Doping and Market Economics

Here's an in interesting thought.

Doping products are designed, built and manufactured for sick and infirm people. That's why EPO was designed and made, same with all these other drugs that athletes take, actually. They went through clinical trials before hitting the market. Most of these drugs when they hit the marketplace are tested just enough to get approval, and expensive.

But along that way something else happens. They are "stolen" by healthy athletes, who guinea pig themselves in non-controlled situations. While this is not what the drugs were designed for, there can be no doubt that they are consumed quite a bit by athletes across the planet.

So, the question/thought is this. By doping, are athletes actually helping the pharmaceutical companies, and the patients who desperately need the drugs, by not only testing themselves free of charge, but by creating an larger market, thus driving the manufacturing costs down?

This does not take into the account that there is a real possibility that some of these drugs are indeed drained from supplies that were intended for people who really need them to stay alive, and may not get them. That's another, much more serious topic worthy of discussion, and maybe it's own thread.
 
Mar 11, 2009
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EPO sales soared thanks to doping.

I used to work in a biotechnology start-up and we were looking at making blood donations (the famous packed cells) for hospitals last longer. Not a scientist myself, I still visited a conference on haematology once for education and was fascinated to see the sales figures for EPO, the proportion of world-wide sales that went to Italy* was jaw-dropping. Clearly Italy does not have higher levels of chemotherapy or renal failure, a lot of this was for widespread doping and I'm sure it had an impact on J&J's bottom line. That's why clandestine factories in China and Eastern Europe are making copy-cat EPO molecules for sale.

But as for these products being widespread clinical trials, I doubt any company will rely on these, they have no control over the dosages and almost no feedback. Like I've pointed out on here, EPO comes with the FDA black box warning but I doubt any riders are making an informed choice, the doctor promising them performance increases is biased by the illicit earnings and commissions.

* I've tried to search for it on the internet to corroborate it but can't find this.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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I dont believe dope affects the industry much...lance helps create funding for races no doubt... and Amgen has used the cycling/doping/epo media publicity to run a doped pro race and help the state of california over a week economically. Helps them everybody's happy.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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In pro sports BIG MONEY drives it. Whatever equals winning is whats done. Dead athletes are quickly forgotten and replaceable.

After a few months or so people will forget about a death. Positive drug tests are more pesky tho...
 
Apr 20, 2009
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People who aren't willing to divulge what they are using are lousy test subjects. Besides, they won't report anything until they have to, for the most serious side effects.

No, the only good part for patients is that the dopers make it more profitably to introduce these new drugs.
 
Stani Kl&#233 said:
EPO sales soared thanks to doping.

I used to work in a biotechnology start-up and we were looking at making blood donations (the famous packed cells) for hospitals last longer. Not a scientist myself, I still visited a conference on haematology once for education and was fascinated to see the sales figures for EPO, the proportion of world-wide sales that went to Italy* was jaw-dropping. Clearly Italy does not have higher levels of chemotherapy or renal failure, a lot of this was for widespread doping and I'm sure it had an impact on J&J's bottom line. That's why clandestine factories in China and Eastern Europe are making copy-cat EPO molecules for sale.
Nice Info.

I never would have guessed that the population of the doping athletes would be able to offset the balance in the EPO market sales as compared to the population of cancer treatment. Now, those numbers could be possibly be coming down since a lot of athletes are now going in the "blood doping" direction, at least in cycling. I don't know about the EPO usage in other sports.
 

Dr. Maserati

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Jun 19, 2009
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BigBoat said:
In pro sports BIG MONEY drives it. Whatever equals winning is whats done. Dead athletes are quickly forgotten and replaceable.

After a few months or so people will forget about a death. Positive drug tests are more pesky tho...
+1

One other interesting thought - since the introduction of the bio-passport dopers are now forced to stay within a very narrow band thus getting a smaller bang for their buck.
Could it be argued that the less scrupulous 'doctors' are not getting the big bucks they could command before in the days of fluctuating crits?
 
Picture this as a commercial for Amgen:

Lance and a cancer patient standing side by side, slowly walking in the park. The cancer patient does a voice over, while highlights of Lances in the background play:

"With the cost of prescription drugs so high, there was no way I could afford EPO. But thanks to Lance Armstrong and his friends buying so much of it, it helped drive the cost down to where I could afford it again. Thanks Lance!"

:cool:
 
Mar 11, 2009
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Go back and look at the sports results from the mid-1990s, you will see Italians making significant improvements across a range of sports. Athletics, rowing, track cycling, and above all football. There have been documented cases of organised doping within some Italian clubs, indeed I remember the case of one goalkeeper (if you don't know about soccer, here is a video of a goalkeeper in a training session) with a haematocrit above 60%. It almost makes me laugh but it's lucky that people didn't die.
 
Stani Kléber said:
EPO sales soared thanks to doping.

I used to work in a biotechnology start-up and we were looking at making blood donations (the famous packed cells) for hospitals last longer. Not a scientist myself, I still visited a conference on haematology once for education and was fascinated to see the sales figures for EPO, the proportion of world-wide sales that went to Italy* was jaw-dropping. Clearly Italy does not have higher levels of chemotherapy or renal failure, a lot of this was for widespread doping and I'm sure it had an impact on J&J's bottom line. That's why clandestine factories in China and Eastern Europe are making copy-cat EPO molecules for sale.
This would seem to indicate that doping is rampant in amateur sport because there are not enough pros to have that big of an effect.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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yep, I read the numbers about the EPO seizures in Denmark. I just could not see it credible the customs could seize so many units. I just have a hard time, thinking there would be more than 100 cyclists in Denmark who would use, and 100 Nordic skiiers, and 100 from T&F and marathon, plus 100 miscellaneous.

But the sample seizure suggested it was a market 1000 times larger. Seemed implausible. I do not know who uses it. Can't be parking lot crit can it. They would struggle to exhaust their O2 capacity, because they are not strong enough athletes and well trained enough, to make their current O2 the main limiting factor.
 
In D!ck Pound's book (haven't read it, don't plan to) he says:

"About eighty percent of the EPO produced by the pharmaceuticals is not used for therapeutic purposes, but for sport. In 2004 there were $11.8 billion in sales of EPO worldwide-some 236 million doses. Only about $1.5 billion was for therapeutic use." Link here.

Not sure where he gets that info, as this is a web screen capture, but it's interesting. Perhaps what's more interesting is the incredible dollar figure of $11.8 billion (with a "b") wow!
 
Jun 15, 2009
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Alpe d'Huez said:
Here's an in interesting thought.

Doping products are designed, built and manufactured for sick and infirm people. That's why EPO was designed and made, same with all these other drugs that athletes take, actually. They went through clinical trials before hitting the market. Most of these drugs when they hit the marketplace are tested just enough to get approval, and expensive.

But along that way something else happens. They are "stolen" by healthy athletes, who guinea pig themselves in non-controlled situations. While this is not what the drugs were designed for, there can be no doubt that they are consumed quite a bit by athletes across the planet.

So, the question/thought is this. By doping, are athletes actually helping the pharmaceutical companies, and the patients who desperately need the drugs, by not only testing themselves free of charge, but by creating an larger market, thus driving the manufacturing costs down?

This does not take into the account that there is a real possibility that some of these drugs are indeed drained from supplies that were intended for people who really need them to stay alive, and may not get them. That's another, much more serious topic worthy of discussion, and maybe it's own thread.
Epo products selling 9 times more then needed. Means 8/9 of Epo go to non-patients. Got that research from the last great cycling book (Doping im Radsport). Unlucky, i think its only printed in german (many riders, trainers, docs etc. speak out). It covers everything from A to Z of the dark side.
 
BigBoat said:
In pro sports BIG MONEY drives it. Whatever equals winning is whats done. Dead athletes are quickly forgotten and replaceable.

After a few months or so people will forget about a death. Positive drug tests are more pesky tho...
Machiavelli couldn't have stated it better. :D But it's all so very true...
 
Jun 3, 2009
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My wife with a Phd in biochemistry reckons that I should get over my concern about doping in cycling as the large use of it (in other sports as well) helps sick people by allowing more research and development by the companies. Not just in PEDs but other drugs too.

Perhaps this is why they are reluctant to put markers in.

Usage doesn't help with testing but it does with dollars.
 
blackcat said:
yep, I read the numbers about the EPO seizures in Denmark. I just could not see it credible the customs could seize so many units. I just have a hard time, thinking there would be more than 100 cyclists in Denmark who would use, and 100 Nordic skiiers, and 100 from T&F and marathon, plus 100 miscellaneous.

But the sample seizure suggested it was a market 1000 times larger. Seemed implausible. I do not know who uses it. Can't be parking lot crit can it. They would struggle to exhaust their O2 capacity, because they are not strong enough athletes and well trained enough, to make their current O2 the main limiting factor.
Maybe they assist other countries. You know, like Austria was doing with the Human Plasma.
 
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