From Pine View Farm

Sugar Highs 0

The world’s leading supplier of the anti-diabetes drug insulin is withdrawing a state-of-the-art medication from Greece.

Novo Nordisk, a Danish company, objects to a government decree ordering a 25% price cut in all medicines.

A campaign group has condemned the move as “brutal capitalist blackmail”.

More than 50,000 Greeks with diabetes use Novo Nordisk’s product, which is injected via an easy-to-use fountain pen-like device.

I cannot see any virtue with forcing a company to sell something below cost, just as I can’t see any virtue in a company’s jacking up a price of life-saving medicines to astronaut levels just because it can.

My friend is diabetic and takes two types of insulin using insulin pens: long-term slow release, twice a day and short-term quick acting, after meals and for unexpected highs. (These are from Lilly, not from Novo-Nordisk.)

A five-pack of refills for each retails for about 250 USD at her drug store. Each five pack lasts her about five weeks (individual consumption varies with individual needs.) That’s about 5,000 USD a year, before insurance.

50,000 Greeks times 5,000 USD equals about 250,000,000 USD.

Maybe Goldman Sachs can help Greece figure this out, just as they helped Greece into this mess.

Heck, maybe Goldman Sachs should just pay for the damned insulin. Sort of a penance, as it were.

They can afford it.

In April (2009–ed.), Goldman said it would set aside half of its £1.2bn first-quarter profit to reward staff, much of it in bonuses. It is believed to have paid 973 bankers $1m or more last year, while this year’s payouts are on track to be the highest for most of the bank’s 28,000 staff, including about 5,400 in London.


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