Washington is going nuts

Washington is going nuts under the leadership of Donald Trump!

These people are spending money like drunken sailors — and I was one, so I know what one is.

One example is those people from the White House at the bar in Mar Largo helping themselves to a reported $1,000 in liquor. Another is spending trillions of dollars at the border with Mexico.

The cause of this problem is jobs drawing those people to our country. Another is overpopulation in those poor countries.

The solution is birth control pills for those people or abortions where needed. Putting those businesses out of business that are hiring these migrants. Cheap labor is not the answer to success but greed.

The readers of The Monitor need facts, which only the newspaper can do. We were bombarded almost daily about the fuss over money for the wall. Now that it was taken care of wrongly, we need to know where the wall is being built with all those billions of dollars.

I bet that no building is going on except for the gates. Prove me wrong, please.

Bill Williams, Palmview


Don’t weaken drug patents

John Cornyn recently said he fears drug companies may be “gaming” America’s patent system. According to Texas’ senior U.S. senator, some firms are making insignificant tweaks to drug formulas and then filing new patents on the upgraded medicines. Firms allegedly use these patents to prevent competing treatments from entering the market.

Sen. Cornyn cited recent increases in the price of insulin as proof of this alleged gaming. And he urged his colleagues to consider changing patent laws to prevent such abuse.

His efforts to reduce patients’ pharmacy bills are laudable. But America’s patent system isn’t driving up the price of drugs. In fact, patents are the reason those medications exist in the first place.

As Sen. Cornyn noted, the sticker price of insulin has soared as much as 585 percent in recent years. The rising prices have made it difficult for some of the 2.8 million Texans with diabetes to afford their prescriptions.

Patent gaming can’t explain such price increases. The insulin market is quite competitive. There are more than a dozen brand-name insulins on the market.

Drug company “greed” isn’t to blame, either. The net price of insulin — the amount that drug companies receive after giving discounts to insurance plans — has actually flatlined in recent years, even though sticker prices have increased.

In other words, rolling back patent protections wouldn’t make drugs more affordable. But it would hurt patients.

Developing a new drug is difficult and expensive. The average medicine costs roughly $2.6 billion to bring to market. The development process often takes a decade or more. And most drugs that begin clinical trials never make it to market.

Patents ensure that scientists and investors are rewarded for undertaking these risky research projects. Patents temporarily prevent competing firms from copying a rival’s new drug. This allows the company that invented the new medicine to recoup at least some of its development costs before copycat generics enter the market.

Weakening the patent system — even in a good-faith effort to crack down on alleged gaming — would undermine the economic incentives that make drug development possible. Drug developers would struggle to attract investment for new research if investors feared the government might gut patents on suspicion. The pace of medical innovation would slow down dramatically.

Patients across the country would suffer. Diabetes patients in particular would lose hope for a cure. Drug companies are currently working on more than 170 experimental diabetes treatments. That research wouldn’t be possible without a strong, reliable patent system.

Sen. Cornyn’s concerns about patients’ rising drug bills are justified. But tampering with patent laws isn’t the right way to relieve patients.

James Edwards, Alton, Illinois
Patent policy adviser, Eagle Forum Education & Legal Defense Fund
Executive director, Conservatives for Property Rights

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