Saturday, August 27, 2016

The EpiPen Scandal Is Worse Than You Think: What You’re Not Being Told

The EpiPen is a useful device for individuals who suffer from severe allergies. So when news broke that Mylan, the sole maker of the autoinjector “pens” in America, had hiked the prices of its products from $57 each in 2007 to $600 for a package of two in 2016, news outlets had a field day.
Promptly after, politicians seized the opportunity to bank on this crisis by promising to “do something.”

Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton urged Mylan to voluntarily slash the prices of its products while promising that, once she’s elected, her plan to address exorbitant drug price hikes like these” will be finally implemented. This is a particularly empty promise considering Mylan has donated between $100,000 and $250,000 to the Clinton Foundation, which was recently revealed to be peddling influence in exchange for cash.

Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) are also pressuring the manufacturer to disclose more about its pricing. Even Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) — whose own daughter, Heather Bresch, serves as Mylan’s CEO — weighed in, claiming he, too, shares his colleagues’ “concerns about the skyrocketing prices of prescription drugs.”

But none of what these politicians are saying rings true to anyone who’s paying attention. Here’s why.

The Monopolistic Origins of the EpiPen

The autoinjector known as the EpiPen provides injections of epinephrine in cases of serious or even life-threatening allergy attacks. It is derived from another product known as the Mark I NAAK ComboPen, a device created for a monopoly: the U.S. military.

The device was designed by Sheldon Kaplan for Survival Technology, Inc., a company with a long history of working with the Pentagon. Once the ComboPen was created, it was sent to the U.S. military to treat soldiers who had been exposed to nerve agents.

In 2007, Mylan “purchased the generic drugs division of Germany’s Merck KGaA for $6.7 billion,” acquiring the EpiPen brand of autoinjectors. Under Merck, the devices cost $7 each, which resulted in just $200 million in gains each year, a mere 5 percent of Merck’s revenue at the time.

But Bresch saw potential in this simple plastic device and focused on how to make the newly purchased brand something that could be widely used. For her dream to come true, she needed the assistance of experts in the monopoly business. That’s when she turned to the U.S. government for help.

The FDA, Washington, and Crony Capitalism Are All to Blame

Though the EpiPen is not covered by patent protection, Bresch’s close relationship with Washington may have helped her company ensure competition wasn’t an issue.

In an article for the Mises Institute, Jonathan Newman writes that “Mylan has been repeatedly protected from competition, and it has repeatedly (and predictably) increased the price of EpiPens in response.”

According to Bloomberg, Mylan has been aggressive in its approach to regulators.

For the past seven years, Bresch has been “[turning] to Washington for help. Along with patient groups, Mylan pushed for federal legislation encouraging states to stock epinephrine devices in schools.”

In 2010, when the FDA launched new federal guidelines related to epinephrine prescriptions, Mylan stopped selling single pens, switching to twin-packs. Bloomberg reports that, at the time, “35 percent of prescriptions were for single EpiPens,” but as the new rules were implemented, Mylan “changed label rules to allow the devices to be marketed to anyone at risk.” While the guidelines targeted persons who had severe allergic reactions only, Bresch saw the rule changes as “big events that we’ve started to capitalize on,” she said in October of 2011.

After a seven-year-old died due to an allergic reaction to peanuts at a Virginia school, Congress passed a law pressuring states to ensure its schools had epinephrine devices on hand at all times. The year this bill passed, Mylan spent over $1 million in lobbying alone. Now, Bloomberg reports, “47 states require or encourage schools to stock the devices.”

As part of the EpiPen popularization plan, Mylan started handing out “free EpiPens to more than 59,000 schools” in 2012. In 2014, the company allegedly spent $35 million on TV ads, and in 2015, Mylan signed a deal with Walt Disney, stocking theme parks and cruise ships with the devices. Between 2012 and 2015, the company also spent over $6 million in lobbying.

Over the past seven years, Bresch’s persistence and power-driven attitude helped the company spread the EpiPen far and wide, causing its use to grow 67 percent in the United States. EpiPen prescriptions are now so common that pediatric allergist Robert Wood from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine says EpiPen is the new “Kleenex.”

But making the EpiPen so popular wasn’t an easy task, mostly because Mylan finally bumped into some competition along the way.

Competition Drives Prices Down — And Mylan Wasn’t Down with That

In 2009, Pfizer Inc., the world’s biggest drugmaker, and Mylan sued Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. over a patent-infringement. At the time, the Israeli company was accused of using Mylan’s design without permission. But in 2012, both parties reached an agreement, and Teva was allowed to seek approval from the FDA for its epinephrine injecting device.

According to Gizmodo, Teva has failed to obtain approval from the FDA to develop affordable generic versions of the EpiPen. The company says it won’t try to go through the same process again until 2017.

The only other device that was closer to competing with Mylan’s EpiPen was Auvi-Q, and it was also driven out of the market. In 2015, the company launched a recall campaign claiming the devices could be delivering faulty dosages.

Epinephrine is extremely cheap,” reported Jonathan Newman. In order to understand why Mylan was able to raise the prices of EpiPen, we mustn’t look at the device or drug. We also cannot blame the markets for this issue. Instead, we must look at how Mylan keeps competition at bay.

In a free market scenario, “[a] firm cannot just willy-nilly raise their prices without a competing firm leaping in to give consumers what they want at a lower price,” Newman explains. But in the real world, “Mylan has a great friend who keeps would-be competitors out of the market, or at least makes it so difficult for them that they eventually go out of business.” Mylan’s friend, in this case, is the FDA — a government agency.

Without the ability to pay corporations any favors, Washington power players would not be passing resolutions and pieces of legislation that benefit Mylan. In order to understand why Mylan’s monopoly over the EpiPen has driven the prices up, we must look at the system at hand.
The current environment favors this influence game played by both government officials and corporate drones, but ultimately, the consumer pays the price for their follies. And that’s why few members of the mainstream media are taking the time to explain this relationship. Mostly because, they too, are involved in this systemic influence scheme.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

98 Facts and Secrets Facebook Knows about YOU

WHO knows the most about you?

You might say it’s your partner or perhaps your mom, assuming you’ve had the sort of tame life a parent would find acceptable.

But you’d be wrong, because tech companies now have more information about you than almost anyone else.

The firm with the largest information stash is likely to be Google, which could theoretically tell an awful lot about your life based on your search history.

Facebook has a staggering amount of info about its users

But coming in at second place has to be Facebook, the social network which holds gazillions of our photos, conversations and innermost thoughts.

Now Mark Zuckerberg’s firm has revealed the 98 “data points” it holds on all users, which can be found in a new website revealing how it targets users with advertising.

“We want the ads people see on Facebook to be interesting, useful and relevant,” a Facebook spokesman said.

“Like many companies, we use widely available information to help show people better ads. However, unlike many of those companies, we provide information that helps explain this practice, and we give people ways to opt out and help control their experience.”

So here are the facts and secrets Facebook has found out about you or is trying to discover, according to the Washington Post.

1.  Your location

2. Age

3. Generation

4. Gender

5. Language

6. Education level

7. Field of study

8. School

9. Ethnic background

10. Income and net worth

11. Home ownership and type of home

12. Value of home

13. Size of your property

14. Square footage of home

15. The year your home was built

16. Who lives in your house

17. Whether you have an anniversary approaching in the next month

18. If you’re living away from family or hometown

19. Whether you’re friends with someone who has an anniversary, is newly married or engaged, recently moved, or has an upcoming birthday

20. If you’re in a long-distance relationship

21. If you’re in a new relationship

22. If you have have a new job

23. If you’re recently engaged

24. If you’ve just got  married

25. If you’ve moved house recently

26. When your birthday is coming up

27. Parents

28. Expectant parents

29. Mothers, divided by ‘type’ (which includes ‘soccer mums’ or other maternal tribes)

30. If you are likely to engage in politics

31. Whether you are conservative or liberal

32. Relationship status

33. Employer

34. Industry

35. Job title

36. Office type

37. Interests

38. Whether you own a motorcycle

39. If you’re planning to buy a car

40. If you have purchased auto parts or accessories recently

41. If you are likely to buy auto parts or services

42. The style and brand of your car

43. The year your car was bought

44. Age of car

45. How much money you’re  likely to spend on next car

46. Where you are  likely to buy next car from

47. How many employees your company has

48. If you own small businesses

49. If you work in management or are executives

50. If you have donated to charity (divided by type)

51. Operating system

52. If you play browser games

53. If you own a gaming console

54. If you have created a Facebook event

55. If you have used Facebook Payments

56. If you have spent more than average on Facebook Payments

57. If you administer a Facebook page

58. If you have recently uploaded photos to Facebook

59. Internet browser

60. Email service

61. Early/late adopters of technology

62. If you are an expat and what country you left

63. If you belong to a credit union, national bank or regional bank

64. If you are an investor

65. Number of credit lines

66. If you are an active credit card users

67. Credit card type

68. If you own a debit card

69. If you carry a balance on your credit card

70. If you listen to the radio

71. What TV shows you like

72. If you use a mobile device and what brand it is

73. Internet connection type

74. If you have  recently bought a smartphone or tablet

75. Whether you access the Internet through a smartphone or tablet

76. If you use coupons

77. The type of clothing your household buys

78. Which time of year you do the most shopping

79. Whether you are a ‘heavy’ buyer of beer, wine or spirits

80. What groceries you buy

81. Whether you buy beauty products

82. Whether you buy medications

83. Whether you buy/spend money on household products

84. Whether you buy/spend money on products for kids or pets, and what kinds of pets

85. If your household makes more purchases than is average

86. If you tend to shop online or offline

87. The types of restaurants user you eat at

88. The kinds of stores you shop at

89. If you’re interest in adverts offering auto insurance, mortgages or satellite tv

90. Length of time user you have lived your house

91. If you are likely to move soon

92. If you are are interested in the Olympics, football or cricket

93. If you travel frequently

94. Whether you commute to work

95. The type of holiday you enjoy

96. If you have recently returned from a holiday

97. If you have used a travel app

98. Whether you are involved in a timeshare

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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Triumph of the Ad-Blockers

About two months ago, I could not access Forbes. I got a message: turn off your ad-blocking software. I didn't. I notice that Forbes has reverted to its three-second delay strategy.

The Telegraph, a British site, tried the same strategy. That lasted about a month.

I know why. Almost no one turned off the ad-blocking feature. It's not clear how to do this. I don't recall. I decided to ignore the problem. There is always some site that offers the same story.

The financial sites, Wall Street Journal and Financial Times still close access. So do the New York Times and the London Times. But revenues keep falling for the two Times's. No one needs either of these two Establishment outlets. Their information is available elsewhere.

This is bad news for journalists. We are told that we are dependent on these people. We are told that the Web is destroying journalism. So far, I have not been aware of this. The attrition is continual, yet I notice no decline in the quantity or quality of information. I notice an improvement. Open access is working.

Maybe the doom-sayers are correct. Maybe, someday, there will be a tipping point. The flow of high quality information will decline exponentially. But if it does, there will be profit-seeking sellers of such information.

We are seeing how the mainstream media are dealing with Trump and Clinton. It's kid gloves for the stumbling lady.

The pro-Trump people are seeing just how biased the industry is. For millions of Americans, the reality of media bias is now hitting home. They will not forget or forgive. Mainstream journalism is losing legitimacy. This is good. The less legitimacy these vultures have, the better.

I like the phrase "presstitutes." This well describes the industry as a whole. It is a self-policing, self-screening cartel of liberals and fellow travelers. All cartels break down in the face of price competition. This is what is happening to the cartel of journalism.

The inability of a handful of online publishers to deal with ad-blockers is a reminder: they have no functioning business model. They try one thing after another, but nothing works.

The "business model" of Progressivism is no longer working. The failure of the global warming campaign is obvious. The warmers are unable to get meaningful international controls. This has been their biggest campaign for 25 years. It has failed.

Progressivism is a cartel. It is breaking down. It wins only by default. Its political leaders no longer inspire confidence. Yet the whole movement has been a massive confidence game for over a century: faith in bureaucracy. That faith is waning. So are new revenue sources to support the existing programs, which are all running deficits.

They promised a new world order. It's the same old order: power grabbing and tax grabbing.

Hillary Clinton does not inspire confidence. Yet politics is a confidence game.

When confidence in the Federal Reserve fails, the Progressives' game will be over.

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Friday, July 15, 2016

Guns and Homicides: NOT A WHITE PROBLEM

The statistics in the chart below are representative of every Democrat controlled urban shithole city in America. Obama and his anti-gun activist minions are peddling a false narrative about guns because they understand most Americans are dumber than a sack of hammers and easily manipulated by propaganda. Obama uses every high profile shooting to blame guns, in order to deflect people from seeing the truth. And the truth is guns are not a problem in white America.

It’s only a problem in the urban ghettos with the toughest gun laws run by Democrat mayors and city councils. Chicago is a perfect example of Obama ignoring the real problem. Fifty years of welfare programs and treating black people like victims has created a dysfunctional system leading to hopelessness, crime, and perpetual poverty. Chicago is 32% white, but they commit only 3.5% of the murders. Over 96% of the murders are committed by non-whites. Essentially, it is young black men murdering other black men. White people are not in the equation and are not part of the problem. It’s a black problem framed as a gun problem by Obama and his lying apparatchiks.


There are approximately 8,000 gun related homicides annually in the U.S. The vast majority occur in the urban ghettos and are committed by blacks and hispanics against other blacks and hispanics. They use illegally acquired guns, so more gun laws will do nothing. Their lawless culture, requiring no personal responsibility by those who father children, creates the dysfunction and crime. The urban ghetto kill zones all have the same thing in common – run by liberal Democrats for decades, with poverty created by their welfare policies, dreadful public schools, and a black population who don’t work and take no personal responsibility for their lives or their children.
Here are the murders by city for a sampling of these shitholes:
  • Los Angeles – 587
  • Chicago – 508
  • NYC – 333
  • Detroit – 316
  • Phila – 248
  • Baltimore – 233
  • New Orleans – 150
  • Indianapolis – 129
  • Memphis – 124
  • St. Louis – 120
  • Newark -112
  • Milwaukee – 104
  • Washington DC – 103
There are dozens of other shitholes like Camden, Kansas City, Atlanta, Oakland, Pittsburgh, and Miami with extremely high murder rates, and in every case more than 90% are committed by non-whites. Why don’t you hear Obama giving speeches about black communities policing themselves and taking responsibility for the crime, drugs and murder in their neighborhoods? He has no problem with proclamations about white people clinging to their guns in middle America where there are virtually no murders.

The entire gun narrative peddled by liberals is false. The crime rate has been falling for 25 years. There were 24,703 murders in 1991 when the population was 253 million. Murders in 2014 totaled 14,249 with a population of 317 million. The willfully ignorant American public completely buys the falsehoods presented by Obama and believes murders and crime are skyrocketing.

Today, the national crime rate is about half of what it was at its height in 1991. Violent crime has fallen by 51 percent since 1991, and property crime by 43 percent. In 2013 the violent crime rate was the lowest since 1970. And this holds true for unreported crimes as well. According to the National Crime Victimization Survey, since 1993 the rate of violent crime has declined from 79.8 to 23.2 victimizations per 1,000 people.

So, with homicides at a 25 year low and completely confined to the urban ghettos where young black men kill other young black men, we need new gun laws to restrict what white people can own? It makes you wonder. Why has the government militarized local police forces across the country in white communities when crime and murder is virtually non-existent in those communities? Why is Obama and his liberal nazi hordes trying to ban any gun capable of providing defense against a tyrannical government? Why has this become a war on whites when it is solely a black problem? It’s almost as if the government is treating working class whites with guns as the enemy. I wonder.

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