Coronavirus Capitalism

  
By:  john-russell  •  one week ago  •  36 comments

Coronavirus Capitalism

NY Governor Andrew Cuomo said, in his press briefing today, that suppliers of masks for health care providers are gouging the price. A couple days ago Cuomo said New York was being charged $4 for a mask they had previously paid 80 cents for, and today he said the price has gone up to 7 dollars per mask as the demand has increased and the supply of available masks has dwindled. That is a rise of 175% in price in 2 days. This is capitalism at work.  Some mask company will get "rich" overcharging for hospital masks which are needed to presumably save lives. 

This is exactly why the federal government should be buying the masks and setting a fair price for the masks. 175% jump in price is not fair, and if you go back to the 80 cent price Cuomo say the state paid for these masks before the virus, the price has been gouged to the tune of 900% or so. 

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JohnRussell
1  author  JohnRussell    one week ago

"Capitalists" should not be allowed to rob the public just because what is being sold is needed. 

Imagine if we had a libertarian society and a deadly epidemic hit.  Under libertarianism, there is NO control on prices when there is a shortage of needed material.  Yeah eventually a competitor would arise and competition would lower the price, but at what delay to the victims of the disease? 

 
 
 
r.t..b...
1.1  r.t..b...  replied to  JohnRussell @1    one week ago
"Capitalists"

"Carpetbaggers" The lowest of the low.

This is a time when the government should and must enact price controls and hold those who would engage in price gouging accountable to criminal liability. They have the power, but have yet to enact those powers. Powers allowed to mobilize the industries in fighting this pandemic and avoid just this type of behavior.

 
 
 
squiggy
1.2  squiggy  replied to  JohnRussell @1    one week ago

"States typically try to resolve reports not by pursuing fines or criminal charges but by confronting the retailer, which typically apologizes and lowers the price."

Sponsored by Prosecutors Without Balls. Same way they handle illegal gun buyers - yet you want more laws.

 
 
 
WallyW
1.3  WallyW  replied to  JohnRussell @1    one week ago

Don't the states and most large cities have laws against price gouging and the means to enforce those laws?

 
 
 
zuksam
1.4  zuksam  replied to  JohnRussell @1    6 days ago

I'm not sure price controls will work. Why is there a mask shortage, I'd be willing to bet a large percentage of these masks are made in Asia/China so guess who gets first dibs'. Secondly who is doing the price gouging, is it overseas manufacturers and suppliers or is it wholesalers and retailers in the USA? Also retailers and wholesalers usually just markup products at a set % rate like if the masks are normally 50cents they charge 90cents so if the manufacturer in China triples the price to 1.50 then the street price triples to 2.70. While I'm sure there is plenty of Gouging going on it is also likely the prices are being Bid up, if I were a buyer for a hospital and I can't get a necessary product from my supplier because of shortages I'm going to offer him "More Money". He's not going to have to gouge me I'm going to offer him what ever it takes to get the products I need and I'm going to twist his arm to get him to agree to take my money

 
 
 
Cathar
2  Cathar    one week ago

tRump said that the wealthy can get a test because that is the "way of the World." This is the tRump philosophy from t Rump University to tRump steaks. The Grifter King cares only about himself.

 
 
 
Dean Moriarty
2.1  Dean Moriarty  replied to  Cathar @2    one week ago

That’s not what he said. 

 
 
 
zuksam
2.2  zuksam  replied to  Cathar @2    6 days ago

So you don't think that all the Democrat Senators and Congressmen have been tested and will be tested as often as they want ? Trump just told the truth, Rich People get more because they Pay more. You want a Free Government Test and the Rich are willing to pay thousands for that same test, if you want to blame someone blame the doctors who waste tests on healthy people for profit.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
3  Nerm_L    one week ago

Note that Gov. Cuomo pointed fingers at suppliers.  Manufacturers may not have raised their prices.  What is happening is a good example of how middlemen affect the cost of medical care.

Amazing that the capital of unfettered greed complains about their own business model.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
3.1  author  JohnRussell  replied to  Nerm_L @3    one week ago
Note that Gov. Cuomo pointed fingers at suppliers.  Manufacturers may not have raised their prices.

Good addition. 

 
 
 
Drakkonis
3.2  Drakkonis  replied to  Nerm_L @3    6 days ago

It's a little more complicated than simply that, I would think. When you go from supplying an item at the rate of A and then suddenly switch to the much higher rate of B it isn't simply a matter of running the machines that make them at a higher speed. Right now, manufacturers are, presumably, doing whatever they can to increase production to meet demand. Presumably, again, this means that given the nature of the emergency, increasing production to meet demand regardless of cost takes precedence over economic concerns. 

3M is a major manufacturer of protective masks. Prior to the current emergency, demand for masks was fairly predictable and easily planned for. Supply chains for producing their product could be thought out and planned for months in advance. Not so now. Now they have to drastically increase production in order to meet demand. That means that those who supply 3M with the raw materials needed to produce those masks also have to drastically ramp up their production. Such drastic, unplanned changes will undoubtedly cost money. Resources devoted to other areas have to be diverted to making masks. All of this takes money. Especially when it's a sudden, unplanned for event. 

This isn't to say that there isn't price gouging going on. However, to claim it simply because the price has gone up a lot is insufficient evidence to make the charge true. But, at the same time, to expect the price not to change, even significantly, is pretty unrealistic in my opinion. 

 
 
 
Nerm_L
3.2.1  Nerm_L  replied to  Drakkonis @3.2    6 days ago
This isn't to say that there isn't price gouging going on. However, to claim it simply because the price has gone up a lot is insufficient evidence to make the charge true. But, at the same time, to expect the price not to change, even significantly, is pretty unrealistic in my opinion.

Don't manufacturers typically sell wholesale to distributors?  The distributors stock supplies from a number of manufacturers.  I don't believe that hospitals are going to order supplies directly from manufacturers simply because of the variety of supplies being used. 

BTW, I saw a blurb on tonight's news that Columbia Hospital in New York is going through 40,000 masks a day.  There are 62 acute care hospitals in New York.  Do the math.  I'm sure all those hospitals are not consuming the same number (which would be 2.5 million per day) but I wouldn't be surprised that New York City, alone, is consuming more than 1 million masks per day.  At that rate, supplying only New York would require a production capacity of 700 respirators per minute or 12 respirators per second. 

And the rest of the country is going to need medical supplies, too.  Expanded testing is going to be competing for the same medical supplies.

 
 
 
zuksam
3.2.2  zuksam  replied to  Drakkonis @3.2    6 days ago

Most of these manufacturers are probably running three shifts normally so the only thing they can do is work weekends and that only increases production 40%. I'd also like to know what percentage of mask manufacturing is in China/Asia Vs. domestic manufacturing since the Chinese/Asian supply chains will have definitely dried up as those countries are using all of their domestic production for themselves. (I just looked it up and apparently half of the Worlds Medical Mask production is located just in China). Who knows where the rest are made but it's likely most are made in other Asian Nations.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
3.2.3  Nerm_L  replied to  zuksam @3.2.2    6 days ago
Most of these manufacturers are probably running three shifts normally so the only thing they can do is work weekends and that only increases production 40%. I'd also like to know what percentage of mask manufacturing is in China/Asia Vs. domestic manufacturing since the Chinese/Asian supply chains will have definitely dried up as those countries are using all of their domestic production for themselves. (I just looked it up and apparently half of the Worlds Medical Mask production is located just in China). Who knows where the rest are made but it's likely most are made in other Asian Nations.

Based on tidbits of reporting sprinkled across the news, 3M is ramping up production to 35 million N95 respirators per month.  Honeywell has brought another production line into service and is also planning to produce 35 million N95 respirator per month.  GE has announced it is converting its filter production to production of masks which, I think, are loop masks.

ABC news reported that New York Presbyterian Hospital at Columbia University is consuming 40,000 masks per day.   The problem is that consumption has increased 100 fold.  Increasing production 10 fold won't meet that demand.  The United States does not possess sufficient manufacturing capacity to supply a 100 fold increase demand.  Even the demands of World War II required time to build up production capacity.

The shortage is being created by adherence to regulations, guidelines, and procedures that were developed to address normal, non-crisis conditions.  The pandemic is not following the regulations and procedures.

Production is being increased by a large amount.  But consumption has increased by a larger amount.  At the current rate of consumption, New York City alone would burn through a one year stockpile in less than one month.  Business as usual procedures cannot accommodate the current situation.

 
 
 
Tacos!
4  Tacos!    one week ago

This isn't covered under some kind of price-gouging statute?

 
 
 
Freedom Warrior
5  Freedom Warrior    one week ago

The issue isn't the cost. It's whether you are getting any at all.

 
 
 
Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
6  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom    one week ago

Donald Trump owns $250,000.00 in shares of Gilead Sciences , the company currently testing the effects of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine might have on Covid-19 patients.  He can't even pronounce the two drugs, but I bet he can pronounce Gilead Sciences all day long. 

In addition:

President Donald Trump is pushing the Food and Drug Administration to speed up approval of antiviral therapies that could combat the coronavirus, despite warnings that untested treatments could harm Americans infected with COVID-19.

In the short-term, Trump has directed the FDA to “slash red tape like nobody’s ever done before” in order to make treatments already approved for other uses available for COVID-19 patients.  Source

What a surprise.

 
 
 
r.t..b...
6.1  r.t..b...  replied to  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom @6    one week ago
What a surprise.

Or not.

Does this pass the test for prosecuting insider trading (manipulation)?  People have died in Africa taking chloroquine outside prescribed measures. 

His inadequacies know no bounds.

 
 
 
XDm9mm
6.1.1  XDm9mm  replied to  r.t..b... @6.1    one week ago
People have died in Africa taking chloroquine outside prescribed measures.

People have died everywhere taking ANY medications "outside prescribed measures".  Is there a point to be made?

 
 
 
r.t..b...
6.1.2  r.t..b...  replied to  XDm9mm @6.1.1    one week ago
Is there a point to be made?

In this particular instance, asked and answered.

 
 
 
Tacos!
6.1.3  Tacos!  replied to  r.t..b... @6.1    one week ago
outside prescribed measures

That's a pretty important detail.

 
 
 
Split Personality
6.1.4  Split Personality  replied to  Tacos! @6.1.3    5 days ago

It very easy to take to much.

One minute you feel completely normal,

the next day your vision is effed up.

if you continue to take it,

it can lead to renal failure = death.

French doctors also mixed it with other drugs

in  a sort of wtf attitude taking any chance for success.

Gupta said the sample was too small but 11% went into ICU with side effects and 1 died (4%).

 
 
 
Freedom Warrior
6.2  Freedom Warrior  replied to  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom @6    one week ago

Not surprising  to me that one would take extraordinary measures to combat this pandemic.

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
6.3  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom @6    one week ago
hydroxychloroquine

That drug can cause schizophrenia. My cousin took it before going to Africa and developed temporary schizophrenia.

 
 
 
Tacos!
6.4  Tacos!  replied to  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom @6    one week ago

Are you aware that this was not Trump's idea? Actual doctors gave it to actual patients who actually got better. That's worth investigating isn't it? And time is a factor, isn't it?

 
 
 
Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
6.4.1  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom  replied to  Tacos! @6.4    6 days ago
Are you aware that this was not Trump's idea? Actual doctors gave it to actual patients who actually got better. That's worth investigating isn't it? And time is a factor, isn't it?

Look, the man can't spell hamburger, and suddenly he's touting the names of these two drugs in every other sentence.  Mixxed results from 24 patients isn't enough for Trump, or anyone else for that matter, to be swinging from a chandelier with a megaphone.  It took me 10 minutes of research to determine the reasoning behind Trump's uninformed opinion. 

Most importantly, there isn't a healthcare professional on this planet who is saying these drugs are anywhere near ready to use on Covid-19 patients on a wide-scale basis.  

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a clash of gut instinct versus science, President Donald Trump and the government’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, are politely but publicly sparing over whether a malaria drug would work to treat people with coronavirus disease.

Trump is clinging to his feeling that a malaria drug widely available could be the answer-in-waiting to an outbreak spreading around the nation, shutting down major parts of the economy, and posing the biggest challenge he has faced as president. Calmly and quietly, Fauci insists that the science is not yet there to validate Trump’s hope. Neither man directly challenged the other.

The extraordinary scene played out on national television both Friday and Saturday during White House briefings on the outbreak. Anxious for answers, Americans heard conflicting views.

Reporters asked both men — first Fauci, then Trump — if a malaria drug called hydroxychloroquine could be used to prevent COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. A day earlier, when Fauci wasn’t with him at that briefing, Trump had called attention to the drug.

On Friday, Fauci took the reporter’s question and got right to the point.
“No,” he said. “The answer … is no.  Source

Sorry, but Trump's 'gut feeling' regarding this matter is fueled by his own interests.  Dr. Fauci's statements are fueled by his expertise in the field of infectious diseases and a sincere concern for the health of this country's citizens.  

 

 
 
 
r.t..b...
6.4.2  r.t..b...  replied to  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom @6.4.1    6 days ago
Trump's 'gut feeling' regarding this matter is fueled by his own interests.

This should come as no surprise as that has been the modus operandi his entire life. The frightening fact is the shocking number of those whom have convinced themselves otherwise.

 
 
 
igknorantzrulz
6.4.3  igknorantzrulz  replied to  r.t..b... @6.4.2    6 days ago

just another one of those few thousand and counting unrelated coincidences, of course.

 
 
 
r.t..b...
6.4.4  r.t..b...  replied to  igknorantzrulz @6.4.3    6 days ago
one of those few thousand and counting unrelated coincidences

to paraphrase...fool me once, shame on you; fool me a few few thousand times and maybe we are co-dependent.

 
 
 
Tacos!
6.4.5  Tacos!  replied to  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom @6.4.1    6 days ago

So we should ignore it, not investigate it, and stop talking about it?

 
 
 
Split Personality
6.4.6  Split Personality  replied to  Tacos! @6.4.5    5 days ago

As Gupta and Fauci have cautioned, they (we) can't tell if the drugs made a difference or it was just a mild case.  More large scale testing needed.

 
 
 
Tacos!
6.4.7  Tacos!  replied to  Split Personality @6.4.6    5 days ago
More large scale testing needed.

Absolutely. What I object to is people acting like it was Trump's idea and therefore, insane, and medical researchers shouldn't even consider it.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
7  Buzz of the Orient    6 days ago

Chinese mainland billionaire Jack Ma donated a million masks and a half million testing kits to the USA.  I wouldn't be surprised if someone tried to make a profit on them.  Maybe Trump could apply a tariff on them.

 
 
 
Dean Moriarty
7.1  Dean Moriarty  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @7    6 days ago

He is trying to present himself as a nice guy just like the Corleone family did in The Godfather as good catholic people. Behind the scenes he has been identified as a member of the communist party. 

 
 
 
zuksam
7.1.1  zuksam  replied to  Dean Moriarty @7.1    6 days ago
He is trying to present himself as a nice guy just like the Corleone family did

Just like Bill Gates or Warren Buffett, they donate money to worthy causes but they are ruthless businessmen.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
7.1.2  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Dean Moriarty @7.1    5 days ago

Yeah, tell Jack Ma to shove his "commie masks" up his ass - and make sure you don't use one".  Trump's okay, though, for fanning the flames of xenophobia and racial hatred these days.

 
 
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