Big Pharma vs. Big Insurance


2015-02-08 – One of the knocks on the widely accepted wisdom that #vaccineswork is that this knowledge is corrupted because of Big Pharma. The idea is that Big Pharma falsified the vaccine-workiness because they make a ton of money selling vaccines. (This ignores the fact that Big Pharma also makes money selling products to treat you when you are sick, but let’s move on.)

I’ve got two words to say to folks who believe this: Big Insurance.

Big Insurance doesn’t pay for stuff that makes us sick. Heck, they barely pay for stuff that makes us well. Big Insurance’s interest is completely the opposite of Big Pharma. But Big Insurance pays for vaccines. Not only do they pay for vaccines, they don’t even demand that we pay a co-pay or deductible or anything if we get a vaccine. Is that because they go all squishy when they think of Louis Pasteur or Jonas Salk?

No. It’s because vaccines are so effective that, if they shell out 50 bucks for a dose of the MMR vaccine, they save $250 in the average cost of care down the road. (These are real figures, rounded off for simplicity. Look them up.) So let’s put these figures in financial terms. Big Insurance invests $50 but makes back $250 in savings. They make 500% on the deal. Do you know of many investments that pay 500%?

Now, you might say. $250 in care doesn’t sound so bad. Why are people excited? Well $250 is an average, the run-of-the-mill case. Not everyone who gets a vaccine would get the disease without it. Costs saved on those people are zero. Some people would have mild cases. Costs saved on those people are less than $250. But if you have an average of $250 and some people cost zero and some very little, you’re talking about a lot of people who would need way more than $250 worth of care. A lot of people who would be very ill.

Who cares about pain and suffering? I’m talking dollars and sense! Big Insurance saves big money when people don’t get sick.

The reason I’m writing about Big Insurance is that a lot of the anti-vaxxer crowd are turned off by big business. They don’t like Big Pharma. If Big Pharma wants you to get your kids vaccinated, it must be a bad thing to do.

Good grief!

Big Pharma is big because they sell stuff that people need. Once in a while there is a problem. But they don’t rake in obscene profits selling stuff that makes people sick. Yes, they often demand a ransom for their product. But they get away with that because their products make us well.

And vaccines are on the high end of the effectiveness spectrum. Sometimes vaccines eradicate entire classes of disease. That’s why Big Insurance is willing to pay for it in a Big Insurance way. It’s an extremely good bet.

Our society rewards business. Immensely. Period.

If you think that’s bad, does that mean that the product is bad? Or is it a system that allows them to charge extortionate prices?

Some folks think it’s the product. So they expose their kids and other people’s kids to dread diseases because they are mad at big business.

Do you think there might be a less self-destructive way to express a political belief?

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