Archive for November, 2010

The Cost Of Treatment

Posted in Politics, Society, Technology on November 25th, 2010

3D Model of HIV VirusIt’s a pretty good time in the fight against AIDS. A recent study showed that a daily pill, Gilead Science’s Truvada, which already on pharmacy shelves as a HIV treatment could actually help prevent new HIV infections.

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine was conducted on 2499 men at 11 sites in six countries: Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, South Africa, Thailand and the United States.

Gilead Science's TruvadaDiligent use of the medication (90%+ daily usage) resulted in a 73% reduction in infection rates over the course of the year-long study. Quite surprisingly, even lackadaisical usage ( 50% daily usage) resulted in a 50% drop in infection rates among the men in the study.

It’s a fact of life, however, that such treatments and potential prophylactics come at a cost.

Associated Press via Yahoo News:

Because Truvada is already on the market, the CDC is rushing to develop guidelines for doctors who want to use it to prevent HIV, and urged people to wait until those are ready.

As a practical matter, price could limit use. The pills cost $5,000 to $14,000 a year in the United States, but roughly $140 a year in some poor countries where they are sold in generic form.

Whether insurers or government health programs should pay for them is one of the tough issues to be sorted out, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

So there’s a median cost of $10,000 per annum in America and $140 per annum in the Third World. That’s approximately a 7,150% variance in price between what Americans must pay for drug and what Third Worlders and/or the various institutions helping them in their fight against HIV / AIDS must pay!

Hellfire! In Uganda where’s there’s a shortage of Truvada, there’s a black market for the drug and, even at black market prices, the cost is only approximately $720 per annum ($2 / dose).

Why is there such a discrepancy and inequality in pricing for this drug? Why is it that Americans with HIV already have to pay such comparatively high prices for Truvada as a treatment?

Big Pharma’s Greed

Is the inequality of costs based upon the greed of the pharmaceutical companies? That’s a seductively easy answer, and one that anyone who studied healthcare costs during the battles over ObamaCare would have to say is not totally without merit.

Yet that would fully explain the degree of inequality in pricing. Given US foreign aid and American based NGOs continued widespread assistance to the Third World’s struggle against HIV /AIDS, one would reasonably expect higher prices than what are being experienced. “Charge all that the market will bear” is an axiom but the market would not, in truth, be the Third World; it would still be America in the form of our federal government and our various charities.

Eating The Rich

An alternative theory would be that the inequality in pricing is based upon some form of ethnoguiltism- and/or oikophobia-driven class warfare which causes our own people to be charged what seems to exorbitant amounts of money in order to subsidize the nearly free care provided to the the Third World.

This is not as easy or pat an answer as corporate greed, but it’s not, in any way shape or form, without merit. We’ve seen this neo-Socialist mindset many times before – in the details of the AGW movement, in ObamaCare itself, in most things billed as “Social Justice,” and in just about anything involving “spreading the wealth.”

Intellectual Miscegenation

A third and, to my mind, more probable hypothesis is, “Why Chose?” I find it likely that the reasons for this disparity between what Americans must pay for treatment vs. what the populace of  the Third World must pay is based upon some misborn hybridization – mongrelization really – of the first two possibilities.

Gilead Science, the makers of Truvada, and the other pharmaceutical companies are private sector firms and, hence, profit-driven. Their investors and shareholders are expecting and demanding positive returns on their investments from these companies. When you factor in the broad use of health insurance, it would be – or should be – expected that they would maximize their returns by charging Americans as much as they could manage to do.

At the same time they well might feel the moral and/or – yes, it could be both – public relations need to provide very low-cost medicine for the rest of the world’s poor.

This would cause an intrinsic conflict with their investors and stockholders who want and/or need these companies to focus on profits and market cap so as to maximize the  investors’ returns. Charity and profits rarely go hand in hand after all.

Therefor, somebody has to pay for this charity, and who better to pay than the American people? After all, we’re all wealthy and we all owe restitution and reparations to the Third World for that fact – or so those of a common mindset keep claiming.

My Thoughts On The Matter

I care about the reason why there’s such a discrepancy and inequality in the pricing of Truvada only insofar as discovering those reasons would be the first step towards correcting what I see as a problem. I don’t even care that much in particular about Truvada or any other of the antiretroviral drug cocktails used to combat HIV / AIDS; the disease doesn’t, despite it’s being an ongoing cause celebre,  affect near as many people – by whole orders of magnitude – than other, less “popular” diseases.

Yet, Truvada’s pricing model is indicative of the entirety of current medical science and technology, especially pharmaceutical science. Americans, rich and poor alike, pay far higher costs than what is charged to the Third World and that just doesn’t seem right.

NOTE: Don’t bother coming here and ranting about how it’s the fault of America’s for-profit health insurance industry; I’ve little tolerance for foolishness and even less for the fools themselves.

The costs of the medicines and procedures are the costs the medicines and procedures. Health insurance, whether it be private, public, or single-payer only spreads out those costs among a pool of payers; it doesn’t positively change the costs themselves.

Related Reading:

Latin America: Management Education's Growth and Future Pathways
Theories of International Politics and Zombies: Revived Edition
Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles
Racism and Intolerance (Children In Our World)
Community/Public Health Nursing: Promoting the Health of Populations, 6e

Adding Insult To Insult

Posted in Politics, Religion, Society on November 23rd, 2010

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf the smiling face of jihadImam Feisal Abdul Rauf and his co-conspirator, Sharif El-Gamal aren’t satisfied with forcing the insult of Park 51 nee Cordoba House, aka the Ground Zero Mosque, upon New York and America at large; now they demand that the American taxpayers help fund what the vast majority consider an abomination.

The insults to America just keep spewing from these “moderate” Muslims.

Most Americans are firmly against any Muslim showpiece edifice being constructed anywhere near Ground Zero but admit that it would be wrong to use the law to prevent these Muslims from building it. Rather than take this to heart and be grateful for the unearned tolerance that Americans are willing to show the brothers and sisters of our enemies, these creatures want Americans to pay for the “privilege” of their insults and gloating mockery.

From the Daily Beast:

Developers of the controversial Park51 Islamic community center and mosque located two blocks from ground zero earlier this month applied for roughly $5 million in federal grant money set aside for the redevelopment of lower Manhattan after the attacks of September 11, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the matter.

~*~

The application was submitted under a “community and cultural enhancement” grant program administered by the Lower Manhattan Redevelopment Corporation (LMDC), which oversaw the $20 billion in federal aid allocated in the wake of 9/11 and is currently doling out millions in remaining taxpayer funds for community development. The redevelopment board declined to comment on the application (as did officials from Park51), citing the continuing and confidential process of determining the grant winners.

While news of the application has not previously been made public, developer Sharif El-Gamal outlined it in closed-door meetings, according to two individuals he spoke with directly.

Both Muslims and their dhimmi apologists will stridently claim that applying for a federal grant is not demanding $5 million from the American people. This is nothing, of course, but another example of taqiyyah, the Islamic practice of lying to unbelievers.

Be assured that, if they’re denied their “request” they, with the always eager aid of the Muslim Brotherhood’s front group in the US, CAIR, will launch a paper jihad in the courts, tying up the available grant funding and shutting down the entirety of the Lower Manhattan Community and Cultural Enhancement Program until they get the $5 million plus whatever “damages” they could manage to extort through New York’s uber-Liberal civil courts system.

Gods above and below! Given his track record, Obama would probably have his boy, Attorney General Holder lend them material aid and comfort in their attempt.

At a bare minimum Obama would have Holder file an amicus curiae brief on their behalf, thereby tacitly threatening federal reprisal if his preferred decision isn’t reached.

Adding insult to insult to grievous injury is all these Muslim vermin are doing. It’s the best that we can expect from the Muslims. It must always be remembered that Moderate Muslims differ from their Extremists only in methodology and personal courage. The Moderate Muslims will wage jihad against America via paper terrorism and suborning the courts system, whereas the Extremists prefer direct violence.

Jihad bi-al-Lisan and Jihad bi-al-Qalam, Jihad al-yad, and the bloody Jihad as-sayf are all the same; they’re all Jihad, the Muslim holy war to create the Khalifat for the Mahdi to rule.

Related Reading:

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion
How to Pray: A Step-by-Step Guide to Prayer in Islam
Streetwise Manhattan Bus Subway Map - Laminated Subway & Bus Map of Manhattan, New York (Michelin Streetwise Maps)
America: A Narrative History (Brief Tenth Edition)  (Vol. 2)
Mamluk Art. The Splendour and Magic of the Sultans: 1 (Islamic Art in the Mediterranean)

Canadian Border Woes

Posted in Humor, Politics on November 21st, 2010

Who would have thought that Canada was having a problem with illegal immigrants? Canada was supposed to be intrinsically immune to this problem by reason of only sharing a land border with America.

But the world has changed and Canada is now facing a problem similar in form, if not in the nature of the posed threat, to that which America has faced for many long years.

It seems that, in the wake of the 2010 Elections and the shift of America back to its core values and cultural mores, Liberals and Progressives are “wetbacking” across the border into Canada seeking the Statist, Neo-Socialist utopia that has been denied them by the patriots in the Unites States.

Canadians: “Build a Damn Fence!”

From The Manitoba Herald , Canada ; “Reported” by Clive Runnels

The flood of American liberals sneaking across the border into Canada has intensified in the past week, sparking calls for increased patrols to stop the illegal immigration. The recent actions of the Tea Party are prompting an exodus among left-leaning citizens who fear they’ll soon be required to hunt, pray, and to agree with Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck.

Canadian border farmers say it’s not uncommon to see dozens of sociology professors, animal-rights activists and Unitarians crossing their fields at night. “I went out to milk the cows the other day, and there was a Hollywood producer huddled in the barn,” said Manitoba farmer Red Greenfield , whose acreage borders North Dakota . The producer was cold, exhausted and hungry. He asked me if I could spare a latte and some free-range chicken. When I said I didn’t have any, he left before I even got a chance to show him my screenplay, eh?”

In an effort to stop the illegal aliens, Greenfield erected higher fences, but the liberals scaled them. He then installed loudspeakers that blared Rush Limbaugh across the fields. “Not real effective,” he said. “The liberals still got through and Rush annoyed the cows so much that they wouldn’t give any milk.”

Officials are particularly concerned about smugglers who meet liberals near the Canadian border, pack them into Volvo station wagons and drive them across the border where they are simply left to fend for themselves.” A lot of these people are not prepared for our rugged conditions,” an Ontario border patrolman said. “I found one carload without a single bottle of imported drinking water. They did have a nice little Napa Valley Cabernet, though.”

When liberals are caught, they’re sent back across the border, often wailing loudly that they fear retribution from conservatives. Rumors have been circulating about plans being made to build re-education camps where liberals will be forced to drink domestic beer and watch NASCAR races.

In recent days, liberals have turned to ingenious ways of crossing the border. Some have been disguised as senior citizens taking a bus trip to buy cheap Canadian prescription drugs. After catching a half-dozen young vegans in powdered wig disguises, Canadian immigration authorities began stopping buses and quizzing the supposed senior citizens about Perry Como and Rosemary Clooney to prove that they were alive in the ’50s. “If they can’t identify the accordion player on The Lawrence Welk Show, we become very suspicious about their age.” an official said.

Canadian citizens have complained that the illegal immigrants are creating an organic-broccoli shortage and are renting all the Michael Moore movies “I really feel sorry for American liberals, but the Canadian economy just can’t support them.” an Ottawa resident said. “How many art-history majors does one country need?”

Certainly Canada’s border woes aren’t as immediately threatening as what America faces, but it’s still a problem. The increased crowds and lines at Tim Hortons – or worse, Starbucks using these illegal Liberal immigrants as a beach head – alone is a problem that few Canadians are ready to face with equanimity. 😉

Canadians Have Reason To Fear

Canada’s A Beautiful Country; They’d Like To Keep It That Way

On the bright side, these are Leftists, various Liberals and Progressives, which are fleeing America. That can only be a good thing for the American people. On the other hand though, Canada is an ally – most of the time – and it behooves us to police our own and help stem this influx of parasites into our sister nation.

Of course, perhaps America and Canada could team up and solve for two questions with a single answer. We could round up these Liberals and send them to Quebec! 😆

~*~

As pleasant for Americans as the thought of the Leftists fleeing in droves across our northern borders might be, this is purely a fantasy based upon an odd “article” that went viral across the internet.

Sadly, there are no large numbers of Liberals and Progressives fleeing from the revitalized United States.

The Manitoba Herald, while a real daily newspaper, was only published from January 11 – August 2, 1877; the supposed author of the article, Clive Runnels simply doesn’t exist; and the Manitoba farmer, Red Greenfield is likely a riff on the Canadian comic character, Red Green created by long time comedian, Steve Smith Jr. and his Morag.

NOTE: By way of irony and in the spirit of full disclosure, let me say that one of my wives, Kitsa is something akin to an arts-history major. She’s currently working on a postgraduate degree and certification in fiber-arts restoration, conservation, and curation.

Related Reading:

You Can Do Anything: The Surprising Power of a Useless Liberal Arts Education
Summary: Ben Shapiro’s How to Debate Leftists and Destroy Them
Politics (Oxford World's Classics)
The Liberal Arts Tradition: A Philosophy of Christian Classical Education
Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal