Thursday, September 22, 2016

EpiPen outrage continues

To the Editor:
    The author lazily conflates market exclusivity granted by patent (as per the U.S. constitution) with barriers to market competition erected after the patent's expiration. Neither Shkreli's Turing Pharaceuticals (in the earlierDaraprim episode) nor Bresch's Mylan (in the EpiPen episode) had done the R&D on the product. Each was gouging the public on a drug that had long been in the public domain, but which enjoyed post-patent barriers to market competition.
    The U.S. patent system is a clever Enlightenment-age invention that lets the market reward innovation and disclosure, enabling competitors to duplicate a new product or process and drive the price to the fair level--after a period of protected exclusivity. Although current U.S. IP law does not work in some sectors (e.g. software) it continues to underpin investment and innovation is other sectors of the  U.S. economy (e.g. drug research). It has no part in the price gouging of Shkreli and Bresch.
Barry Haskell Levine

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

playing at history

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: barry levine <>
Date: Wed, Sep 7, 2016 at 8:03 AM
Subject: re: Obama, Acknowledging U.S. Misdeeds Abroad, Quietly Reframes American Power
To: "" <>

To the Editor:
    triumphalism warps our teaching texts
real history includes what we've done wrong
the causes get divorced from the effects
mere lyrics in a silly children's song
internment camps must never be forgot
what in good conscience no law could allow
how farmers had to leave their crops to rot
and sweat the war-years out in the hoosgow
if we're the sov'reigns here, we need to read
the sins our fathers wrought, not just the good
ideals they didn't manifest in deed
although they knew what it was that they should
the whitewashed version helps kids sleep at night
but doesn't educate them to what's right

Barry Haskell Levine