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MENLO PARK, Calif. — The anarchist grew animated as he explained his plan to subvert a pillar of global capitalism by teaching the poor to make their own medicines — pharmaceutical industry patents be damned.

Then he took another sip from a flute of Taittinger Champagne.

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  • What’s needed from Laufer is action, not words. Until he designs, builds, tests, licenses, and distributes his alternative meds or devices, he’s just selling snake oil. Does he want to be taken seriously? Actions are needed, not words. Get your product approved by FDA/EMA. Until then you’re a boutique drug pusher and a danger to public health.

    • FDA should be abolished. They are the reason we have problems with drug prices. They are the reason for all problems with drugs, them and the DEA. Regulations of laws and rules are the problem. People make their own spaghetti sauce, why can’t they make their own life saving epinephrine injection?

  • Who cares if Laufer eats scallops and drinks champagne or if he eats burnt bread ends and swills his own urine? Judge him on the merit of his ideas. Are you trying to imply that only those living in privation can find solutions to complex problems?? I need to do more research to decide where I stand on offering “home brew” kits for pharmaceutical production but trying to smear a man based on his (i) culinary habits and (ii) the contents of his desk is just putting up a series of distractions and detours to divert readers from is just lazy.

    • No. Naturopathy kills people. Medicine saves them. Appeals to nature are pointless here because nature does not exist to serve us, and something being “natural” means nothing relative to its safety or effectiveness. Arsenic is natural. Urushiol is natural. Lots of things that are completely natural will straight up kill you.

    • Medicine kills people also, 5mx32f. Hospital-generated infections and doctor & staff negligence, kill as many as 440,000 people a year. Your ‘reply’ sounds like sarcasm, in part. Pot is natural too, but so many are checking it out, and psychosis is rising with it’s use. Interestingly, one of premises of Naturophathy is using items that cause symptoms in the healthy, to cure those sick with the symptoms; use of pot to address people with PTSD is proposed. Medicine came From Nature, didn’t just spring from someone’s head fully formed, and is still evolving. Don’t just spew anti-alternative statements with out knowing more facts.

  • “That means the logical person to use a Four Thieves plan would be a cash-poor, uninsured patient who desperately needs an expensive drug — and who is also a sophisticated and supremely competent tinkerer. Needless to say, that’s a small market.” You’re greatly overestimating the value of an undergraduate degree in chemistry.

    Also underestimating the impact this could have in a community setting. Not everyone needs to run a lab of their own for this to be useful.

  • I did the same thing when my dog needed Mal-O-Tic for ear mites/irritation. I checked the ingredients and they are all available over the counter. Cortizone cream, antibiotic cream & cream for foot fungus. I figured out how much of each are in the prescribed medication and mixed the proper amounts together. Worked like a charm and I didn’t have to pay for an office visit for the Vet.

  • “…market forces that let drug companies price vital remedies out of reach for many patients.” If the drug market was a truly free market, market forces would only drive down prices. Regulations, testing requirements, etc. drive the price up, and are all government interventions, not market forces.

    • Nonsense. All those costs you mention are one-time things. In a well functioning competitive market, price is driven to the marginal cost. So the cost of most drugs should decrease to near the cost of manufacture.

      Of course, that’s not what happens. The culprit is intellectual property law. Patents grant a monopoly that allow the manufacturer to charge whatever they want, for (in theory) a limited time.

    • …and the third -party payer clinches the deal.. enabling all sorts of rent seeking entities to flourish.
      We need pocket sensitivity, consumer driven healthcare.
      Insurance works as long as the premiums are paid by consumers, in subsidized.

    • Prices *do* fall – once patents expire. Drug companies need to amortize the cost of producing a drug and getting it approved. IP law is exactly what allows them to do that, and without it no company has an incentive to bring a new drug to market.

    • Nonsense. Free markets are an impossibility, a mathematical model that cannot exist in the real world, which runs contrary to human nature. A true free market is more than this meaningless “no-government” buzz word you’ve attached to your identity. It has terms and conditions, like no externality costs, no barriers to the flow of capital, no cooperation in production, no public/free goods, and so on. Even the “law” of supply and demand has not been proven to apply to the real market.

      The only rational choice is to acknowledge the fundamentally cooperative nature of all human economic activity, drop the delusion that money can possibly account for the true distribution of costs and benefits, and work to build a system that functions according to scientific principles instead of gambling disguised as science.

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