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D&D and the rising pandemic


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Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
The case will probably depend on whether the emergency approval process of the C19 vaccines is considered legally equivalent to the regular vaccine approval process. That’s the only hole I see in the case.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
The article says it put the guy in an "impossible position". Says his was an "informed medical position". What malarkey.

You want a job in public safety? Then you have to act in accordance with the needs of public safety - which includes public health.
I agree. It will be interesting to see how the case plays out, though.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
The case will probably depend on whether the emergency approval process of the C19 vaccines is considered legally equivalent to the regular vaccine approval process. That’s the only hole I see in the case.
I've heard that a lot of the reason it moved so quickly was that 1) a lot of research had been done on Covid vaccines prior to the pandemic, so they had a strong base of work to jump off of for Covid 19, and 2) that the emergency process let them perform a whole lot of red tape steps that would normally have to be done sequentially, simultaneously, so they saved a ton of time there as well.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Pretty much.

Even though no coronavirus vaccine had progressed all the way through the regular process to approval, the vaccine prototypes for SARS and MERS were very far along when the diseases retreated from view. Those formulas and that science gave researchers advantages starting the mRNA vaccine research for C19.

Plus, there had been a LOT of discussion about how to handle pandemics between the major world governments. Some of the ideas- like temporary or permanent abatement of relevant international IP laws in regards to vaccine research- had been floated before. Others about sharing research/production tech, etc. probably got aggressively asserted as being best in the big picture.

(Note: I do NOT know the details of what was actually agreed to.)

So, with the scientists having a bit of a head start, and the politicians figutin out how to grease the skids- or at least, how to get certain barriers out of the way- we’ve never been in a better position to develop vaccines faster. At least, for the major outbreaksl. Orphan drugs will probably still exist,
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
So, with the scientists having a bit of a head start, and the politicians figutin out how to grease the skids- or at least, how to get certain barriers out of the way- we’ve never been in a better position to develop vaccines faster. At least, for the major outbreaksl. Orphan drugs will probably still exist,

As a purely practical matter, removing patent protections may "grease the skids" this time1. However, I think doing so removes the most powerful incentive drug companies have to engage in development. Next time (and there will be a next time) they will be less inclined to bother with rapid development of time-critical drugs.


1. Whether it actually would speed matters is open for debate - the supply chain for tools and materials may collapse if a bunch of other producers enter the market.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
As a purely practical matter, removing patent protections may "grease the skids" this time1. However, I think doing so removes the most powerful incentive drug companies have to engage in development. Next time (and there will be a next time) they will be less inclined to bother with rapid development of time-critical drugs.
I think you would be correct if the drug companies were funding it all themselves. AstraZeneca got more than a billion dollars in aid from the U.S. government to develop their vaccine. Other companies received huge amounts as well. Without having to front the titanic money investment in developing the drugs, they will still reap huge profits and that's all that really matters to them. If we do the same next time, so will they.
1. Whether it actually would speed matters is open for debate - the supply chain for tools and materials may collapse if a bunch of other producers enter the market.
I don't think they will collapse. They'll go to their limit, though, and then the smaller producers who can't pay to have their product moved will fail. The bigger companies will get their product out and the rest won't.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I think you would be correct if the drug companies were funding it all themselves. AstraZeneca got more than a billion dollars in aid from the U.S. government to develop their vaccine. Other companies received huge amounts as well.

Pfizer being a major exception - they didn't take any money for development, only pre-orders for production.

That they took government money does not mean they didn't also heavily invest their own resources - so we shouldn't speak as if this meant it was free for the biotech firms in question.

Government funding isn't new, or specific to this vaccine. Governments put investment into all sorts of technology development, all the time. It is a regular part of doing business in technology development. These funds are handed out with agreement on who owns the IP attached. So, these companies took the money and engaged in work with expectations about the future results, and is part of the balance sheets that drive their choices.

There's a Vaderesque, "I am altering the deal. Pray I do not alter it any further," to this.

I don't think they will collapse. They'll go to their limit, though, and then the smaller producers who can't pay to have their product moved will fail. The bigger companies will get their product out and the rest won't.

So, let me be clear what I mean by "collapse". If seven companies try to draw on supplies for three different components that aren't up to it, you are likely to have the issue that none of the companies get all of what they need for all the components. Company 1 gets all of component A they need, but B gets poached by company 2, and so on. This means that all the companies become highly inefficient at production. High levels of production requires planned, balanced sourcing and consumption of elements.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Pfizer being a major exception - they didn't take any money for development, only pre-orders for production.

That they took government money does not mean they didn't also heavily invest their own resources - so we shouldn't speak as if this meant it was free for the biotech firms in question.

Government funding isn't new, or specific to this vaccine. Governments put investment into all sorts of technology development, all the time. It is a regular part of doing business in technology development. These funds are handed out with agreement on who owns the IP attached. So, these companies took the money and engaged in work with expectations about the future results, and is part of the balance sheets that drive their choices.

There's a Vaderesque, "I am altering the deal. Pray I do not alter it any further," to this.
Hmm. I hadn't seen the new yesterday and thought that patent protection removal was something agreed to as part of the money given. Yeah, I don't agree with the way this is being done.
So, let me be clear what I mean by "collapse". If seven companies try to draw on supplies for three different components that aren't up to it, you are likely to have the issue that none of the companies get all of what they need for all the components. Company 1 gets all of component A they need, but B gets poached by company 2, and so on. This means that all the companies become highly inefficient at production. High levels of production requires planned, balanced sourcing and consumption of elements.
I didn't understand that you meant pre-production and not post production, but I don't think it matters to my argument. Companies say 1-3, the largest, will pay more to get all of components A, B and C that they need and companies 4-7 will not be able to get much at all. The big fish will make out well and the smaller fish will suffer.
 

Ryujin

Hero
This is the second lockdown, at least, for this same shift. They just don't learn. A massive amount of our international mail/parcels go through this sorting facility, during this very overnight shift, so it has a huge impact. "Retirement party." Great.

 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Hmm. I hadn't seen the new yesterday and thought that patent protection removal was something agreed to as part of the money given. Yeah, I don't agree with the way this is being done.

I didn't understand that you meant pre-production and not post production, but I don't think it matters to my argument. Companies say 1-3, the largest, will pay more to get all of components A, B and C that they need and companies 4-7 will not be able to get much at all. The big fish will make out well and the smaller fish will suffer.

My point is that no, that's not how materials flow. They don't pre-organize to go to the people who have more money.

You can see this, for example, with Personal Protective Equipment - when demand for masks, gloves, face shields, and such suddenly rose, it was NOT the case that the hospitals with more money could get what the needed, and the others didn't. It turned out that pretty much everyone wound up short.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Based on prior discussions on the topic, I believe the IP waiver is intended to be a temporary measure. It’s designed to decentralize production away from developed nations to poorer ones, in order to let them produce their own stockpiles, and mitigate the problem of “vaccine hoarding” by producer nations. That gets us out of the pandemic stage more quickly, and with fewer mutations to combat, so the theory goes.

Once we’re past the imminent crisis, the waiver is terminated, and non-authorized production has to end.

Of course, genies don’t neccessarily go back into their bottles that easily...
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Addendum:

I’m not a patents guy- copyright was my thing- but as I recall, the major IP treaties had provisions under which vital technologies (like pharmaceuticals) could be used without permission/license in extreme cases while bypassing patent laws. But those clauses take time and money to successfully invoke. And in a pandemic, both of those are rarer commodities.

So these IP waivers are not without precedent. Really, they’re just bypassing a lot of procedural steps.

(Again, the caveat, I may be misremembering or the laws may have changed.)
 
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Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I’m not a patents guy- copyright was my thing- but as I recall, the major IP treaties had provisions under which vital technologies (like pharmaceuticals) could be used without permission/license in extreme cases while bypassing patent laws. But those clauses take time and money to successfully invoke. And in a pandemic, both of those are rarer commodities.

Okay, that's consistent with what I heard bout talks with the WTO.

May be for naught, as the EU wasn't yet behind this measure anyway.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Mom dislikes the fit of regular masks and isn’t all that comfy in the N95s either. To her, the regular masks fit too close to her mouth, etc.

So I picked up The Cool Turtle mask inserts for her to try.

Verdict: they’re crap. Their “one size fits all” claim is laughable at best. At 5’7”, I’m not a particularly large human. The insert only covered both nose & mouth as long as I didn’t open my mouth. Say one word, and either it slipped down off my nose or the bottom wound up inside my lower lip. They’re not necessary, but the little clips that attached to the folds of a paper mask would not stay in place- attach the second one, the first would pop off.
 

Ryujin

Hero
We once tried to get together on Skype in 2011, but no one liked the connection, no one liked the sound - everything was terrible, you know. In 2015, they also tried to get together, but already in a voice chat in DC. It also turned out to be stupid: no one could follow the dice falls, whether the person was lying, everyone did not trust each other, during the game, everyone argued a lot, and the master can not calm anyone down. It's better to play face-to-face, with jokes, drinks, and the ability to draw something, when each of us can add notes on the map. Of course, we threw photos into Discord, but it wasn't like that. So I was very, very upset to realize that the pandemic had ruined all the role-playing games, and we started to gather a lot less. I found out on dndguide.net, are there special platforms for the game where you can watch the dice fall or set it up in the game, can you create rooms, secret chats, can you set up a map, etc. I always want everything to be natural and to be preserved.
Using a virtual tabletop, like Roll20 or Fantasy Grounds, removes a lot of the distrust aspect from playing. You're rolling virtual dice that are based on your character template, with at the very least the DM being able to see how the numbers were generated. The calculations are built in and all that has to occasionally be done, is situational modifiers. There's no, "I rolled a critical! (WinkWink)" going on.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
It also turned out to be stupid: no one could follow the dice falls, whether the person was lying, everyone did not trust each other, during the game, everyone argued a lot, and the master can not calm anyone down.

If you are in such a place of distrust where there's fear of cheating and arguing... the communication platform may not be the root issue.
 

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