The Instigator
brian_eggleston
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
Ragnar_Rahl
Con (against)
Winning
21 Points

Anti-viral drugs should be used to treat the sick, not protect the posh

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/2/2009 Category: Health
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,397 times Debate No: 8069
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (9)
Votes (5)

 

brian_eggleston

Pro

I propose that private practitioners should be prohibited from providing over-privileged panic-merchants with prophylactic prescriprions that protect posh patients from porcine pandemics.

That's because although drugs like Tamiflu can prevent an individual from contracting swine flu, there aren't enough stocks of this anti-viral medicine to go round and, consequently, paranoid posh people have been purchasing this medicine from private doctors, even though they are not suffering any symptoms of the virus. (1)

This costs them a small fortune but the posh know that if Tamiflu is running out, doctors would rather prescribe the drug to innocent little children rather than bloated tycoons or inbred aristocrats.

You see, as far as the posh are concerned, the poor to can go to hell in a handcart - make no mistake, these over-privileged toffs and snobs don't care how many orphans die so long as they don't contract the virus themselves and have to suffer the inconvenience of a runny nose and a sore throat.

Now, several governments around the world have, quite rightly, prohibited posh people from handing over huge wedges of cash in exchange for a Tamiflu precription and I contend that all governments should adopt this policy forthwith.

Thank you.

(1) http://www.newsweek.com...
Ragnar_Rahl

Con

Let's take a looksy at your sauce.

As it puts things, production of the drugs in question is being "ramped up" by the private companies which create it.

Hmm, why do companies ramp production up?

I dunno, probably because more people are paying for it.

Now, if these companies make more money, you send a market signal that treating diseases like these will lead to profits. This means they create more of the drugs in question, which means, due to economies of scale, those drugs get cheaper soon-- meaning more people will be able to afford them.

Whereas, if you simply hand out the drug regardless of pay, you make it so that production is less likely to occur. That means fewer of those who need it get treated.

Maybe the posh here are being morons, or maybe they produce enough to justify the additional caution. Either way, their actions benefit the poor sufferers of the disease by creating a market for the drug, a market without which the poor would have no one to mooch the drug from. Do you want some of the poor to be treated, or none of them except in the immediate moment, since you're so concerned with them? :)
Debate Round No. 1
brian_eggleston

Pro

Many thanks to R_R for responding to this challenge. It is a pleasure to debate him once again.

Those familiar with my opponent will know that he firmly believes that free market forces should prevail over state intervention wherever possible.

To a an extent, I agree with this philosophical outlook. Here in the UK, for example, living on state handouts has become a way of life for many people (1) and this costs hardworking taxpayers hundreds of billions every year.

That said, when it comes to matters of public health, a civilised country must provide treatment according to need rather than ability to pay. After all, we are not talking about subsidising people to slob about at home scoffing pizzas and supping beer: we are talking about matters of life and death.

That is why the provision of life saving anti-viral drugs cannot be left to the mercy of the open market where the economics of supply and demand will dictate that these medicines go to the highest bidders, not those most in need.

Therefore, it is right that governments step in to block greedy doctors and grasping pharmacists selling anti-viral drugs like Tamiflu on the open market until sufficient supplies have been produced to cover the entire population.

My opponent wrote: "Do you want some of the poor to be treated, or none of them except in the immediate moment (?)"

Of course, in the short term, government control of supply may mean less profits for the pharmaceutical companies and increased anxiety for well-healed worriers, but in the long term it makes good business sense. Thankfully, it would appear that swine flu is not as virulent, and the transmission of the disease not so widespread, as was feared when I started this debate. However, if it does become a pandemic that snuffs out sufferers on a wholesale basis, it will kill many customers of the pharmaceutical companies' other products - which would result in an overall financial loss.

Therefore, for the sake of innocent human beings as well as the long term profits of the pharmaceutical industry, I urge you to vote for life and vote Pro.

Thank you.

(1) http://www.dailymail.co.uk...
Ragnar_Rahl

Con

"
That said, when it comes to matters of public health, a civilised country must provide treatment according to need rather than ability to pay."

Ability to pay is code for-- having produced something of equal or greater value.
Tossing value after need, i.e., high value after low or no value, destroys value.
I dunno what kinda civilization it is you're after where the goal is to destroy value, but...

"After all, we are not talking about subsidising people to slob about at home scoffing pizzas and supping beer: we are talking about matters of life and death.
"
Matters of life and death for those who will continue, if they live, to scoff pizzas and sup beer, no? ^_^.

"
That is why the provision of life saving anti-viral drugs cannot be left to the mercy of the open market where the economics of supply and demand will dictate that these medicines go to the highest bidders, not those most in need.
"
This assumes that the supply is divinely fixed, it is not. As I've noted above, production get's ramped up-- the economics of supply and demand dictate that if you follow them, people will produce as much as you're willing to pay for. Even if you want to pay for it to go to worthless folk for that matter. But only if you permit them to make money doing so. If you remove part of their market, you make it so it will cost even more than it would otherwise for your "give the drugs to the poor and ill" scheme to work. Much as I dislike the goal of distributing things according to need, it is made easier, not harder, due to economies of scale in drugs, if you permit the "posh" to buy drugs on the grounds of caution.

"
Therefore, it is right that governments step in to block greedy doctors and grasping pharmacists selling anti-viral drugs like Tamiflu on the open market until sufficient supplies have been produced to cover the entire population.
"
See above.

"

Of course, in the short term, government control of supply may mean less profits for the pharmaceutical companies and increased anxiety for well-healed worriers, but in the long term it makes good business sense."
You have it backwards. In the long term it means the pharmaceutical companies are crippled, just like insurance companies today with all the government controls they have to deal with. It's only in the IMMEDIATE MOMENT that you will get any raise of supplies to the poor by forbidding them from going to the rich-- and in the long run, it will destroy the capability to produce such drugs unless you pour in massive wasteful subsidies (screwing up something else people "need"), meaning next time the poor get sick they'll be far less likely to be treated.

"However, if it does become a pandemic that snuffs out sufferers on a wholesale basis, it will kill many customers of the pharmaceutical companies' other products"
The poor are customers?
It's the "customers" you're seeking to forbid access to drugs to, Eggleston. :)

Remember folks-- supply isn't fixed, the more people you permit to go after a good like drugs (which has extremely high economies of scale), the more affordable that good becomes.
Debate Round No. 2
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by animea 7 years ago
animea
Aff never addressed negs economics of scale argument. This proves that drugs will be cheaper for the poor over the long run. On this, neg wins.
Posted by brian_eggleston 7 years ago
brian_eggleston
Thanks for taking this one R_R and it is a serious debate, albeit toungue-in-cheek Panda.

RFC...I get plenty of space on the tube by wearing a sombrero and carrying a family-sized box of tissues!
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 7 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
How limited is the shelf life here?
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
Drugs have a limited shelf life, so it makes no sense to keep a drug stockpile untouched. The drugs used from the stockpile could be replaced with fresh ones. Of course, we are talking about government, so "it makes no sense" is not as compelling an argument as it might be.
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 7 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
A stockpile, by the way, is a need in and of itself presumably-- for the purpose of economic analysis now, many "Emeergency" supplies must be discounted to the extent this is not yet the kind of emergency they were prepared for. Thus, it is possible to have stockpiles and a shortage.
Posted by rangersfootballclub 7 years ago
rangersfootballclub
there sure a shell is'nt a shortage anywhere , infact doe'snt the uk have around 400 million packages stockpiled ? correct me if im wrong.

funyn joke aout swine flu lol.

when you are on a crowded bus or plane , pick up the phone and pretend you have been called by soembody , start talkign quite loudly about a recent vacation in mexico you had and what a great time it was. hang up the phone and then sneeze loudly in the middle of this crowded bus :P
Posted by wjmelements 7 years ago
wjmelements
One of these days, I'm going to take an Eggleston debate...
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
The U.S. government has something like 60 million doses of tamiflu stockpiled. It was built up during the Bush Administration as part of a Homeland Security thing. Local drug stores can run out briefly, but there is no overall shortage; it's a distribution problem.
Posted by I-am-a-panda 7 years ago
I-am-a-panda
If this is one of Egglestons "serious" debates, I'll take it.
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