Provenge pricing and random thoughts
The problem being faced in the situation with CMS is one generated at least in part by the fact of Medicare, a socialist concept if there ever was one. Why should government pay for anyone's medical expenses? Why is it even in the business? If there is a rationale for direct government involvement in paying for healthcare, why not also for the essentials of food and shelter?
Aha, you say,government is involved in both of those essentials. Well, yes, but only in a very minor way: food stamps for those who can't afford the barest essentials; and, of course, the latest economic disaster brought about by government involvement in the housing market.
At one time the Congress initiated catastrophic medical care insurance for the elderly. It was withdrawn when AARP found that its older constituents didn't want to pay for any part of health care. But that insurance should have been the only involvement of government if we were not to be faced with the present dilemma. (And a rationale for government subsidized catastrophic health insurance isn't quite like food stamps, either. Keeping an aging population alive forever with medical advances would eventually bankrupt any government insurance program. Private insurers would go crazy trying to work out the mortality tables.)
There isn't any way Medicare can work without bankrupting the country given free market pricing of medicines like Provenge. Medicare withholding at greater than 1.245% of pay scares politicians to death.
Should just the rich males over 65 be able to afford Provenge? Without Medicare I dare say Provenge would not be priced at $93,000. And Provenge is just the poster child for this problem.
So where do any of these random thoughts lead? Eventually, 80 year old males like me are going to have to have decided at an early age to take care of their own health as intelligently as possible and choose to depart this earth when a certain decisive moment arrives like when the doc and family say its not safe to drive - if that should be the key criterion - and hope that day arrives before PC arrives.
From an investment perspective, at what retail price would Mitch, et al, have decided to develop Provenge, or not, in a free market? Did it require that he see $50 mil before the first sale? What pricing would hinder the development of life-prolonging medications? Only Adam Smith knows. Did he die of PC?