Friday, March 10, 2006

How High Can It Go?

When news of the worrying bird flu was panicking the media, a salient feature of the story was burbling up from the netherworld; unspeakable, ghoulish truths of various Bush administration officials' ties to corporate America were wriggling under the surface, as the avian influenza storm raged across the surface of an over-warmed media. The Bonehead Compendium related sometime ago:
Tamiflu was developed and produced by a company called Gilead Sciences, a company that once called Donald Rumsfeld its president and Rumsfeld still owns a large amount of that company's stock. With the government purchase of 20 million doses of the drug -- at a $100 a dose -- the stock and profit of Gilead will certainly climb significantly. Now that the panic has been established, a concerned public can see no argument in the US government spending $2 billion for a drug that appears to have "questionable" efficacy and may, in fact, cause some patients serious problems.
I followed up things a bit here as a property rights battle was flaring up between Roche and Gilead, sparked, no doubt, by the climbing stock price. Gilead prevailed in negotations and some agreement was reached back in October of 2005.

Despite recent reports of avian flu popping up all over the place, though still not having made the jump to humans, which is something that may take quite a long while to occur, if it ever does (remember, the newly-minted name Avian flu is just a relabelling of the tired, old chicken flu story from the late '90's), the media frenzy here in the States seems to have abated somewhat.

Well, not having heard much about this lately, I wondered how that "superstock" of Gilead's was fairing lately, just out of curiosity. A short google away and ... wow! 60 bucks a pop! It was hovering down in the mid-30s back before the media blizzard began.

Rummy is golden. Of course, my cynical mind imagines tactical teams of Rumsfeldian foot soldiers, deployed in various chicken-dense, yet rural and remote reaches of the globe, sticking the odd bird with a shot of the ol' H5N1, just to keep the dream alive.

I know. You're thinking, that's just crazy talk. And I know that. But let me ask you this: if I can think up a scheme like that, do you think Rumsfeld couldn't? That it might be a little too crazy for him?


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