Why we need government funding for basic science

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NutAgain!

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Jan 9, 2018 - 07:37am PT
Solving some societal problems is not compatible with the profit motive:
https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/01/08/576443442/pfizer-halts-research-efforts-into-alzheimers-and-parkinsons-treatments

Why invest in drugs that will only be used for a short time, when they can focus on markets with customers that will use the products for years or decades? And why invest in all that R&D for hard problems when you can just piggyback on pre-existing basic research and do a little bit of R&D for a big payoff?

I wonder what other headlines we'll see in the next 10 years as a result of current NIH and NSF funding reductions that shrink the pool of basic knowledge that big pharma can cherry-pick to make a profit?
moosedrool

climber
Andrzej Citkowicz far away from Poland
Jan 9, 2018 - 08:16am PT
I wonder what other headlines we'll see in the next 10 years as a result of current NIH and NSF funding reductions that shrink the pool of basic knowledge that big pharma can cherry-pick to make a profit?

Headlines

Chinese scientists found the cure for all type of cancer.

German clinics screen for faulty gens and replace them with the correct one. 99.99% defect free babies.

Moose
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jan 9, 2018 - 08:25am PT
If drug patent law lengths were extended Big Pharma would have a greater incentive to do more research. I take it you didnít see the announcement the other day about Pfizer stopping their Alzheimers and Parkinsonís research. The US also needs to adopt some of the European rules for testing. They are able to get drugs to market faster.
WBraun

climber
Jan 9, 2018 - 08:29am PT
Modern science.

First, they'll develop something that poisons everyone and the planet.

Then they'll spend years and years and billions of poor peoples dollars trying figure out a cure for the poisons they originally produced in the name of advancement of humanity.

Most of the time they don't even have clue how they are poisoning everything because they are ultimately clueless to life itself, to begin with.

Around and around these in circles, these fools will go and everyone sits there and drools and believes all that horseshit coming out of that so-called science industry.
clinker

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, California
Jan 9, 2018 - 08:31am PT

Because smart people that produce should get government money to support themselves also.
NutAgain!

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 9, 2018 - 08:53am PT
Werner, there are some grains of truth in what you write.

And yet, we have significantly more years of life, to do with as we please, than in the days before science.

Reilly, interesting idea on patent duration... it is a balance in making the investment worthwhile to the owner vs the societal cost of giving hegemony to a single vendor.

I'm not a fan of reduced testing though. I'm not familiar with FDA processes to know how much is lobbying efforts and b.s. intended to favor big vs. small companies... but I am very concerned about products that are insufficiently tested and we in the world become the extended test subjects.
Lituya

Mountain climber
Jan 9, 2018 - 11:25am PT
German clinics screen for faulty gens and replace them with the correct one. 99.99% defect free babies.

That sounds like something they would do.
WBraun

climber
Jan 9, 2018 - 11:26am PT
in the days before science.

No such thing ever existed.

Science is eternal ......
Matt's

climber
Jan 9, 2018 - 11:28am PT
it would be a shame if you got hepatitis C, werner...
Lituya

Mountain climber
Jan 9, 2018 - 11:31am PT
The cult of science is every bit as dangerous as the cults of philosophy or religion. It's important to understand that science cannot be allowed to completely replace it's predecessors. All three have value (and problems) and should temper each other, IMO.
fear

Ice climber
hartford, ct
Jan 9, 2018 - 11:37am PT
Because the government does things so efficiently.

I think people confuse "the government" with Mom and Dad.

Someone pointing a rifle in your face demanding money is wrong. When you have the "government" do the rifle pointing for you it still is wrong.

The problem is clear, but the difficult solution is not theft.


WBraun

climber
Jan 9, 2018 - 11:39am PT
The cult of science is every bit as dangerous as the cults of philosophy or religion.

100% spot on.

Meanwhile, the brainwashed science zombies and their brainwashed beliefs that they can ultimately solve everything independently are crying alligators ......
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jan 9, 2018 - 11:46am PT
Nut, I have a good friend who is an internationally famous bio-chemist who was head of R&D for a Big Pharma corp.* Heís the classic bearded science nerd who drives an old Volvo and takes his job extremely seriously. He has to keep one eye on the bottom line cause there ainít no free lunch and research is really expensive. He would like nothing more than to come up with life saving drugs and give them away, but heís no crankloon so he has to play the game.

*He got Ďdown-sizedí last year when his corp got bought so now he and two colleagues who got the axe with him have a boutique R&D company going. It takes at least 4 years to get anything to market so he isnít gonna see a cent on his investment for a long time.
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Jan 9, 2018 - 11:46am PT
Generally I am in favor of a certain level of government funding for science, if the American public want it. But like every other government expenditure science funding must come under rigorous review, long overdue, as almost all forms of government debt/deficit spending.

And let us not pretend there are not problems with government support of science. We only hear about the problems associated with the evil greedy role of private business. It's a fact that much general funding of general science by the private sector occurs-- in the form of endowments and other instruments that often contain just as much special interest intent as government spending.

I know this comes as a big surprise to many of you.

Here's an idea: let's just transfer all the money the Guvmint gives to entities like public broadcasting over to general funding for science education. We could get a bunch of freeloaders off the public dole and force them to fairly compete for the media dollar just like everyone else in that business. A huge bonus, in that we will discover for once just how valuable PBS is to the hard-working public that supports it.
Lituya

Mountain climber
Jan 9, 2018 - 12:05pm PT
Neulasta auto-injector anyone? $8300 per dose. Outrageous! right?

But would it even exist without a profit motive? Likely not. And if it didn't then many, including me, probably wouldn't be alive.
moosedrool

climber
Andrzej Citkowicz far away from Poland
Jan 9, 2018 - 01:45pm PT
Big pharma doesnít invest in basic research the way the government does. Basic research canít be profit motivated.

Universities donít do a lot of basic research like they used to.

People often canít understand the ďwasteĒ of money on researching butterflies, for example.

You canít know what will be discovered. Thatís why you need basic research.

Moose
WBraun

climber
Jan 9, 2018 - 01:53pm PT
You canít know what will be discovered.

Yeah you can.

You will one day die (leave your gross physical material body)
and then be reborn in a Moose body drooling.

If that happens you have officially devolved .....
moosedrool

climber
Andrzej Citkowicz far away from Poland
Jan 9, 2018 - 04:07pm PT
Werner, Moose would be OK.

Duck, on the other hand, hmmm.

Hehehe

Moose
phylp

Trad climber
Upland, CA
Jan 9, 2018 - 04:46pm PT
Why invest in drugs that will only be used for a short time, when they can focus on markets with customers that will use the products for years or decades? And why invest in all that R&D for hard problems when you can just piggyback on pre-existing basic research and do a little bit of R&D for a big payoff?

Yes, why? Why would or should any for-profit pharma company ever do anything without a profit motive? There is nothing new or surprising about this.

I was in this world (academic basic research, then for-profit pharma) for about 30 years.

As an observation - We don't really "need" basic research or advances in medicine. People are born and people die. I know this sounds harsh, but I don't mean it that way at all. There are many, many aspects of modern medicine that are great, if you and your loved ones are the ones affected, by things as "simple" as a infection that would have killed you 100 years ago to a stage 4 cancer that is put into remission by immunotherapy. But a case can be made that what the world needs more than keeping more people alive longer is fewer people, less violence, less pollution, less material consumption, etc. At the rate we are going, the planet is going to be killed by people.

Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Jan 9, 2018 - 04:49pm PT
Moose and Werner, come to the wetlands of Canada. Our scientists have your best interests at heart.

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