A welcome to readers

As a resident of this planet for more than four fifths of a century, I have enjoyed both successes and disappointments in a wide variety of vocations, avocations, and life experiences. This blog satisfies my desire to share some thoughts and observations--trenchant and prosaic--with those who are searching for diversions which are interesting, poignant and occasionally funny. I also plan to share recommendations about good/great movies I've watched and books and articles which I've found particularly mind-opening, entertaining, instructive. In addition, I can't pass up the opportunity to reflect publicly on how I am experiencing the so-called Golden Years. Write anytime:

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


I hate starting the day with the taste of bile in my throat and cramps in my stomach, but this article made me sick. Turing's actions and Shkreli's "justifications,"  represent the dark underbelly of capitalism--the willingness to do anything, charge any price, and then try to justify it by referencing the fact that it's "common market practice" or we're  "in line with the rest of the industry"--as if that makes it right.

Volkswagen just did the same thing by deliberately creating an override device in the electronic system of its cars that would kick into action when the car's emissions were being tested and consequently produce fraudulent data that made the cars  meet environmental regulatory standards.

Capitalism has no conscience and no inherent impulse or inclination toward self-policing or regulation. Those who argue for smaller  government-- or less government regulation--are actually aiding and abetting the worst practices of American capitalism. Is it overstating the case to say that the capitalist system, irrespective of the incredible variety of life-enhancing products it has made available to the world, is inherently amoral? I think not.

US pharmaceutical company defends 5,000% price increase

Generic image of pharmaceuticalsImage copyrightThinkstock
Image captionDaraprim now sells for $750 (£485) a dose despite costing $1 to produce
The head of a US pharmaceutical company has defended his company's decision to raise the price of a 62-year-old medication used by Aids patients by over 5,000%.
Turing Pharmaceuticals acquired the rights to Daraprim in August.
CEO Martin Shkreli has said that the company will use the money it makes from sales to research new treatments.
The drug treats toxoplasmosis, a parasitic affliction that affects people with compromised immune systems.
The pill costs about $1 to produce, but Mr Shkreli, a former hedge fund manager, said that does not include other costs like marketing, manufacturing and distribution, which have increased dramatically in recent years.
Media captionMartin Shkreli, CEO Turing Pharmaceuticals: "We're simply charging the right price that the markets [and] prior owners missed"
"We needed to turn a profit on this drug," Mr Shkreli told Bloomberg TV. "The companies before us were actually giving it away almost."
He says the practice is not out of line with the rest of the industry.
"These days, modern pharmaceuticals, cancer drugs can cost $100,000 or more, whereas these drugs can cost half a million dollars. Daraprim is still underpriced relative to its peers," he told Bloomberg TV.
On Twitter, Mr Shkreli mocked several users who questioned the company's decision, calling one reporter "a moron".

'Cost is unjustifiable'

The Infectious Diseases Society of America, the HIV Medicine Association and other health care providers wrote an open letter to Turning, urging the company to reconsider.
"This cost is unjustifiable for the medically vulnerable patient population in need of this medication and unsustainable for the health care system," the groups wrote.
Dr Wendy Armstrong of HIV Medicine Association also disputed the need to develop new treatments for toxoplasmosis.
"This is not an infection where we have been looking for more effective drugs," she told Infectious Disease News.
On Wall Street, biotech shares fell sharply on Monday after Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton pledged to take action against firms hiking prices for specialty drugs.
"Price gouging like this in the specialty drug market is outrageous," Mrs Clinton said, citing Daraprim.

What are your views on the cost of Daraprim? Email your comments tohaveyoursay@bbc.co.uk.

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