According to this, the solar roadways that have so intrigued me are hogwash.  I hope that’s wrong; but in the meantime, the Koreans seem to have come up with something that does work: solar panels that double as highway medians and triple as a sort of lean-to to protect bike riders from sun and rain.  Check it out.


As posted kast month, it’s not just the patented drugs that carry crazy prices.  The makers of generics just keep hiking prices, too — “an average of 448 percent between July 2013 and July 2014” — a single year! — according to Senator Bernie Sanders, citing federal records at a hearing covered by ABC News.

Our own Chris Brown of Aristides Capital offers what may be a partial solution:

“It’s not a cure all but it would certainly help incrementally.  Why don’t the two of us start a generic drug company making lower-cost versions of generics which have gone goofy in price (like the digoxin that one of these articles mentions)?  Well, part of the reason is that — aside from having to buy a factory and get it compliant, etc. — the FDA user fees to get a new generic approved are in the 7 figures.  That is a nice, large barrier to entry for would-be additional entrants to the market.  Seems like we could just write a regulation that, if there were fewer than five generic versions of a drug being manaufactured, or if the price had gone up by x% over the prior 12, 24, or 60 months, those FDA user fees would be waived for any new applicant wishing to compete.

“Of course, CMS (Medicare and Medicaid) being able to negotiate drug prices would be even better and even more important. But there may be too many politicians friendly to pharma for that to ever happen. CMS should not only have the ability to negotiate, but we should also have an absolute standard in terms of $ we are willing to spend for quality-adjusted life-year saved.  If a drug is priced at a cost above its benefit to society, it’s not in the common interest to pay for it.  Doing so takes money that could provide more benefit.  I’m sure there would be screams of socialism and death panels, but hopefully somehow the message can be equally loud that it is not the role of government to collect extra taxes so that the shareholders of Valeant can continue to grow wealthy off the backs of the middle class.”

I love good ideas.  I’ll try to think of someone who knows someone to suggest this to.



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