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The global market for cancer drugs has hit $100 billion in annual sales, and could reach $147 billion by 2018, according to a new report by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, a unit of drug data provider IMS Health.

This figure does not include discounts or rebates paid to insurers and government programs; IMS says that in the case of cancer drugs, this should not make a big difference the overall figure.

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WASHINGTON — Facing resistance from Pacific trading partners, the Obama administration is no longer demanding protection for pharmaceutical prices under the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, according to a newly leaked section of the proposed trade accord.

But American negotiators are still pressing participating governments to open the process that sets reimbursement rates for drugs and medical devices. Public health professionals, generic-drug makers and activists opposed to the trade deal, which is still being negotiated, contend that it will empower big pharmaceutical firms to command higher reimbursement rates in the United States and abroad, at the expense of consumers.

“It was very clear to everyone except the U.S. that the initial proposal wasn’t about transparency. It was about getting market access for the pharmaceutical industry by giving them greater access to and influence over decision-making processes around pricing and reimbursement,” said Deborah Gleeson, a lecturer at the School of Psychology and Public Health at La Trobe University in Australia. And even though the section, known as the transparency annex, has been toned down, she said, “I think it’s a shame that the annex is still being considered at all for the T.P.P.”

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Giant International Trade Treaties Center on Science

The proposed deals have the potential to boost research but could also weaken health and environmental protections

By Daniel Cressey and Nature magazine | May 28, 2015

Two treaties that would govern most of the world’s trade—and change how nations across the globe use scientific evidence to craft regulations—inched closer to fruition this week. On May 22, the US Senate approved legislation that could speed up approval of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

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Cash-strapped Greece has racked up mounting debts with international drugmakers and now owes the industry more than 1.1 billion euros ($1.2 billion), a leading industry official said on Wednesday.

The rising unpaid bill reflects the growing struggle by the nearly bankrupt country to muster cash, and creates a dilemma for companies under moral pressure not to cut off supplies of life-saving medicines.

Richard Bergstrom, director general of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, told Reuters his members had not been paid by Greece since December 2014. They are owed money by both hospitals and state-run health insurer EOPYY.


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The Shadow Superpower

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ForeignPolicy.com
BY ROBERT NEUWIRTH
OCTOBER 28, 2011

Forget China: the $10 trillion global black market is the world's fastest growing economy -- and its future.


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With only a mobile phone and a promise of money from his uncle, David Obi did something the Nigerian government has been trying to do for decades: He figured out how to bring electricity to the masses in Africa's most populous country.

It wasn't a matter of technology. David is not an inventor or an engineer, and his insights into his country's electrical problems had nothing to do with fancy photovoltaics or turbines to harness the harmattan or any other alternative sources of energy. Instead, 7,000 miles from home, using a language he could hardly speak, he did what traders have always done: made a deal. He contracted with a Chinese firm near Guangzhou to produce small diesel-powered generators under his uncle's brand name, Aakoo, and shipped them home to Nigeria, where power is often scarce. David's deal, struck four years ago, was not massive -- but it made a solid profit and put him on a strong footing for success as a transnational merchant. Like almost all the transactions between Nigerian traders and Chinese manufacturers, it was also sub rosa: under the radar, outside of the view or control of government, part of the unheralded alternative economic universe of System D.

You probably have never heard of System D. Neither had I until I started visiting street markets and unlicensed bazaars around the globe.

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Natural News
June 09, 2010
by: David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) Sales of alternative medical products are on the rise in spite of -- and perhaps in part because of -- tough economic times.

According to a study reported in The Daily Mail, the British alternative medicines market has grown by 18 percent in the past two years, to a yearly value of £213 million ($333 million). This value is expected to rise to £282million, or another 33 percent, in the next four years. This increase has been seen across the board, even in less well-known treatments such as traditional Indian ayurvedic medicine.

In the United States, retail sales of vitamins and supplements totaled almost $639 million between October and December 2009, a nearly 10 percent increase from the same period in 2007. Sales of herbal supplements have increased 6 percent. The true scale might even be higher, as the figures do not include sales from Wal-Mart or club stores, where people are more likely to turn when there budgets become more restricted.

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Natural News
June 3, 2010
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor

(NaturalNews) In the midst of runaway economic problem in Greece, the pharmaceutical industry has decided to blackmail the nation and halt shipments of medicines to Greece until it agrees to pay full price for the drugs. In order to cut costs during its severe debt crisis, Greece had announced it would pay drug companies 25 percent less for their products, but this loss of profit was enough to convince several pharmaceutical companies supplying key drugs to the country to initiate their own medical blockade where they simply refuse to deliver any more medicines.

In doing this, Big Pharma shows its true character. When the profits are flowing and the companies are raking in full-price profits, they're you're best friend. But when budgets get tight and everybody is asked to take a cut, Big Pharma betrays your country and its citizens, withholding medicines in a thinly-veiled blackmail attempt to force you to cough up more cash.

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News with Views

By Sarah Foster
May 4, 2010


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WASHINGTON - Last week and over the weekend, the Internet was buzzing about a heretofore undetected provision Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., had slipped into the Wall Street financial reform bill that the House passed in December - a provision critics warned could devastate the nutritional supplement industry with excessive regulations, driving up the costs of supplements or removing them from the market altogether.

"The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009 (H.R. 4173) ...includes language going far beyond finance," the Alliance for Natural Health-USA, a D.C.-based health freedom advocacy group, stated in an April 27 report, with the warning: "This language could be used for an end run around the Dietary Supplement Health and Safety Act (DSHEA), the legislation that governs dietary supplement regulation by the FDA."

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Alternet
Dara Colwell
March 27, 2009

While Uncle Sam's scramble for new revenue sources has recently kicked up the marijuana debate -- to legalize and tax, or not? -- hemp's feasibility as a stimulus plan has received less airtime.

But with a North American market that exceeds $300 million in annual retail sales and continued rising demand, industrial hemp could generate thousands of sustainable new jobs, helping America to get back on track.

"We're in the midst of a dark economic transition, but I believe hemp is an important facet and has tremendous economic potential," says Patrick Goggin, a board member on the California Council for Vote Hemp, the nation's leading industrial hemp-farming advocacy group. "Economically and environmentally, industrial hemp is an important part of the sustainability pie."

With 25,000 known applications from paper, clothing and food products -- which, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal this January, is the fastest growing new food category in North America -- to construction and automotive materials, hemp could be just the crop to jump-start America's green economy.

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SCEC stands for Solidarietà che Cammina - Solidarity that walks. It is a complementary currency that is designed to start its life circulating in common with the official currency, the Euro.

It is adapted to the Italian situation, where alternative currencies are looked upon as competition to the official one. So SCEC defines itself as a complementary currency. It circulates together with the official currency.

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SCEC is in the form of a discount chit denominated in Euro equivalents (in denominations of 0.50 Euro, 1, 2, 5, 10 and 50 Euro). It is distributed for free and acquires value only when used. Businesses and professionals agree to give a discount to buyers who pay (in part) with SCEC, usually around 20 %, but ranging mostly between 10 and 30 %.

A full description of the project in English - a bit lengthy but certainly of interest - is available here:

http://www.arcipelagoscec.org/doc/ArchipelagoSCECproject1.pdf

SCEC is putting first emphasis on actually supporting local production and commerce over imports from far away and world wide commerce by multinationals. The currency makes local exchanges more convenient for people who use the system, as they get a break by virtue of getting substantial discounts on the normal price.

The SCEC, once issued, stay in circulation and can be spent at any business or professional that adheres to the program and states how much discount they are willing to give. In this way, SCEC is tax neutral - no tax is to be paid on it as it is merely a discount.

Users of course, who are not subject to value added tax (VAT) when buying/selling second hand goods or exchanging favors and transactions in the social area can use SCEC to replace the official Euro currency in these direct exchanges.

SCEC is a discount as far as the government is concerned, but it is a fledgling alternative currency as far as the users are concerned.

It favors local commerce and as it gets more and more accepted, future uses might even include the payment of rates or (local) taxes.

An electronic system to run side by side with the currently available paper currency is in the planning stage. This would work like any bank account. You can make transfers to other users of the system, and you can convert paper into electronic or electronic into paper, if so desired.

Organizationally, SCEC is organized as a non profit "archipelago of several islands" which are the regional associations that are independent of each other, but agree to use the same kind of currency and to exchange information on who are the member businesses and professionals who accept SCEC as part payment for their goods or services.

SCEC are issued periodically and equally to all participants in the system, in exchange for a voluntary contribution intended to defray the costs of printing and administration.

Loans in SCEC to participating businesses are possible. They are given as an advance on future distribution of the currency. Once someone has received a loan they will not receive any future SCEC distributed to others, until they are "caught up" and are once again eligible to receive the normal distributions. Anyone entering the system gets 100 SCEC to start trading. To get more, they have to either wait for another periodic distribution or have to start giving some kind of service for which they accept SCEC in payment.

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