it costs about a billion dollars to bring a drug to market

It is a common complaint that the drug companies charge ten dollars for a pill that costs ten cents to make. People forget that it was the second pill that costs ten cents. As you pointed out, it's only the first pill that costs a billion dollars (actual cost may vary). However, the drug companies have a history of inflating the cost long after the development costs have been recovered. In one case, a drug that was used routinely for veterinary purposes for cows that was sold for around ten cents a dose was found to be effective in treating certain forms of cancer in humans. The pill was "re-engineered" (which means the binding agents were modified to allow a new patent to be taken out) and remarketed at 100 times the cost. This is a common practice when patents are about to expire.

So have leeches, and a whole bunch of folk medicine which has been proven to be either useless or harmful.

True, but some of these treatments were based on superstition rather than evidence. Aspirin, for example, was developed as a result of centuries of use (willow bark tea) by native Americans as an effective treatment for pain. It was determined to be an evidence-based rather than anecdotal treatment and the long term effects of its use were easily observable.

taxpayers aren't willing to pay for it

Taxpayers do not pay for drug research unless you count the tax cuts and subsidies that are given to almost all big industries, not just the pharmaceutical industry. There are companies that make billions in profits and still pay negative taxes.

Not really, just a bureaucratic nightmare. There have been lots of experiments using various illegal drugs (cocaine, LSD, ecstasy, pot etc..). Many show promising results -> almost all illegal drugs can be useful as medicines for the right conditions (the question is really are they better than the alternatives?).

For years, heroin was the most effective (in some cases the only effective) drug for treatment of chronic pain in terminal cancer patients. The reason (beyond all belief) given by the government for refusing to make it legal for medical use for these cases was that the patients ran the risk of becoming addicted. Un-freaking-believable. For years, marijuana was by far the most effective anti-nausea treatment for chemotherapy patients but continued to be illegal.

Incidentally, hemp, and also marijuana, was originally outlawed because hemp (easily grown) was a threat to the profits of the pulp and paper industry as well as the newly-founded synthetic fiber and plastics industries.

Although as with all medicines it is preferable to purify the active ingredients rather than use the raw form because it is easier to control the dosage for optimal effect (different cannabis plants have different concentrations of THC so it is hard to determine the exact dosage in a given quantity) and to reduce unwanted side-effects from unnecessary contaminants (e.g. many of the chemicals in cannabis smoke are likely to be carcinogenic like those in tobacco smoke).

It would certainly be preferable to the drug companies who would then charge a premium for the supposed "value added". I have several friends with a long history of recreational use and they have no trouble determining their optimal dose. While marijuana does, indeed, contain some of the same contaminants as tobacco, studies have shown that habitual use may actually increase resistance to lung cancer.

As for tobacco, let's have a look at what the tobacco industry does deliberately (while keeping tobacco use legal)

  1. they add bronchodilators to enhance nicotine absorption
  2. they vary the levels of nicotine to increase addiction and use
  3. they add sugars and acetaldehyde to enhance addiction
  4. they add ammonia compounds to increase nicotine absorption

Part of the reason the pharmaceutical industry has because so ethically reprehensible in recent years is because they have already picked all the low hanging fruit. Most common conditions have some kind of drug available to treat it (the patents on which are soon to or have already expired), so it is harder for drug companies to come up with something better that they can still make money off of to support their massive R & D programs. In addition the only conditions lacking treatments are those that have proven very difficult to find an effective treatment for. More and more companies are giving up on trying to find drugs for various conditions because they see no way to make a profit on it (eg. Alzheimer's disease, novel antibiotics).

The Australian box jellyfish has a survival rate from its sting is almost 0, death follows in 4 minuets.

commented: Thank you for getting us back on track. +0

Police across the country are increasingly monitoring car licenses plates, compiling giant databases of ordinary citizens and their daily comings and goings.

License plate scanning systems have multiplied across the U.S. over the last decade, funded largely by Homeland Security grants.

A Los Angeles judge ruled in August that city police and sheriff's departments don't have to disclose records from the 3 million plates they scan each week.

Source ...
http://news.yahoo.com/privacy-groups-2nd-hit-license-plate-data-053651824.html

Police across the country are increasingly monitoring car licenses plates, compiling giant databases of ordinary citizens and their daily comings and goings.

Source please, because that sounds like a big F-ing waste of time and money since they can just get the cellphone records to track people that way (lots of people would probably even willingly give that information away if they told them they would use it to find & fix pot holes). Plus 99.9+% of people are completely uninteresting from a security point of view.

The US government has lots of money. If they run out, they simply print more (aka QE). So license plate scanning is actually cheap.

Licence plate scanning is increasingly being done by piggybacking on new systems being used on toll roads. Licence plates are scanned for billing purposes. The drivers using these newer systems no longer require an RFID type device. Technophobes no longer need to slow down to pay a toll manually. Licence plate info that is collected is turned over to government agencies.

Yeah to data minig software and jobs!

And by association, disk drive manufacturing and jobs.

Over half of fast-food "front-line" workers are on some kind of government assistance (foodstamps, etc.) because they don't make enough. The average pay for the president of a fast-food company is $124 million.

From http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/15/us-usa-fastfood-wages-idUSBRE99E0N920131015
"It doesn't matter whether you work or shop at McDonald's or not, the low-wage business model is expensive for everybody," said NELP policy analyst Jack Temple, who worked on the report. "Companies ... are basically pushing off part of their costs on the taxpayers."

This ends up costing U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars a year, the study said.

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau and public benefit programs show 52 percent of fast-food cooks, cashiers and other "front-line" staff had relied on at least one form of public assistance, such as Medicaid, food stamps and the Earned Income Tax Credit program, between 2007 and 2011, researchers at the University of California-Berkeley and the University of Illinois said.

Just another subsidy to the huge corporations.

No one can expect gun shots. If they expect such an incident, then definitely they might be alert. What will be the situation when people do not expect it? Definitely they will be getting up with the first shot, after that they can escape from it. But if the shooter doesn't fail, then we will lose one.

Even highly trained police officers hit their target no more than 30% of the time when firing their guns (source)

The medical term for "brain freeze" is sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia.

Over the past 20 years in Switzerland, health costs have grown 80 percent and insurance premiums 125 percent. However voters this Sunday overwhelmingly voted down a switch from private insurance to a mandatory government run insurance program.

Swiss net salary is 4,950 Swiss francs (4,100 euros, $5,268), health premiums are around 400 francs monthly per adult.

Caesium was discovered in 1860 by German scientists Robert Bunsen and Gustav Kirchhoff. It's a silvery metal with a golden cast that melts at 28.4C (just above room temperature).

It is used in the Caesium Clock at the National Physical Laboratory in the London suburb of Teddington. The clock is accurate to one second in 1.4 million years.

Source:
http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-29476893

The first working electron microscope was built in 1933, two years before the first working parking meter.

When Hobby Lobby filed their now-famous lawsuit to avoid paying for employees' contraception on the basis of religious freedom, the company 401(k) plan had more than $73 million invested in mutual funds that included the following companies:

  1. Teva Pharmaceutical (manufacturer of morning-after pills and IUDs)
  2. Pfizer and AstraZeneca (manufacturer of drugs that induce abortions)
  3. Aetna and Humana (HMOs that cover costs of abortions)

Mammals and flowering plants are equally 'evolved' the first record we have of each of them is from ~160 million years ago.

The use of German was criminalised in 23 US states. For instance you were not allowed to speak it in public, you were not allowed to teach it to a child under the age of 10.

The US Supreme Court overturned those anti-German laws in 1923.

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-29543708

Thomas Midgley Jr, a chemist at General Motors, invented the use of tetraethyl lead, a hideously toxic material, to be used as antiknock agent in gasoline. To add insult to injury, he also invented chlorofluorocarbons to be used in refrigeration that turned out to destroy the Earth's protective ozone layer.

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-29568505

In the US, truth-in-advertising laws do not apply to political ads.

The US experiences about 500 tornadoes each year.

Three young teens from England won the European coding competition in their age group. The competition was sponsored by Microsoft.

There is a large patch of floating plastic waste in the Pacific Ocean north of Hawaii, about twice the size of Texas. It is also referred to as Plastic Soup.

I thought there would be sources included in each Random Fact, I see only text, no resources, no proof. It's like post on 9GAG that said that some gene makes your eye become purple, no menstruation but still fertile. Which was without source and could be easily disproved. Could y'all bump like some sources to your facts? Because I can also say:

Sun is about to colide with Earth, that's why it's getting hotter each year.

Mice multiply so rapidly, in theory a new litter every 3 weeks, that two mice could grow to 100,000 in one year. If they all lived in an area with no people, or cats and other predators of course.

I thought there would be sources included in each Random Fact

Absolutely correct. I just got lazy. Here is the source for the truth in advertising.

commented: Thank you. +0