient, different formulations can change side effects drastically. Ditto for when the "me too" drug contains an active ingredient that is slightly different from the original.

Comment: Re: makes no sense (Score 1) 266

by pepty (#48593485) Attached to: Judge Rules Drug Maker Cannot Halt Sales of Alzheimer's Medicine
If that's all they do (soft switches), judges are fine with it. It's when they force patients to change to the new formulation before the patent runs out (hard switches) so that there is no generic substitute when the patent does run out that judges draw the line. Actavis tried a soft switch, investors were not satisfied, so they tried a hard switch.

Comment: Re:Can you say... (Score 1) 266

by pepty (#48593459) Attached to: Judge Rules Drug Maker Cannot Halt Sales of Alzheimer's Medicine

So it is ok to keep forcing them to make the product if it was not making them money?

If a sudden stop would lead to a drug shortage and huge price spike, sure. Generic companies manipulate the price of drugs (think 1000% price hikes, if you can get the drug at all) this way. It works because it would take a drug manufacturing plant months and millions of dollars to become approved to make a given drug, and that assumes the plant wouldn't need several months and millions of dollars of retooling to even make the drug at scale.

Comment: Re:Can you say... (Score 1) 266

by pepty (#48593413) Attached to: Judge Rules Drug Maker Cannot Halt Sales of Alzheimer's Medicine
The FDA grants drug companies marketing exclusivity on drug formulations predicated on the basis that doing so is useful to society. It makes sense to interpret the laws based on that intent. When companies have just promoted the new version while leaving the old version on the market, judges have left them alone. Besides, we have already started forcing generic drug companies to announce and sometimes postone their stopping of manufacturing generic drugs if doing so would cause a shortage of the drug.

Comment: Re:There is no vaccine for the worst diseases (Score 1) 1051

by pepty (#48587825) Attached to: Time To Remove 'Philosophical' Exemption From Vaccine Requirements?
How to fix this: PSAs showing happy families with kids making the trip to Grandma and Grandpa's house for thanksgiving, with a voice over explaining how many elderly people are hospitalized or die from the flu each year. Further explain that the flu vaccine isn't as effective in the elderly as it is in younger people, and that they need to be protected from exposure. Give people a real and very personal consequence to ponder when they consider avoiding vaccinating their kids.

Comment: Re:I disagree (Score 2) 257

by pepty (#48492821) Attached to: The Driverless Future: Buses, Not Taxis

A bus can only be in one spot.

A car goes on your schedule, not the other way around. Which is why driverless cars will win.

I'm not too worried about traffic.

Now there's a contradiction. A car certainly starts on your schedule, but after that your schedule is determined by traffic. And places with heavy traffic would probably see driverless buses long before places with nice suburban 5mph over the speed limit the whole way commutes. Then there are costs:

The problem with busses is that anybody of means doesn't like taking them. Too many other people's stops and what not.

Look around you: That's actually not that big a problem, since it describes a small and shrinking percentage of the population (in the US, at least). Most people won't be able to afford a driverless car until quite a while after they are introduced. Ditto for driverless-Uber single passenger type services: too expensive for the daily commute. Most people will be choosing between sitting in traffic playing games on their smart device in a public or private multi-passenger vehicle, or driving their own car and not playing games on their smart device. Really the big problem with buses (driverless or no) is that it's hard for local movers and shakers to get rich off of them. They are purchased from another state/country, there aren't many big construction projects involved, and most of the money goes to labor and admin. I.e., city employees that probably won't even vote for the movers'/shakers' pet politicians, let alone give them kickbacks. Compare that to a subway or light rail: HUGE sums of cash going to local consultants/real estate interests, HUGE sums of cash going to the construction companies that "win" the bid, HUGE sums of cash going to the investment bankers that write and sell the bonds, etc. Rich people using them is pretty much irrelevant at that point.

The transition I see happening first is fewer families having multiple cars. Partial conversions, if you will.

Comment: Re:Something we don't really need (Score 2) 30

by pepty (#48340791) Attached to: Start-Up Vsenn Emerges From Stealth With Project Ara Modular Phone Competitor
As AC pointed out, the same components offered in a modular setup will be more expensive, but not just in terms of space. To keep the same profit margins all of the modules will have to be marked up significantly compared to what you would pay for them all packaged together. If third parties are also selling modules, then the entire profit margin has to come from the frame.

Comment: Re:Which way are the bits going? (Score 1) 97

by pepty (#48296001) Attached to: Real Net Neutrality Problem: 'Edge Provider' vs 'End User'

Step one: propose bonds that would pay for last mile fiber networks, with rollout decided primarily by neighborhood population density.

Step two: ?

Step three: Money goes to municipalities which in turn put network installation and management projects up for bid. Municipalities choose to provide service as a utillity or allow private ISPs to compete to sell broadband services.

Crazee Edeee, his prices are INSANE!!!

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