Daily Review 06/10/2015

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 pm, October 6th, 2015 - 34 comments
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natives discovered columbus

Daily review is also your post.

This provides Standardistas the opportunity to review events of the day.

The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the Policy).

Don’t forget to be kind to each other.

34 comments on “Daily Review 06/10/2015 ”

  1. NZJester 1

    Small class sizes a key factor in charter school success – report
    5:50 PM Tuesday Oct 6, 2015

    Smaller class sizes because of better funding leads to better education results for student?
    My god how dare those terrible public schools increase their class sizes and under fund themselves then.

    Oh sorry my mistake it was the government that did that not the schools!

    How much better do you think the results would have been for a public school if it got the same amount of money per student as money given to an average charter school considering that large portions of that money would not need to go as profit in to the schools owners pockets?

  2. joe90 2

    Rust never sleeps.

    The TPP Will Finish What Chile’s Dictatorship Started

    Salvador Allende warned against neoliberalism’s disastrous effects just before he was overthrown. He was right to be worried.


    But Allende offered a pretty good definition back in 1972, in a speech to the United Nations given less than a year before his overthrow and death. He said: “We are faced by a direct confrontation between the large transnational corporations and the states. The corporations are interfering in the fundamental political, economic and military decisions of the states. The corporations are global organizations that do not depend on any state and whose activities are not controlled by, nor are they accountable to any parliament or any other institution representative of the collective interest. In short, all the world political structure is being undermined.”


    • joe90 2.1

      Talley’s come to mind.

      19. Labour

      All TPP Parties are International Labour Organization (ILO) members and recognize the importance of promoting internationally recognized labour rights. TPP Parties agree to adopt and maintain in their laws and practices the fundamental labour rights as recognized in the ILO 1998 Declaration, namely freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining; elimination of forced labour; abolition of child labour and a prohibition on the worst forms of child labour; and elimination of discrimination in employment.


    • Bill 2.2

      It’s a protection racket is all.

      I [insert corporation and activity of choice] insist on investing in or carrying out activity x, y or z.

      If you [democratically elected governing body] want to prevent me, then you can come along to this international ‘back-room’ court here, where ‘the boys’ and me – we’ll sit down and decide the compensation/protection money due.

      It never was a trade deal.

      As an ‘aside’, the 5 or 7 year (or whatever) limitation that Australia wrested on patents…perhaps not what I thought it was. (surprise, surprise)

      According to ‘Doctors Without Borders’ (Médecins Sans Frontières)…

      …the TPP would lower the standard for patentability of medicines. It would force TPP governments to grant pharmaceutical companies additional patents for changes to existing medicines, even when the changes provide no therapeutic benefit to patients. These provisions would facilitate “evergreening” …

      … the TPP involves so-called “data exclusivity” for biologics,…Data exclusivity blocks competing firms from using previously generated clinical trial data to gain approval for generic versions of these drugs and vaccines.


      • vto 2.2.1

        What about the people that will die because of that?

      • northshoredoc 2.2.2

        For the umpteenth time…..

        Data exclusivity in relation to pharmaceuticals is all about generics ability to rely on the clinical and hefty data or an originator to register their medication with a regulatory body such as Medsafe in NZ or the FDA in the USA.

        This data exclusivity period, 5 years in NZ at present, is almost always far shorter than the patent life of the pharmaceutical in question except in the case of of medicine which has never sought a patent in the country in question.

        • joe90

          Stiglitz seems to be saying they’ll quietly tilt the paddock to suit.

          The TPP would manage trade in pharmaceuticals through a variety of seemingly arcane rule changes on issues such as “patent linkage,” “data exclusivity,” and “biologics.” The upshot is that pharmaceutical companies would effectively be allowed to extend – sometimes almost indefinitely – their monopolies on patented medicines, keep cheaper generics off the market, and block “biosimilar” competitors from introducing new medicines for years. That is how the TPP will manage trade for the pharmaceutical industry if the US gets its way.


          • vto

            But what about the people that will die because of that?

            Surely the most appropriate structure is the reverse of that i.e. nothing can be patented so that all of human ingenuity is able to be instantly fed back into all of human ingenuity.

            Putting in place a structure to make medicine expensive just doesn’t make sense in a sector that is about saving lives.

            Unless it is not about saving lives

            • northshoredoc

              “Surely the most appropriate structure is the reverse of that i.e. nothing can be patented so that all of human ingenuity is able to be instantly fed back into all of human ingenuity.”

              Well probably the best example of that would be India which among countries which produce pharmaceuticals has the most relaxed patent laws – not surprisingly they produce few to no new pharmaceuticals compounds compared to those countries where there is stronger patent protections.

              • vto

                That doesn’t follow though doc….

                It might on the face of it be a convenient reason that jumps out after little consideration….

                But nope it doesn’t follow. Unless the cart pushed the horse, for example,,,

                • northshoredoc

                  It may not follow for you but it must for those producing the medications and other products as there’s many a trademark and patent that has been issued over the last hundred years to those applying for them must see value in them to both protect their invention and produce income.

                  • vto

                    Yes doc, but my point was around the people that will die because of medical patents, not around income for inventors of medical patents.

                    For your point (that patents, and the associated money, lead to more medical advances) to be tested, all patents would need to be canned to see whether the rate of medical advance slows across humanity. By having a mix between, say, the US with massive patent protection and India with little patent protection, it is not possible to assess whether patents work in the way you think, because India will simply copy. Wont it.

                    Here is another one for you – which country saves the most lives (to put it crudely) with their medicines? The US with its expensive ones? Or India with its cheap copies? It is a simple numbers question – do you know?

                    • northshoredoc

                      VTO the medicines available and produced in India are with only a very very small exception all inventions from outside of India.

                      I do not know the answer to your question which is somewhat meaningless however i can tell you that in both countries the access to quality healthcare is somewhat dependent on your income and sadly this is probably less so the case in the USA than India.

                      Unlike both those countries we have a quality public health system available to all.

                    • vto

                      I wouldn’t have thought a question to find out how many unnecessary deaths result from expensive medicines due to patents is meaningless at all…

                      Another way your favoured patents work against the complete bulk of humanity is that the advances that are discovered by patent-keepers will mostly only ever get to the rich. So yep, the rich keep getting new medical advances prolonging healthier lives, but the rest of humanity get nothing, zip, nada, ever. It always is only the rich that benefit from medical patents…

                      …perhaps no surprise that it is the world’s richest country that promotes medical patents so ferociously

                    • northshoredoc


                      “Another way your favoured patents work against the complete bulk of humanity is that the advances that are discovered by patent-keepers will mostly only ever get to the rich. So yep, the rich keep getting new medical advances prolonging healthier lives, but the rest of humanity get nothing, zip, nada, ever. It always is only the rich that benefit from medical patents…”

                      ..and yet we have the patent system in place in most countries around the world and taking NZ as an example where we have a 20 year patent term from the discovery of the new molecule most of our medicines are from generic suppliers.. has the penny dropped ?

                    • vto

                      ships in the night mate

        • miravox

          I don’t know about you northshoredoc, even if the TPPA is business as usual for Pharmac, I was hoping to have better access to biologics in this deal. After all, it is a deal that is supposed to be about improving access to goods and services as well as selling stuff.

          I am aware that since I left NZ a few years ago biologics have become more available but due to cost there are still not enough of them and the criteria that has to be met is literally crippling for some people. Believe me, I know.

          I also know that when a biologic I’m on invariably stops doing the job I can easily get another biologic that works again, rather adding various combinations of DMARDs. I doubt that NZ-based patients have similar access. I also doubt that these combinations of drugs meet international best practice.

          Apart from the non-existent improvement in access to biologics in the TPPA the extra administrative costs also worry me. If the costs have to be absorbed by Pharmac and the cost to patients not increased, the only option I see is making the criteria for access even more onerous. Otherwise some other health sector will have funding curtailed. It may only be a ‘rounding error’ but a few million still needs to be found somewhere.

          I also get the impression that the 5 years is of data exclusivity is not set in stone. I guess in 90 days we’ll find out.

          Anyway, off for my morning jog (another half marathon coming up in the Spring) – sure beats losing my job because I couldn’t hold a pen and having to sell my home because I couldn’t walk up the hill to it – would be good if I knew I could come home and do the same because biologics would become cheaper and more accessible due to freeing up of patents in the TPPA.

          • northshoredoc

            I certainly sympathise with you in relation to your RA.

            NZ has three biologics currently available for RA under authority criteria which I believe is broadly similar to the access criteria in Aus and the UK, Etanercept, Adalimumab and Infliximab.

            PHARMAC have chosen not to list the newer agents such as ustekinumab at this team due to the pricing, as I’m pretty certain these medicines will have a long patent in the country where your currently accessing them and NZ I’m not sure how the TPPA would have been expected to effect their availability in NZ which is primarily down to PHARMAC looking at their cost vs the three we currently have available.

            • miravox

              Thanks for your reply

              So NZ access hasn’t changed much since I’ve been away, with 3 biologics and the same clinical criteria to meet (according to the Pharmac website). Aus has 8 biologics and criteria that is based on worsening disease. NZ has detailed clinical criteria that must be met or worked around. The differences, imo, are quite large. UK has a access more in-line with Australia than NZ.

              “…down to PHARMAC looking at their cost vs the three we currently have available.”

              Yes. And a ‘free trade’ agreement should be able to bring about lower costs. This has not and will not happen with the TPP. Instead people are arguing about whether the current inadequate access will remain, and are ‘relaxed’ that this may have been secured. It seems too much to actually want a deal that might improve access to a level that meets, say, the ACR/EULAR recommendations for implementing biologics. Business as usual is not a great result imo.

              Moreover, the extra costs on Pharmac as a result of the TPP agreement are passed off as mere irritants. I’ll be watching with interest to see what the government plan for meeting these costs is. If it is a tightening of criteria, that will be disastrous for some people and frustrating for specialists who already working within too tight criteria.

              I’m sure you agree that the cost of biologics and other similar meds are so high that it’s incredibly important to lower them, not only for the patients who might benefit directly, but also to ensure the costs don’t put pressure on other areas of the health budget (not to mention a reduction in the need for benefits due to illness).

              • northshoredoc

                A few things, a free trade agreement is not likely to bring about a lowering of costs for these products before there are very cheap generics of these compounds actually available.

                The cheapest of these in NZ is now infliximab which is now around $NZ350 per infusion after rebate – the cheapest price in the world I believe significantly lower even than those countries where there is generic competition. The barrier to entry for the extra 5 that are available in Aus will be that if they have been assessed by PHARMAC they will have had little to no superiority to the products currently available and will be significantly more expensive – as I’m sure you know that’s the way PHARMAC works.

                The extra costs to PHARMAC under the TPP are a nothing. Your comment regarding business was usual for access to biologics has more to do with PHARMACs operating policies and procedures and the way they manage their budget than any trade agreement and will continue to do so.

                • miravox

                  “a free trade agreement is not likely to bring about a lowering of costs for these products before there are very cheap generics of these compounds actually available.”

                  This is a bit of a chicken and egg argument I think. Imo, a free trade agreement could bring about cheaper generics, but the TPP is not that.

                  I do understand, and appreciate, how PHARMAC can negotiate for cheaper prices. I won’t go into the ins and outs ‘no superiority’ decisions, except to say the biologic I’m on (not available in NZ) is because another (available in NZ) produced unacceptable side effects. Therefore I’d happier if there is a greater range available in NZ.

                  “PHARMACs operating policies and procedures” are developed in the context of price and availability. Two things freeing up of trade should address, I would have thought. I agree the TPP is not a vehicle for that in terms of pharmaceuticals.

                  • northshoredoc

                    “This is a bit of a chicken and egg argument I think. Imo, a free trade agreement could bring about cheaper generics, but the TPP is not that.”

                    I’m not sure how you think that would work, unless you are advocating a removal of patents for medicines in NZ – and even then none of the currently available biologics for RA have generic versions available excepting infliximab and as I mentioned the originator infliximab in NZ is funded at a lower price than the generic is anywhere in the world.

                    The other biologics are likely to be registered in NZ just not funded by PHARMAC, the TPP will have no effect on the ability of anyone to register their medicines here in relation to pricing again the TPP does not stop any supplier negotiating with PHARMAC for funding the supply of their medicine – the biggest hurdle will be for them to try to supply their medicine at a price acceptable to PHARMAC.

                    • miravox

                      “I’m not sure how you think that would work”

                      I don’t have an opinion on how it would/wouldn’t work, but I understand the question of whether patents improve innovation and supply is currently being questioned. The patent question is however, what the biologic protection in the TPP is all about.

                      And now I’m back to where I started – I don’t think a positive spin on retaining the same, or slightly lower, inadequate access to biologics in a ‘free trade’ agreement is justified. It’s depressing that Pharmac must work within the parameters it does. These drugs are life-changing not just some nice to have alternative to DMARDs. At least the Pharmac model can be seen to improve competitive pricing between suppliers, I suppose, unlike the TPP.

                      Again, I’ll be very interested to see how the ’rounding error’ in terms of increased costs will play out, given that the benefits of the deal come after the costs are incurred. This is curiosity, not judgement statement. For obvious reasons I do (hopefully unnecessarily) worry that access to biologics might be tightened more than it is now through tweaking clinical criteria that is already set too high, imo. It may not be much money in terms of the health system, but is something to think about if Pharmac funding is not increased to cover these extra TPP costs.

                      I’m certainly not disagreeing with what you say about patents, I just think maintaining the status quo at best is not something to cheer about. As for registered, but unfunded drugs… best not go there in terms of whether some people might gain access to them and not others, and what that means for equitable treatment in a public health system. I see a slippery slope argument coming on… 😉

          • Ad

            That is a really tough and highly personal story to share Miravox – great courage shown there, and a cold dose of reality to the trade theories ricocheting around.

            Good on you.

            • miravox

              Thanks Ad

              I guess not many people understand what these drugs can to for people who have chronic autoimmune diseases (or even what diseases mean).

              What drives me is that I’m incredibly lucky in how my treatment path has gone. I know people out there who have terrible disease with poor outcomes in all areas of their lives because their disease is not under control. The pressures on them and their families is immense.

              And yes, well noted – this is not just an theoretical argument for them. We tend to lose sight of that sometimes.

  3. vto 3

    Great photo at top of Daily Review..

    Reminds me of the person who, on the 200th anniversary of the English annexation of Australia, stuck an aboriginal flag in English soil and claimed it for the aboriginal nation.

    There but for the number of guns eh ….

    The only determinative….

    The number of guns …..


    • Bearded Git 3.1

      I was there for that 200th anniversary in Oz-there were a group of aborigines walking down George Street with a big sign saying ‘if you feel like this after 200 years imagine how you would feel after 40,000″.

  4. Just been listening to John Campbell out at Wairoa talking to the Affco workers. Great stuff, well worth a listen:


  5. Draco T Bastard 5

    How Coca-Cola tricked you into drinking so much of it

    You may think you have come to like soft drinks all on your own. But that desire is the product of decades worth of focused and often troubling efforts on behalf of the soft drink industry.

    This is, in so many words, one of the takeaways from a new book about how the industry has paid, lobbied and hypnotised its way into the hearts of people around the world. The book, called “Soda Politics,” is written by esteemed New York University professor and long-time food industry activist Marion Nestle. And it will leave a sour taste in anyone’s mouth.

    As I say, Advertising is psychopathic and needs to be banned.

  6. Draco T Bastard 6

    and this one:

    Still, what this amounts to is a non-trivial penalty for a company using dark UX patterns to trick users into doing things they don’t really want to do. As Dark Patterns, an excellent resource on these kinds of tactics, explains, this sort of bad design is purposeful. “They are not mistakes, they are carefully crafted with a solid understanding of human psychology, and they do not have the user’s interests in mind.”

    As social networks and other online products increasingly try to grow their users bases, it’s important to hold them accountable for their bad design, especially when that bad design is on purpose. Hopefully, this will serve as a warning to other companies who use shady tactics and dark UX patterns to artificially grow their products.

    Hell, we may as well admit it – the state of capitalist business itself is psychopathic.

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