Gilead coronavirus drug is $3,100. We can’t purchase India’s generic for 1/4 the price!

Daniel O’Day, Chairman & CEO, Gilead Sciences, recently sent an open letter to the American Public, indicating why its U.S. Patented drug Remdesivir to treat the coronavirus will be a company $$ bonanza with its new pricing.

Because of the way the U.S. system is set up and the discounts that government healthcare programs expect, the price for U.S. private insurance companies, will be $520 per vial, O’Day explained.

Dan O’Day

The drug requires six vials, so the total price is $3,120 per person. He said that  governments will get a “special” price break at $2,340.

To ensure broad and equitable access at a time of urgent global need, we have set a price for governments of developed countries of $390 per vial. Based on current treatment patterns, the vast majority of patients are expected to receive a 5-day treatment course using 6 vials of remdesivir, which equates to $2,340 per patient.

O’Day said we are lucky, because his company should have charged even more:

Taking the example of the United States, earlier hospital discharge would result in hospital savings of approximately $12,000 per patient. Even just considering these immediate savings to the healthcare system alone, we can see the potential value that remdesivir provides.

In the weird world of drug pricing, are patients here really getting a big break – a $12,000 value for “just” $3,100, according to Gilead? But there’s more to this story, and it isn’t pretty.

In the developing world, where healthcare resources, infrastructure and economics are so different, we have entered into agreements with generic manufacturers to deliver treatment at a substantially lower cost. These alternative solutions are designed to ensure that all countries in the world can provide access to treatment.

The deal is we pay $3,100 in the U.S., including Medicare patients, and other countries can sell generic versions for a fraction of that price.

If administered in the hospital – a logical development – billing could approach the average markup there of 497% the usual price, or about $15,000. That would be tragic news for those without drug insurance.

For Medicare – the only drug plan if older than 65 – the treatment will eat up most of the prescription drug savings for seniors that were included in Obamacare. Once seniors spend a total of insurance and co-pays of $4,020, they are in the the coverage gap, and are charged no less than 25% of drug costs, even if their prescriptions are many tens of thousands of dollars a month.

Meanwhile, in the world of unfair healthcare, Indian drug makers Cipla and Hetero Labs are launching their own generic versions of  COVID-19 treatment Remdesivir after an agreement with Gilead Sciences.

Cipla has priced its drug at less than Rs 5,000 ($66) per vial, and Hetero will charge Rs 5,400 ($71) per vial for its copy. That means the drugs are priced there about $400 per treatment course.

That low price applies to everyone, including the very rich, like Mukesh Abani – worth $64.5 billion U.S. – or any of the other 105 Indian billionaires, let alone the nation’s 750,000 millionaires.

You can bet that the generic coronavirus drugs from India will quickly travel here through the black market, but they won’t have to secretly import the generic into China, arguably the most advanced economy and technically-superior nation in the world.

China will be using the brand name, since China also patented Remdesivir, and will only pay a licensing fee to Gilead. Price for the drug in China will be an estimated $200 for the entire treatment course, compared to our $3,100.

This deal that should be examined by our government. Gilead agreed that China could patent the drug for exclusive sale in China, excluding Gilead from selling there, and vice-versa – China can’t sell in the rest of the world, giving Gilead that monopoly (17 years).

Meanwhile, Gilead promises to give additional “poor” countries, like India, the right to produce generics, and sell them for a fraction of what we pay here.

Most Americans recognize that they are being ripped off by the pricing of prescription drugs and often pay huge amounts for drugs here (Xarelto – $7 in India, $500+ in U.S.), but the drug company lobbyists control our lawmakers.

Sally Pipes

One of the most despicable spokespersons – in my opinion – for the legal drug cartel is Sally Pipes, CEO and President of Pacific Research Institute (PRI), who defends Gilead without a blink of regret:

Some Democratic lawmakers and policy experts attacked remdesivir’s price as soon as it was announced. They claim that Gilead could sell the drug for as little as $1 per dose – and that the higher price reflects nothing more than the pharmaceutical company’s desire to capitalize on the crisis.

That critique makes little sense. Even some of the drug industry’s most prominent critics have acknowledged that remdesivir’s price is fair, as the value it delivers could end up being a lot higher than its price tag. Further, selling innovative drugs for pennies would starve companies of the funding they need to develop the next generation of cures.

Despite the reality that other nations develop drugs, sell them inexpensively, somehow Pipes believes:

If the government set drug prices or seized patents to give away drugs for free – two policies that have recently gained ground among Democrats – drug development would grind to a halt. No investor would fund such risky research if the chances of recouping their outlays were null. Without adequate funding, it would take even longer to develop a successful new drug than it does today.

Conclusion: if you can’t make a few billion dollars profit, why make the effort, we’re a profit-industry, not national treasures or institutions. PRI is a brainchild of the Koch folks and other so-called “libertarian groups” who want to privatize everything in America and the world, and leave the government with no public functions, except protecting Wall Street, international corporations and the rich elites’ mansions and yachts.


The other side of the pricing controversy is more compelling.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) has demanded that remdesivir be priced at no more than one U.S. dollar per dose, according to Businesswire.

AHF further demanded that Gilead Sciences also disclose all its public research and development costs and all public investments in connection with the development of remdesivir.

AHF’s dollar per dose demand is based on a University of Liverpool research study, “Minimum costs to manufacture new treatments for COVID-19” that allows for recovery of the cost of manufacturing plus a reasonable profit.

“The U.S. taxpayer paid for the research for this drug. Medicaid and Medicare are very likely going to pay for the prescriptions for this drug in the United States,” explained AHF President Michael Weinstein.

This massive expenditure of public resources requires full disclosure of how extensive the taxpayer is subsidizing drug companies.

We further demand that Gilead not enforce or claim any exclusive rights on patents for remdesivir, that it make available to the public all data, samples and information for the generic production of remdesivir, and that it improve transparency to show its manufacturing capacity and existing supply to allow for proper governance of the allocation of the drug according to medical needs, added Weinstein.

“Given Gilead’s abysmal record of making lifesaving treatments available for HIV and Hepatitis C, also financed at taxpayer expense, this pandemic profiteering enterprise can’t be trusted to look out for the public’s interest,” he explained.


And then there are cats, and this subject becomes more far-ranging:

When Robin Kintz’s two kittens, Fiona and Henry, contracted a fatal cat disease last year, she began hearing of a black-market drug from China. The use of the Gilead drug, known as GS-441524, is based on legitimate research from UC Davis, but the ways to get it seemed much less so, according to The Atlantic.

. “It was, ‘If you want to save your cat, send me thousands of dollars, and I’ll DHL you some unmarked vials,’” she says. And she did. Kintz transferred the thousands of dollars, got the unmarked vials from China, and then injected the clear liquid into her dying cats every day for months.

…The first remarkable thing, given the nature of the transaction, is that Kintz says the vials actually worked. Henry lived for almost another year, and Fiona made a full recovery. She’s still scampering around today, fluffy and alive—a miracle considering that vets had long thought her disease, feline infectious peritonitis, to be incurable and 100 percent fatal

The second remarkable thing is that GS-441524 is almost identical to a much buzzed-about human drug: remdesivir, the antiviral currently our best hope for treating COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Black-market GS-441524 is expensive. A 12-week treatment for cats can cost upwards of $10,000, depending on the brand, and weight of the cat. Plus, there is no legal way to buy GS-441524 as medicine—not for cats, not for humans.

Henry (L) and Fiona (R) were both treated with GS-441524. Henry died earlier this year, but Fiona is still alive, which her owner Robin Kintz attributes to the drug. (photo by Robin Kintz and The Atlantic)

An alternative (much cheaper) to Remdesivir?

China Set to Patent Gilead’s Experimental Coronavirus Drug

Follow the money! The esteemed investor site The Motley Fool explained this week:
The drug (Remdesivir) could see over $1 billion in sales in the course of the entire coronavirus outbreak, due to the sheer number of patients infected and potentially at risk for the virus. This is assuming the drug can treat up to 500,000 patients and cost little over $2,000 for one course of treatment. 

But who will control the licensing and supply of the drug, now being promoted by the media as the preferred treatment for Covid-19, versus Hydroxychloroquine, a $20 generic?

Remember the lab where the virus probably originated?

“The Wuhan Institute of Virology — based in the Chinese city at the center of the epidemic — has applied for a patent in China for the use of the antiviral drug, known as Remdesivir, in treating Covid-19. The application was made on Jan. 21 together with a military academy,” according to a Feb. 4 statement on the institute’s website.

If the application succeeds, Gilead would supply the U.S. and other countries, but not China – the largest customer in the world.

“The good thing in having a patent is that it would lead to cross-licensing situations that give China more bargaining chips in negotiating the licensing fee with Gilead,” Wang Yanyu, a senior partner at AllBright Law Offices in Beijing, explained.

While the politicians in the U.S. were busy closing the Senate and dominating the airwaves with a foregone no at the President’s impeachment trial, China was busy buying up supplies to treat the virus and making this bet on Remdesivir.

“While Gilead’s experimental drug isn’t licensed or approved anywhere in the world, it is being rushed into trials in China on coronavirus patients after showing early signs of being highly effective. It may go into clinical trials in China as early as next week in patients with moderate and severe symptoms of the pathogen,” Merdad Parsey, Gilead’s chief medical officer, said.

In the journal Cell Research Wuhan Institute scientists said Gilead’s Remdesivir, and Hydroxychloroquine, are “highly effective” in laboratory studies at thwarting the coronavirus.

China is capable of manufacturing Hydroxychloroquine, and now wants not only access to Remdesivir, but also worldwide control of the drug.

Gilead will still retain the global rights to market the antiviral medication, once approved, in treating illnesses such as Ebola and SARS, the Wuhan institute said.

If China grants the patent, it will control the use and price of Remdesivir, enabling huge profits from treating a worldwide virus. Gilead’s share from working with China remains unclear at this time, but dividing up a global Remdesivir treatment conservative total of even 100 million patients would yield a $200 billion payoff.

Will Congress, the media or the medical profession censure the company for such a deal?

Unlikely, since Big Pharma spends tens of billions of dollars on ads and other marketing, including direct payments to universities and doctors.

Totals listed below account for payments during the 2018 calendar year that mention Gilead products.

GILEAD SCIENCES INC Payments in 2018 (from Propublica)

26,534 doctors and 131 teaching hospitals

Totals listed below account for payments during the 2018 calendar year that mention this product. If a payment record mentions more than one product, the entire value will be included in each of those products.

Gilead products, number of doctors, and total paid

EPCLUSA               7,487    $4.32M

BIKTARVY             3,937     $2.08M

TRUVADA             3,496     $1.65M

VEMLIDY              3,268     $1.58M

ZYDELIG               1,283     $962K

RANEXA                2,290    $870K

CAYSTON              559       $292K

YESCARTA            233        $218K

LETAIRIS               1,566     $181K

  HARVONI              176        $29,211

Top Doctors Receiving Payments From Gilead in 2018

RICHARD WHITLEY
Pediatric Infectious Diseases
BIRMINGHAM, AL
$302K

ZOBAIR YOUNOSSI
Surgery
FALLS CHURCH, VA
$234K

SORANA SEGAL- MAURER
Infectious Disease
FLUSHING, NY
$142K

CHRISTIAN RAMERS
Infectious Disease
SAN DIEGO, CA
$138K

CALVIN PAN
Gastroenterology
FLUSHING, NY
$135K

ANTHONY MARTINEZ
Internal Medicine
BUFFALO, NY
$130K

BRIAN PEARLMAN
Internal Medicine
ATLANTA, GA
$128K

FELICIA STERMAN
Internal Medicine
SAN FRANCISCO, CA
$122K

SAMMY SAAB
Transplant Surgery
LOS ANGELES, CA
$121K

DOUGLAS CUNNINGHAM
Geriatric Medicine
SCOTTSDALE, AZ
$114K

CYNTHIA BRINSON
Family Medicine
AUSTIN, TX
$102K

Top Teaching Hospitals Receiving Payments From Gilead in 2018

EMORY UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL
ATLANTA, GA
$2.76M

UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA HOSPITAL
BIRMINGHAM, AL
$1.76M

MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL HOSPITAL
BOSTON, MA
$1.45M

LANGLEY PORTER PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITAL
SAN FRANCISCO, CA
$1.26M

HAZARD ARH
HAZARD, KY
$793K

KECK HOSPITAL OF USC
LOS ANGELES, CA
$609K

JACKSON MEMORIAL
MIAMI, FL
$595K

HENRY FORD HOSPITAL
DETROIT, MI
$511K

TAMPA GENERAL HOSPITAL
TAMPA, FL
$478K

DANA-FARBER CANCER INSTITUTE
BOSTON, MA
$450K

NEW YORK-PRESBYTERIAN/QUEENS
FLUSHING, NY
$372K

Report on payments to doctors from all healthcare companies!

A video translated from Chinese:

What is your chance of a fatal Covid-19 infection?

We compiled these charts yesterday to demonstrate total deaths per 1,000, 10,000 and 1,000,000 persons by state and country. Some 193 nations are safer and have a lower mortality than the United States. The higher the number, the more chance of death. Only one nation – San Marino – has more than a one-in-a-thousand chance of dying from the disease.

WORLD COVID-19 UNITED STATES COVID-19
Deaths/  Deaths/ Deaths/ Deaths/ Deaths/ Deaths/
Country Million 10,000 1,000 State Million 10,000 1,000
San Marino 1,149 11.490 1.14900 New York 933 9.330 0.93300
Belgium 490 4.900 0.49000 New Jersey 473 4.730 0.47300
Andorra 466 4.660 0.46600 Connecticut 315 3.150 0.31500
Spain 437 4.370 0.43700 Louisiana 278 2.780 0.27800
Italy 391 3.910 0.39100 Massachusetts 250 2.500 0.25000
France 302 3.020 0.30200 Michigan 240 2.400 0.24000
UK 237 2.370 0.23700 Rhode Island 142 1.420 0.14200
Sint Maarten 233 2.330 0.23300 Washington DC 140 1.400 0.14000
Netherlands 215 2.150 0.21500 Illinois 101 1.010 0.10100
Switzerland 161 1.610 0.16100 Pennsylvania 97 0.970 0.09700
Sweden 152 1.520 0.15200 Washington 87 0.870 0.08700
Ireland 124 1.240 0.12400 Indiana 85 0.850 0.08500
USA 123 1.230 0.12300 Maryland 81 0.810 0.08100
Channel Islands 121 1.210 0.12100 Colorado 76 0.760 0.07600
Luxembourg 117 1.170 0.11700 Delaware 71 0.710 0.07100
Bermuda 80 0.800 0.08000 Georgia 66 0.660 0.06600
Monaco 76 0.760 0.07600 Vermont 61 0.610 0.06100
Isle of Man 71 0.710 0.07100 Mississippi 53 0.530 0.05300
Portugal 70 0.700 0.07000 Nevada 53 0.530 0.05300
Iran 61 0.610 0.06100 Ohio 40 0.400 0.04000
Denmark 61 0.610 0.06100 Florida 38 0.380 0.03800
Germany 55 0.550 0.05500 Wisconsin 38 0.380 0.03800
Saint Martin 52 0.520 0.05200 Oklahoma 36 0.360 0.03600
Austria 50 0.500 0.05000 Virginia 33 0.330 0.03300
Canada 42 0.420 0.04200 Missouri 33 0.330 0.03300
Slovenia 36 0.360 0.03600 Alabama 33 0.330 0.03300
British VI 33 0.330 0.03300 Kentucky 33 0.330 0.03300
Martinique 32 0.320 0.03200 Kansas 32 0.320 0.03200
Antigua/Barbuda 31 0.310 0.03100 New Hampshire 31 0.310 0.03100
Norway 30 0.300 0.03000 California 30 0.300 0.03000
Estonia 30 0.300 0.03000 Idaho 27 0.270 0.02700
Panama 28 0.280 0.02800 Arizona 26 0.260 0.02600
Ecuador 27 0.270 0.02700 New Mexico 26 0.260 0.02600
Iceland 26 0.260 0.02600 Maine 26 0.260 0.02600
Liechtenstein 26 0.260 0.02600 South Carolina 24 0.240 0.02400
Turks & Caicos 26 0.260 0.02600 Iowa 24 0.240 0.02400
Turkey 24 0.240 0.02400 Minnesota 24 0.240 0.02400
North Macedonia 24 0.240 0.02400 Tennessee 22 0.220 0.02200
Romania 23 0.230 0.02300 North Carolina 19 0.190 0.01900
Bahamas 23 0.230 0.02300 Texas 18 0.180 0.01800
Dominican Rep. 21 0.210 0.02100 Oregon 18 0.180 0.01800
Israel 20 0.200 0.02000 Nebraska 15 0.150 0.01500
Hungary 20 0.200 0.02000 Arkansas 13 0.130 0.01300
Guadeloupe 20 0.200 0.02000 North Dakota 13 0.130 0.01300
Aruba 19 0.190 0.01900 Alaska 12 0.120 0.01200
Czechia 17 0.170 0.01700 West Virginia 11 0.110 0.01100
Finland 17 0.170 0.01700 Montana 10 0.100 0.01000
Moldova 17 0.170 0.01700 Utah 9 0.090 0.00900
Barbados 17 0.170 0.01700 South Dakota 8 0.080 0.00800
Bosnia 15 0.150 0.01500 Hawaii 7 0.070 0.00700
Mayotte 15 0.150 0.01500 Wyoming 3 0.030 0.00300
Cayman Islands 15 0.150 0.01500
Serbia 14 0.140 0.01400
Lithuania 13 0.130 0.01300
Brazil 12 0.120 0.01200
Peru 12 0.120 0.01200
Greece 11 0.110 0.01100
Croatia 11 0.110 0.01100
Poland 10 0.100 0.01000
Cyprus 10 0.100 0.01000
Algeria 9 0.090 0.00900
Albania 9 0.090 0.00900
Guyana 9 0.090 0.00900
Montenegro 8 0.080 0.00800
Chile 7 0.070 0.00700
Armenia 7 0.070 0.00700
Malta 7 0.070 0.00700
Mauritius 7 0.070 0.00700
Bulgaria 6 0.060 0.00600
Trinidad/Tobago 6 0.060 0.00600
Curaçao 6 0.060 0.00600
S. Korea 5 0.050 0.00500
Mexico 5 0.050 0.00500
Belarus 5 0.050 0.00500
Honduras 5 0.050 0.00500
Belize 5 0.050 0.00500
UAE 4 0.040 0.00400
Philippines 4 0.040 0.00400
Colombia 4 0.040 0.00400
Morocco 4 0.040 0.00400
Bahrain 4 0.040 0.00400
China 3 0.030 0.00300
Saudi Arabia 3 0.030 0.00300
Australia 3 0.030 0.00300
Ukraine 3 0.030 0.00300
Qatar 3 0.030 0.00300
Malaysia 3 0.030 0.00300
Argentina 3 0.030 0.00300
Cuba 3 0.030 0.00300
Tunisia 3 0.030 0.00300
Latvia 3 0.030 0.00300
Lebanon 3 0.030 0.00300
Bolivia 3 0.030 0.00300
Uruguay 3 0.030 0.00300
Russia 2 0.020 0.00200
Japan 2 0.020 0.00200
Singapore 2 0.020 0.00200
Indonesia 2 0.020 0.00200
Egypt 2 0.020 0.00200
Kuwait 2 0.020 0.00200
Iraq 2 0.020 0.00200
New Zealand 2 0.020 0.00200
Azerbaijan 2 0.020 0.00200
Slovakia 2 0.020 0.00200
Cameroon 2 0.020 0.00200
Djibouti 2 0.020 0.00200
Burkina Faso 2 0.020 0.00200
Jamaica 2 0.020 0.00200
Brunei 2 0.020 0.00200
Liberia 2 0.020 0.00200
Cabo Verde 2 0.020 0.00200
Suriname 2 0.020 0.00200
Oman 1 0.010 0.00100
Costa Rica 1 0.010 0.00100
Georgia 1 0.010 0.00100
Paraguay 1 0.010 0.00100
El Salvador 1 0.010 0.00100
Congo 1 0.010 0.00100
South Africa 0.9 0.009 0.00090
Kazakhstan 0.9 0.009 0.00090
Eswatini 0.9 0.009 0.00090
Pakistan 0.8 0.008 0.00080
Afghanistan 0.8 0.008 0.00080
Niger 0.8 0.008 0.00080
Kyrgyzstan 0.8 0.008 0.00080
Thailand 0.7 0.007 0.00070
Jordan 0.7 0.007 0.00070
Mali 0.7 0.007 0.00070
Bangladesh 0.6 0.006 0.00060
Palestine 0.6 0.006 0.00060
Togo 0.6 0.006 0.00060
Hong Kong 0.5 0.005 0.00050
India 0.4 0.004 0.00040
Guinea 0.4 0.004 0.00040
Guatemala 0.4 0.004 0.00040
Somalia 0.4 0.004 0.00040
Gabon 0.4 0.004 0.00040
Botswana 0.4 0.004 0.00040
Gambia 0.4 0.004 0.00040
Ghana 0.3 0.003 0.00030
Ivory Coast 0.3 0.003 0.00030
Taiwan 0.3 0.003 0.00030
DRC 0.3 0.003 0.00030
Sri Lanka 0.3 0.003 0.00030
Kenya 0.3 0.003 0.00030
Venezuela 0.3 0.003 0.00030
Haiti 0.3 0.003 0.00030
Nicaragua 0.3 0.003 0.00030
Senegal 0.2 0.002 0.00020
Sudan 0.2 0.002 0.00020
Zambia 0.2 0.002 0.00020
Syria 0.2 0.002 0.00020
Zimbabwe 0.2 0.002 0.00020
Mauritania 0.2 0.002 0.00020
Uzbekistan 0.1 0.001 0.00010
Nigeria 0.1 0.001 0.00010
Tanzania 0.1 0.001 0.00010
Libya 0.1 0.001 0.00010
Malawi 0.1 0.001 0.00010
Myanmar 0.09 0.001 0.00009
Benin 0.08 0.001 0.00008
Burundi 0.08 0.001 0.00008
Angola 0.06 0.001 0.00006
Ethiopia 0.03 >0.001 0.00003
Réunion >.03 >0.001 >0.00003
Vietnam >.03 >0.001 >0.00003
Rwanda >.03 >0.001 >0.00003
Gibraltar >.03 >0.001 >0.00003
Cambodia >.03 >0.001 >0.00003
Madagascar >.03 >0.001 >0.00003
French Guiana >.03 >0.001 >0.00003
Equatorial Guinea >.03 >0.001 >0.00003
French Polynesia >.03 >0.001 >0.00003
Uganda >.03 >0.001 >0.00003
Maldives >.03 >0.001 >0.00003
Guinea-Bissau >.03 >0.001 >0.00003
Macao >.03 >0.001 >0.00003
Eritrea >.03 >0.001 >0.00003
Mozambique >.03 >0.001 >0.00003
Sierra Leone >.03 >0.001 >0.00003
Chad >.03 >0.001 >0.00003
Mongolia >.03 >0.001 >0.00003
Nepal >.03 >0.001 >0.00003
Laos >.03 >0.001 >0.00003
Timor-Leste >.03 >0.001 >0.00003
New Caledonia >.03 >0.001 >0.00003
Fiji >.03 >0.001 >0.00003
Dominica >.03 >0.001 >0.00003
Namibia >.03 >0.001 >0.00003
Saint Lucia >.03 >0.001 >0.00003
Grenada >.03 >0.001 >0.00003
Saint Kitts/Nevis >.03 >0.001 >0.00003
St. Vincent >.03 >0.001 >0.00003
Falkland Islands >.03 >0.001 >0.00003
Greenland >.03 >0.001 >0.00003
Montserrat >.03 >0.001 >0.00003
Seychelles >.03 >0.001 >0.00003
Vatican City >.03 >0.001 >0.00003
Papua New Guinea >.03 >0.001 >0.00003
St. Barth >.03 >0.001 >0.00003
Western Sahara >.03 >0.001 >0.00003
Bhutan >.03 >0.001 >0.00003
Carib. Netherlands >.03 >0.001 >0.00003
Sao Tome >.03 >0.001 >0.00003
South Sudan >.03 >0.001 >0.00003
Anguilla >.03 >0.001 >0.00003
Saint Pierre >.03 >0.001 >0.00003
Yemen >.03 >0.001 >0.00003

FDA & NIAD guilty of incompetence, verging on treason!

Capitalism shows its most ugly face!

That ad is from eBay – plenty of paper for sale at five times the store price – 12 “mega” rolls for $59.99. Now you know why the “gangs” were fighting to clean off the grocery store shelves. For many buyers, it wasn’t need, but deplorable greed.

Here’s another ripoff on eBay:

Toilet paper at $10 a roll! Buy a big package at the store, separate it into single rolls and make yourself rich, despite the tribulations you cause others.

Desperate folks are even bidding for toilet paper. The above was from eBay this morning – $54.75 w/shipping for 12 rolls (34 bids).

An eBay search for toilet paper at 4 pm today found 3,613 auctions, plus 13,940 lots for Buy It Now purchase

Who is worse than greedy hucksters?

#1. Anthony S. Fauci, M.D.

Dr. Anthony Fauci

The Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAD) since 1984, Fauci oversees “basic and applied research to prevent, diagnose, and treat established infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, respiratory infections, diarrheal diseases, tuberculosis and malaria as well as emerging diseases such as Ebola and Zika,” according to the NIAD website.

Fauci is a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force established by President Donald Trump in late January.

As a member, on January 26 he claimed this about the coronavirus.

“It’s a very, very low risk to the United States,” Fauci said during an interview with radio show host John Catsimatidis.

But it’s something that we as public health officials need to take very seriously… It isn’t something the American public needs to worry about or be frightened about.

Because we have ways of preparing and screening of people coming in [from China]. And we have ways of responding – like we did with this one case in Seattle, Washington, who had traveled to China and brought back the infection.

On Wednesday, last week, he went into scare mode, suggesting that COVID-19 is considerably more dangerous than the flu:

The flu has a mortality rate of 0.1 percent. This has a mortality rate of 10 times that. That’s the reason I want to emphasize we have to stay ahead of the game in preventing this.

On this past Sunday’s Meet the Press Fauci warned that if the country fails to slow the trajectory, the number of domestic deaths could soar exponentially into the hundreds of thousands or even millions.

The worst is yet to come…to protect the American people, we’ll consider everything and anything on the table.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that between 20,000 to 52,000 Americans have died from influenza this season.

Using Fauci’s 10x premise, that means an uncontrolled COVID-19 epidemic would kill between 200,000 and 520,000 Americans.

Don’t believe it.

China, with nearly five times our population has only a total 3,300 deaths from the disease, and the epidemic there is nearly finished. China had only four new deaths and 36 new cases reported yesterday.

Using the China metric, the United States should expect 660 deaths, a tiny fraction of the tens of thousands of flu deaths projected by Fauci.

Fauci’s weekend reckless comments sent the stock market into free fall on Monday.

In my opinion Fauci is the number one culprit in our corona virus debacle by first minimizing the danger, then exaggerating it beyond credulous belief.

If you have comments about his performance or questions, this is his public contact information:

#2. Recent Commissioners of Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Strict guidelines by the FDA have hampered development of testing methods in the United States, and the blame should be shared among the five commissioners appointed by President Trump in just his first term.

They each inherited a bad system, but didn’t fix it. The FDA rules stopped widespread test development until this month – much too late to identify victims and quarantine them effectively.

One example of FDA incompetence comes from Benjamin Pinsky, Medical Director of the Clinical Virology Laboratory at Stanford, who said his lab began working on a test in early February, following the overly strict FDA guidelines at the time.

When the FDA finally posted its more relaxed guidance, it took the Stanford lab only days to validate its test.

“We were waiting for the FDA to make a decision about how they would handle clinical laboratory testing,” Pinsky said.

My goal was to be prepared as soon as they were ready to allow clinical labs to start testing.

On March 2 Stanford got permission to begin testing. Before day’s end on March 4, Santa Clara County had already confirmed 14 cases. Too late! Results showed community spread was already underway.

A lab in San Francisco asked in early February if it could develop its own test under less extreme requirements, but the FDA refused, citing regulations:

Charles Chiu, associate director of the University of California at San Francisco Clinical Microbiology Laboratory, said:

We were trying to submit a clinical lab-developed test or develop a clinical test for emergency-use approval, and the issue with it was it was delayed, and that was because the FDA’s requirements were quite stringent.

The FDA was making it too laborious…it would take too long to actually get approval.

“I think that it would have been helpful had some of the new guidance come out earlier so that laboratories would have had more time, whereas now we’re scrambling to meet demand,” Chiu said.

If only we followed the lead of other nations, especially South Korea

There were 74 new coronavirus cases and no deaths reported in South Korea yesterday. The epidemic that struck 8,236 persons there has basically ended, leaving only 75 dead in a country of nearly 52 million.

If we experience a similar mortality rate, our deaths will be about 500 in a population of some 330 million.

South Korea put its labs and companies to work in January, and had effective test kits with four-hour results by early February.

Testing allows hot spots to be identified, affected citizens warned to take extra precautions and allows the healthcare system to focus efforts where most needed.

South Korea has tested 248,647 citizens, as of yesterday, compared to the U.S. total of 21,558.

More glaring is that South Korea has conducted 4,802 tests per million persons, compared to a minuscule 65 per million in this country – a disgrace for the supposed “best health care system in the world.”

Most other countries have a much higher rate of testing.

Review the table below, created here from analyzing World Health Organization statistics, and note the X million tests column.

America is doing worse at testing than not just South Korea, but also Bahrain, Iceland, Norway, Slovenia, Italy, Austria, Taiwan, Denmark, Russia, United Kingdom, Ireland, Netherlands, Australia, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Finland, Slovakia, Lithuania, Malaysia, France, Hungary, Croatia, Japan, Thailand, Armenia and New Zealand.

China and India – not Mexico – are now sending us the most “legal” immigrants to take our very best jobs and lower all wages

No country has sent more of its nationals to the United States over the last decade than China, according to the Census Bureau.

In 2006, 350,000 Mexican nationals legally arrived in the U.S., which was more than Chinese, Indians, and Canadians combined. A dozen years later, it was China that supplied the most foreign-born immigrants to the U.S. — surpassing India, Mexico, and Canada in 2018.

Since 2010, China has dominated foreign-born legal immigration, as both corporations and universities competed to offer visas and other incentives that displaced American workers and scholars, reducing wages and opportunities for U.S. citizens.

The population of Chinese immigrants in the United States has zoomed nearly 700% since 1980, reaching 2.5 million in 2018. Some 1.2 million legal immigrants from all nations are imported into our country every year.

Click here to view an interactive map that shows where immigrants (not born in the U.S.) from China and other countries have settled in the U.S.

Issuing employment visas to China and India harshly impacts our technical and professional fields. These work permits go to U.S. firms that claim no Americans exist to do high-paying jobs. It is a ridiculous claim, considering, for example, the current median H-1B salary is $90,000 for software engineers.

While corporate America is maintaining there are no qualified citizen applicants for these jobs, millions of STEM grads work outside their specialties.

Another population factor is that China leads the world in sending international students to the United States. In just the 2018-19 school year, close to 377,000 students from mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau were enrolled in U.S. higher education institutions, according to the Institute of International Education. They accounted for about one-third of the 1 million international students studying in the United States.

One benefit to China is that it receives a booming growth of remittances from their citizens working here – now more than $70 billion a year. Another benefit is that China dominates our STEM advanced degree programs, and their leaders have easy access to U.S. corporate and military technology.

Tom Psillas

Tom Psillas is one of the Americans hit by the increase in hiring foreigners, especially from China and India:

The H-1B Visa program is definitely a big issue for most of us software developers born and raised in the US. Over 65% of us have been replaced with H-1B Visa workers, only because companies are getting away with it and the laws are not being enforced enough.

Psillas said that 20 years ago Silicon Valley had some Chinese and Indian workers, who were “educated and well-trained.”

Now that the H-1B Visa program has grown too big, we have issues with the large Indian firms dumping H-1B Visa workers in almost all large corporations in America; many times replacing older American workers.

The American worker, me included, was forced to train these H-1B workers, who were our replacements. Do you think we could train them to do everything we learned over many years? Absolutely not.

The end result is sub-standard work, incompetence (not due to lack of effort), and lack of direction from management, who fear for their own job.

Most H-1B workers work hard, Psillas explained, “but after a while, when they see the attitude of management in corporate America and they start caring less about the job.”

Who wouldn’t, given the conditions they are forced to work under. The Indian recruiting firms exploit them, making things even worse.

It is not their fault. It is the fault of corporate CEOs, who care about making their big bonus by cutting expenses and propping up stocks for their investors. They don’t care about the American worker, who lost their job, any more than they care about the H-1B Visa workers being exploited.

…most American software developers in their 60s are out of work, at a time when we should be making the most and spending the most, helping our economy. Instead, we are not eating out anymore, not buying anything, losing our homes or not remodeling them, and not spending money on imports from China.

The following H-1B major occupations and total employed by foreign workers:

The U.S. H-1B is issued for three years, but can be renewed for another three years if approved by the government and employer.

After graduation with a Masters or Doctor’s degrees, Chinese international students generally return home to use their skills there.

Corporate private cities – no rights, no votes and no protests!

Who needs a government?

What’s so great about the right to vote for your local, state or national leaders?

Why not allow a corporation decide how much to spend on your schools, police, roads and hospitals?

If these questions sound outlandish, you haven’t heard of the newest trend – private cities – where a chief operating officer and a corporate gang replace democracy and representative government with trickle down domination.

Sarah Moser, associate professor of geography at McGill University, warns us:

A private city is kind of like a giant mall.

If management doesn’t like you or the way you dress, they can theoretically expel you and you don’t have recourse to challenge this, as it is private property.

They don’t have mayors. They don’t have elected city councils. They have CEOs. So it’s a completely corporate model. There are no elected officials to appeal to and if you are seen as a troublemaker, you could potentially be kicked out.

Private cities are big business, no longer some tiny experiment.

More than 15 new private cities and dozens more new urban areas are being developed on public-private partnerships throughout the world today.

Forest City, a huge $100 billion new city, is being built in Malaysia on reclaimed land, just up the coast from Danga Bay by China’s Country Garden.

“It’s China’s largest property developer creating a private gated city from scratch in the ocean. They’ve had to engage in one of the largest land reclamation projects in the world to create a new city for 700,000 residents,” Moser said.

I think what’s particularly intriguing about this new city is that it’s geared toward Chinese nationals, not toward Malaysians …. There are no Malaysian police or military allowed into the project. So who’s policing the place? It’s private security guards.

In Springfield, Australia, a private city was built from scratch on 7,000 acres of bush land by that country’s 39th richest man. It now has 40,000 residents.

Morocco is building 20 new cities. Tanzania is constructing nine.

Saudi Arabia’s $500 billion mega-city – Neom – that will be 33 times the acreage of New York City

NEOM, a new city for one million residents in Saudi Arabia, includes plans for robot maids, cloud-seeding technology, and an artificial moon. In 2017, they hired three of the world’s largest consultancy firms — McKinsey & Co, Boston Consulting, and Oliver Wyman — to advise them.

Moser said another example is King Abdullah Economic City, a mega-project in Saudi Arabia:

It’s completely private, and it’s run by a company that’s actually listed on the Saudi Stock Exchange. So technically, I could buy stock in King Abdullah Economic City and have some say over the city that residents would not have …

In the 1960s, these (cities) were state projects for the greater good.

In contrast, I would say the majority of the cities today are fueled by corporations, and these corporations see unprecedented opportunities to make money …. IBM, Cisco, Google, Microsoft, they’re all in the new city game now.

“There are many ambiguities in private cities about the rights of residents, the legal protections they have, and the legal recourse they have if something goes wrong,” Moser explained.

CEOs are fired not for failing the residents, but for failing the shareholders. When a city is private, the priority of management is profit, not the needs of citizens.

Moser said the United Nations predicts 68% of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050:

They’re claiming that … the housing shortages can be addressed through the construction of new cities, and this is preferable to the endless squatter settlements and slums that we’re seeing popping up everywhere.

But in reality, a lot of these new cities are being targeted at the elites — people who globally own five to 10 properties already.

For example, in Kenya the middle class earns about $20 U.S. a day, and units in these new cities that are being created in Kenya often cost $150,000 U.S. It would take five lifetimes to actually pay off that condo.

Songdo – a private “smart” city

Songdo is a 130,000-person new city, owned and operated by Gale International and POSCO in South Korea. This smart city was developed in part by technology giant Cisco and includes a “living lab” for Cisco technologies.

“Everything in Songdo is wired. There are sensors on everything, and CCTV cameras everywhere. This is a way of increasing efficiency in the city, reducing crime … There are a lot of critics saying that this is too high a cost to pay, and we should be concerned about privacy,” Moser said.

She explained that new smart cities around the globe are “kind of like the Sidewalk Labs project on steroids.” Sidewalk Labs is a subsidiary of Google’s owner, Alphabet Inc. It plans to create a smart city, Quayside, on Toronto’s waterfront.

“People are suspicious, rightfully so, of a technology company’s role and what they’re standing to gain and what we stand to lose. And also wondering, well, is Toronto so broken that we can’t use existing mechanisms for urban development?” Moser said.

Financial reporter Wade Shepard explained that “in some ways, private cities are viewed as a ‘win-win’ type of shortcut … governments can get their new developments built for them via private capital, rather than tax dollars, and still take a cut of the earnings, while private firms can profit at each stage of the urbanization process,”

Shepherd said the private city movement allows drastic social changes:

Private cities, kind of like special economic zones, often have their own sets of rules which often run perpendicular to the laws of the nations they are geographically located within.

They are … a swath of land purchased by a private company, that can be run as that company sees fit.

They are wild cards where the conventions of the broader country don’t apply, where new labor regulations, tax codes, financial laws, business and property registration systems, and education models can be implemented and tested.

Country Garden’s Danga Bay, Malaysia

America gives away our jobs and factories to China with a lopsided de minimis rule promoted by global businesses

Zach Mottl

Zach Mottl, chief alignment officer of Atlas Tool Works and a past chairman of the Technology and Manufacturing Association of Illinois, is a very unhappy American.

Four of his state’s members of the House of Representatives are trying to block the White House effort to lower the “express shipment” measure included in the de minimis rule. This regulation currently allows China to send us goods without any tariffs or customs duties, as long as the value is less than $800.

These anti-American politicians – tools of global businesses – oppose lowering this limit to $200: Cheri Bustos (D), Bradley Schneider (D), Danny Davis (D), Mike Quigley (D) and Never-Trumper Darin LaHood (R).

Mottl said the current deal with China is blatantly unfair:

China’s de minimis level is a mere $8. That means any American company shipping a product to China – valued at more than $8 – must pay a duty. But there’s no reciprocity; a Chinese good priced as high as $799 can enter the U.S. duty-free.

In 2016, Congress increased the de minimis limit from $200 to $800.

That opened the floodgates, allowing companies like Amazon to further incentivize imports, Mottl explained.

My manufacturing company, Atlas Tool Works, has been in operation in Illinois since 1918. We are a textbook example of the kind of domestic American company that has been surviving for years in the face of heavily subsidized imports. And our nearly 80 employees depend on Atlas for their jobs and livelihoods.

Mottl said the current system is being exploited and the $800 limit is being abused to allow a flood of goods entering the United States, often with much higher ticket prices than listed on import documents:

For example, 60 counterfeit Chicago Cubs jerseys were recently seized at O’Hare Airport. The jerseys were listed at a value of only $177. But a Customs official estimated the merchandise would have actually sold for $7,200.

Duties are only charged based on the value of the import. Popular items, such as designer sunglasses may sell here for $500 or more, but their actual price to import from China usually ranges between $7 and $15. That means 100 sunglasses would avoid any import duties ($700 declared), but would retail here for $500 X 100, or $50,000 total.

Also, Congress could better serve America’s manufacturers by passing the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), Mottl said.

The pending deal contains helpful enforcement mechanisms and also directs Canada and Mexico to raise their current de minimis levels.

Matching America’s de minimis levels to those of our trading partners could help to ensure a more level playing field.

Meanwhile, Bustos, LaHood, Schneider, Davis, and Quigley have written to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, explaining that they “strongly oppose any effort … to lower the $800 de minimis threshold” in the U.S.

Their stance is purely pro-business, benefiting huge corporations like Amazon and Walmart, who can use multiple small purchases to avoid the duties our goods face in China. This is not the historic stance of the Democrat Party, which has long supported workers and consumers over retailers and wholesalers.

As Mottl explained:

These representatives are essentially arguing for a lopsided policy that enables Amazon — one of the world’s most profitable companies — to keep importing subsidized, low-cost goods from China at absolutely no cost.

This is doubly egregious considering that Amazon paid zero federal and state taxes in 2018 on more than $11 billion in profits.

Bike supplier and retailer offers similar warning on de minimis rule

de minimis rates in various countries

Congress forces USPS to subsidize mailers in China and gouge Americans nearly six times as much to send the same package

Billions of dollars of goods are imported from China into the United States every week, and very little is exported to that communist monolith from small businesses in our country.

Most of our exports are from giants like: Boeing selling planes, Wall Street hawking financial services, or Hollywood offering pablum movies censored by the Chinese dictator-for-life and his all-seeing minions.

Is our huge trade deficit because entrepreneurs in China are just born smarter, work harder or are more thrifty, patient and all-seeing?

The answer is none of the above.

As usual, the problem is an always supplicant Congress, embracing big business, promoting their monopoly at the expense of the little guy or gal.

Most of us have seen pictures of cargo ships filled with China’s products unloading into our West Coast ports. Shipping containers are relatively inexpensive and cost just as much sailing from China to the U.S., as from the U.S. to China.

A small business can’t afford to fill shipping containers.

Instead, American exporters mail packages, and that’s where folks here get screwed by their own government as well as by China’s import duties and taxes.

Pretend you have a one-pound book worth $30 to mail in China to a customer in the United States. Using their mail, your package will arrive in about seven days at a cost of $7.31.

Suppose the book is damaged? You can mail it back to the sender and get a refund.

However, that means you have to pay the USPS postage – $46.71. If you are not in a hurry you can save money and it will be delivered in about seven weeks at a cost of $24.06 on a slow boat to China.

It’s not fair trade when one party is charged $46.71 and the other gets subsidized to only pay $7.31.

In 2011, Congress ordered the the U.S. Postal Service to make special agreements with the national postal carriers of China and Hong Kong to allow tracking-enabled packages not exceeding 36” or weighing more than 4.4 pounds to be sent to the U.S. at bargain basement rates. This shipping option – the ePacket – has rates so low that it’s cheaper to ship small parcels from China to an American city than it is to mail that same parcel within our country.

USPS subsequently extended the same deal to South Korea and Singapore. The plan was to increase imports into our country and help Asian countries at our expense.

Unlike the United States, China subsidizes its postal system so costs are minimal in that country. At the same time, USPS is subsidizing mail from China to keep prices low for our Far East competitor.

If the huge disparity in mailing costs doesn’t make Americans noncompetitive in the Chinese marketplace, consider the impact of taxes and fees levied by each government.

Let’s compare the approximate cost of shipping a one-pound box of gold-plated jewelry to each country.

Shipping from China to the United States
Item cost : $300
Shipment cost : $8
Total amount: $308

Shipping from United States to China
Item cost : $300
Shipment cost : $46
Customs duty rate @35% = $121
Vat rate @17% = $59
Total amount: $525

A first step in lowering costs for America’s small businesses is to reduce the rate we pay to mail to China and raise the rate we charge them to deliver here. The current imbalance of $8 to $46 to mail the same package is almost 6 to 1 – an unbelievable gift to Chinese exporters.

This change alone will help small business compete, plus impact the nearly $4 billion in so-called “loses” that will be incurred this year by the post office.

Next week: We examine the De Minimis import value threshold, and how some slimy members of Congress want it to continue benefiting China’s exporters and restricting American business.

“Socialist” China speeds ever faster, while America ignores modern technology for economical high-speed travel

Americans are proud of Amtrak, and the only “high-speed” train operating in America – Acela, which zooms down the East Coast for 454 miles from Boston to Washington D.C.

Well, not exactly “zooms.” The only “high-speed” section is 34 miles long.

Acela’s average pace between New York City (NYC) and Boston is 65 miles per hour (mph). The Amtrak fare is $256 round trip and it takes 2 hours and 17 minutes each way. Only a few of the faster trains run daily.

Private ownership of Amtrak promised us faster, cheaper, better service. Congress agreed, even adding government subsidies to make the corporation more profitable. Overall, it has never made a dime.

comfortable seats – drink served in glasses!

And then there’s China…

In the video above some 1,200 passengers in just one train are traveling at more than 250 mph from Shanghai to Nanjing – a distance similar (180 miles) to NYC-Boston.

The trip in China is 60 minutes, The same distance in America takes 137 minutes for Acela. Round trip price falls from $256 on Amtrak to $40 in China.

You might call this a fluke. So what if China has a train that goes fast for 180 miles, and ours only goes fast for 34 miles?

The answer to that question is devastating.

China currently has about 19,000 miles (not 34!) of high-speed lines, all 150 mph to 300 mph. Some 2,800 pairs of so-called bullet trains connect more than 550 cities in China, and cover 33 of the country’s 34 provinces.

Bejing train station completed in 1996

In two years China will add another 6,000 miles of high-speed lines.

Does America have a plan to match this?

With the approval of Congress Amtrak said that By 2040, the construction of the dedicated network for the New York to Boston segment will be completed.

At that time, the oldest 12 trains will be retired and 14 new ones will be deployed increasing the total capacity to 46.

This small improvement will cost $141 billion and only allow a speed of 186 mph – 64 mph slower than today’s China trains.

Other projects for high-speed trains in America have been stalled, including the idiotic Los Angeles to Las Vegas “Gambler’s Express.”

What will China be doing by 2040 – when America may hit 186 mph on the East Coast?

Get ready for very, very fast trains.

Reaching a speed of 4,000 kph or 2,480 mph would eliminate nearly all airline flights in America, reduce fuel emissions and reduce travel time immensely.

The trip from New York’s JFK to Los Vegas LAX currently takes about 300 minutes by plane in the air. The high speed train would cut that to 60 minutes, saving you four hours, plus time in airport lines.

But don’t count on this happening.

Our engineers can conquer the technology, and already the 1,000 kmh prototypes are built in China and Germany

The challenge will be whether rail travel can stand up to its traditional foes here – highway builders, airlines, buses, oil companies, corrupt financiers of the status quo and their political partners.