Froma Harrop- Rx price gouging a product of our political system

If Hollywood had created Martin Shkreli as the monster from Wall Street, we would have accused it of unfair characterization. But Shkreli — a 32-year-old hedge fund director in T-shirts, dabbler in the punk rock music world — has saved Tinseltown the trouble.

Shkreli has also done the American people a service by showing in high def how the pharmaceutical industry gouges us. The pharmaceutical industry is angry with him for the same reason.

Drugmakers prefer a subtler approach. Do it quietly and with a touch more nuance. For example, the day Valeant Pharmaceuticals acquired two heart drugs, it raised the prices for them by only 525 percent and 212 percent.

That was a model of self-control next to Shkreli's instant 5,455 percent price hike on a 62-year-old lifesaving drug. This wasn't a good visual for the industry. The audio wasn't so hot, either.

To recap, Shkreli's startup company recently bought the marketing rights to Daraprim and proceeded to raise the price from $13.50 a pill to $750 a pill. (It used to cost $1 a pill.) Daraprim is often the last hope for cancer patients and others with weak immune systems suffering from parasitic infections.

Some Shkreli decoders explained that his drug company raised prices to recoup the $55 million it had just spent for the rights to sell Daraprim. Thing is, the $55 million acquisition price for a drug serving a relatively small number of patients seemed justified by the belief that one could raise the per-pill cost more than fiftyfold overnight. You can only get away with that in the United States, but we're a big, big market.

No other industrialized country lets drugmakers pick prices out of thin air and assume patients, insurers and taxpayers will somehow come up with the ransom. The U.S. setup comes courtesy of our lawmakers in Washington, above all our Republican lawmakers.

In the Valeant case, Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent seeking the Democratic presidential nod, demanded documents defending the price increases. Valeant said no, that such information is "highly proprietary and confidential". Wouldn't it just.
Governments elsewhere, however far to the left or right, see negotiating drug prices for their people as a duty of leadership. The United States does little of that. In fact, the law establishing the Medicare prescription drug benefit specifically forbids the government to negotiate drug prices.

Let's talk about markets, okay? We believe in a market system, buyers negotiating prices with sellers, right? U.S. taxpayers fund 73 percent of the Medicare drug benefit. They are the buyers.

But in our skewed political language, Republicans denounce proposals to have the federal government negotiate Medicare drug prices as an attack on our allegedly free-market system. Somehow letting the taxpayers defend their interests is "socialism".

It is true Medicare beneficiaries obtain drug coverage through private insurers who do negotiate prices. And it is true that, as Republicans say, the Medicare drug program is costing less than originally projected. But this is a shell game.

The relevant comparison is what the drug benefit costs next to what it would have cost had the government been allowed to bargain on prices. Taxpayers could save up to $16 billion a year if Medicare did the negotiating, according to a recent estimate in The Wall Street Journal.

The week Shkreli revealed the creepy reality of drug pricing, Hillary Clinton issued a proposal to curb "profiteering" by the drug industry. Biotech stocks promptly took a hit on Wall Street.

That hedge funder let the cat out, for sure, and it will be screeching right through Halloween. Some boys are so bad they do good.

(A member of the Providence Journal editorial board, Froma Harrop writes a nationally syndicated column from that city. She has written for such diverse publications as The New York Times, Harper's Bazaar and Institutional Investor.)

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Michelle Malkin - 'Bacha bazi': a celebration of diversity?

American soldiers are being punished for blowing the whistle on the systematic rape and enslavement of young boys at the hands of brutal Afghan Muslim military officials.

Honorable men in uniform risked their careers and lives to stop the abuse. Yet, the White House — which was busy tweeting about its new feminism-pandering "It's On Us" campaign against an alleged college rape crisis based on debunked statistics — is AWOL on the actual pedophilia epidemic known as "bacha bazi". On Thursday, Obama administration flacks went out of their way to downplay Afghan child rape as "abhorrent", but "fundamentally" a local "law enforcement matter".

This is the price the innocents pay for blind multiculturalism.

A New York Times report on the Afghan Muslim practice this week garnered attention and outrage on Capitol Hill — and prompted a river of denials from Obama Defense Department brass, who insisted our troops were not ordered to look the other way.

But the subjugation and sexual assault of these children — and their victimization by Afghan military personnel working alongside our troops — is not new.

Afghan journalist Najibullah Quraishi's wrenching documentary on "The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan" aired in London and the U.S. in 2010. The United Nations has known and done nothing as Taliban warlords and Afghan police groomed, sodomized and sexually trafficked generations of young boys. The U.S. State Department acknowledged last year that "there were reports security officials and those connected to the ANP (Afghan National Police) raped children with impunity."

In February, I reported on the case of Maj. Jason Brezler. He's still fighting for his reputation and his military career after warning colleagues of an insider attack on an American base in the Helmand province.

Refresher: The highly decorated Marine reserve civil affairs officer had sent a classified document through his personal e-mail account to fellow Marines at Forward Operating Base Delhi in 2012. The correspondence, which came in response to a FOB Delhi Marine's request for information, involved the shady history of Taliban-tied Afghan police chief and accused drug lord and child molester Sarwar Jan.

Jan had been suspected of coordinating Taliban operations, selling Afghan police uniforms to our enemies and raping at least nine boys on base.

A few weeks after Brezler's warning, which went unheeded, one of Jan's teenage "tea boys" went on a shooting spree at FOB Delhi. Marine Staff Sgt. Cody Rhode was shot five times, but survived. Three others died of gunshot wounds: Staff Sgt. Scott Dickinson, Cpl. Richard Rivera and Lance Cpl. Greg Buckley. Buckley's relatives filed suit against the government last fall over what they believe has been a coordinated and illegal attempt to suppress details of the insider attack.
Meanwhile, Brezler is forced to watch Hillary Clinton get away with massive e-mail security violations, while he's railroaded for using a personal Yahoo account to try to protect his fellow Marines.

In a separate case, the Army this month denied an appeal by decorated Green Beret Sgt. First Class Charles Martland, who was discharged in 2011 after physically confronting an Afghan police commander accused of kidnapping, chaining and raping a local village boy, beating his mother, and laughing about it when questioned. Another soldier who joined Martland in the confrontation, Cpt. Daniel Quinn, was reprimanded and left the Army.

Asked whether the president had taken steps to review his military's treatment of these whistleblowers, White House spokesman apathetically shrugged: "Not that I'm aware of."


A White House that wants to spend billions to stop "climate change" in the name of saving all the children of the planet can't bother to stop the violent sexual assaults of boys held hostage right under our noses by our warmly embraced "allies" in the Afghan military.

A White House that splashed social media with pleas to "Bring Back Our Girls" after Boko Haram jihadists in Nigeria kidnapped 300 girls and women has nothing to say about the legions of boys forced into prostitution and pedophilia rings witnessed by U.S. troops.

A White House bent on whitewashing away radical Islam's sins against Christians, Jews, gays, apostates, cartoonists, genitally mutilated women and child brides would rather celebrate "diversity" than lift a finger to protect the victims of political correctness run amok.

To paraphrase 2009 Nobel Prize winner President Obama: It's on you.

(Syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin is the daughter of Filipino Immigrants. She was born in Philadelphia, raised in southern New Jersey and now lives with her husband and daughter in Colorado. Her weekly column is carried by more than 100 newspapers.)


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Lakes Region Profiles - Frank Roche


Over the years I've seen many couples return to the Lakes Region because of our desirable lifestyle, natural beauty and four seasons of recreation. James and Jamie McCuddy are a good example of that type of couple. Education and job opportunities pulled them away however the magnetic attraction of our region brought them back.

Jamie where did you grow up?

J: "I was born in Portsmouth and moved to Moultonborough when I was 6 years old to my grandparents' house on Lake Winnipesaukee. In 1999 I graduated from Moultonborough Academy where I played softball and basketball. Then off to Keene State College, where I graduated with a degree in Business Management in 2003."

After college, where did you go?

J: "I moved to Boston to start my career at Eaton Vance, an Investment Management Firm. I worked there 5½ years and during that time I met my future husband, James who also worked at the firm."

After Eaton Vance?

J: "I started working at T's Capital LLC based in Boston and New York City and I've been with them ever since. In 2012 we moved to Milwaukee for a corporate relocation for James job, when he was promoted to Regional Vice President for Wisconsin at Eaton Vance. At first I was devastated because I didn't want to leave Boston or my entire family on Lake Winnipesaukee."

James where are you from?

J: "I grew up in Greenville near Peterborough. I joined the Coast Guard after college and I was stationed in Woods Hole, Mass., and New Castle. In 1991 I was involved in the search and rescue of the REA Gale 250 miles off the coast of Massachusetts. The movie "The Perfect Storm" was later filmed. After six years with the Coast Guard I took a position with PFPC Global Kind Services in western Massachusetts. In 2001 I started working at Eaton Vance in Boston and I've been with them for 13 years."

So how did you adjust to Wisconsin?

J: "We lived at Whitefish Bay on Lake Michigan it has a small-town feel and is only 10 minutes outside of Milwaukee. It's very family oriented where there's a strong sense of community. In 2015 we purchased a brick colonial five blocks from the lake. Lake Michigan is big and cold; it's a lot like the ocean because of its size. Some days it looks like the Caribbean while other times it's dark blue. However, I still miss Boston and especially Lake Winnipesaukee."

Why Lake Winnipesaukee?

J: "My great-grandfather, Morris Watson, started Long Island Campground 50 years ago just before the bridge that goes out to the island. He owned a large waterfront parcel along Watson Shore and sold off pieces of Lakefront at $100 per foot to finance, the construction of the campground. The campground now has 111 sites with a big sandy beach with moorings and dock on the lake. Gramps passed away in the early 1980s and left it to my grandfather, Daniel Watson. The campground has been operated since that day and we were all involved. That's why I have such fond memories of Lake Winnipesaukee growing up and enjoying all the lake experiences with my family.

So how did you get back to your roots while you were living in Wisconsin?

J: "We always wanted to get back to the lake because of our past experiences and memories growing up. We wanted especially to be near our family. We were up visiting our family one weekend and we noticed a lake cottage that came on the market on Watson Shore Road the property was just around the corner from the campground. So we called real estate broker Nancy Clark and said we would love to take a look at it. When Nancy brought us through we immediately fell in love with the spot. And to make it even better the land was originally owned by my great grandfather who sold the lot to them! It was so sentimental where we could walk to the campground and spend time with the family. My great-grandfather helped frame the original cottage. We could see the potential with the sandy beach, dock and westerly views. So we called Scott Elliot of native timberworks and his sister Melinda Laflamme to coordinate ideas for the remodeling project and re construction. Both Scott and Melinda are Nancy's children and it worked out perfectly. They were able to create "a true lake feel" with a cottage that we could use for vacations and time away with family. Some day we can hopefully retire in the future at this great spot."

So James what attracts you to the Lakes Region and Lake Winnipesuakee?

J: "I love New England it's the convenience, everything is so close compared to the mid-west. You have a huge assortment of lakes and mountains to constantly discover, you're only two hours from Boston which is a great city, and you can be in a different country enjoying Montreal or Quebec within hours. What I like most is it's a total escape from being in the city. We absolutely love lake living and the lifestyle is offers.

We enjoying hiking in the White Mountains and there are some fun concerts and great restaurants to visit throughout the lakes region. Additionally I love the 'Live Free or Die' moto."

Please feel free to visit to learn more about the Lake Region and its real estate market. Frank Roche is president of Roche Realty Group in Meredith and Laconia, NH and can be reached at (603) 279-7046.


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Roche — Lakes Region Profiles — Kent Locke, Jr., a Lakes Region real estate legend

While I was on a trip to Ireland last week, I called into the office and was saddened to learn a long term colleague and friend of mine had passed away. I made a stop at an old historic Irish church, lit a candle, and said a prayer for my close friend Kent Locke. I reflected on the memories of Kent and thought of his many accomplishments and the things he contributed to the Lakes Region and New Hampshire.
I first met Kent in 1974 up in Waterville Valley, where he and his brother, Jim Locke, were developing Waterville Estates, the region's largest second-home community built over three hillsides in Campton. I enjoyed Kent so much. He was approachable, full of enthusiasm, and had a visionary eye towards the future. Waterville Estates was a huge undertaking in those days. It encompassed close to thirty miles of roadways, a man-made swimming pond, a small ski area, a huge community center with indoor pool, and tennis courts. Today, Waterville Estates includes approximately 700 homes and condominiums, which contribute enormous tax revenues to the town of Campton. I still have memories of Kent working long hours from his office above the community center. Little did I know that my future interest in real estate would be carved out by this remarkable man.
It should be noted that prior to Waterville Estates, Kent Locke worked in his family business. With his father and two brothers he developed Locke Lake Colony in Barnstead. There they created a 160 acre man-made lake and developed another major second-home community.
After Waterville Estates, Kent moved down to the Lakes Region to operate Hounsell Realty and later Keewaydin Properties, which was a large development company based out of Dracut, Mass. I followed Kent's move and joined Hounsell Realty with him where he became my mentor. Kent was instrumental in opening three Century 21 real estate offices in Laconia, Center Harbor, and Bristol. They became the top offices in New England under his management. During the same time period, he successfully managed and developed the Salem Industrial Park (one of New Hampshire's largest) and the O'Shea Industrial Park in Laconia, which today is the home of some of the Lakes Region's largest businesses. He also developed an industrial park in Concord.
Kent was responsible for developing Wildwood Shores Condominiums on Lake Winnisquam in Laconia. Here he won an award from a professional builder magazine for concept and architectural design. At the same time, he managed the Pheasant Ridge Country Club in Gilford for Keewaydin Properties, which today is a well-respected 18-hole golf course. For years, Kent managed the Keewaydin company headquarters at 272 Union Avenue in the old Scott & Williams knitting factory. In this huge manufacturing building, he leased space to Laconia Shoe, J & J printing, the real estate office, and many other companies over the years. This landmark property was converted into 60 affordable housing units in Normandin Square with the Lakes Region Child Care Center and the LRGHealthcare Center on site.
Kent was also involved in many residential subdivisions over the years, including Wildwood Shores, Shore Drive Extension, and Penny Lane in Laconia, as well as Old English Lane in Gilford. Under Kent's direction, the Keewaydin company successfully marketed many developments throughout the Lakes Region, including South Down Shores, Long Bay, Windward Harbor, Broadview Condominiums, Samoset, and many more.
I always looked at Kent as being the eternal optimist – a positive thinker who had a tremendous work ethic. He always took the time to sit down with his associates, clients, and friends to discuss the events of the day and real estate matters. That is one of the reasons why he was consistently late, because the poor guy had so much on his plate – way too much for the average real estate professional to sort out. Being the competitor he was, from his high school roots in Alton on to the University of New Hampshire, he always strived for accomplishment. He gave back to the communities he served in so many ways, whether it was the Lakes Region Board of Realtors, the Gilford Planning Board, or the Rotary Club. He was so proud of his three children, Susan, Nancy, and Andrew. All three of them excelled at some of the finest colleges in the country in both academics and sports and have gone on to lead very successful lives. I have to say that both Kent and his former wife, Jean Aberg of Gilford, did a remarkable job raising those three kids considering they had so much going on in their busy lives.
Kent courageously fought with Parkinson's disease over the past 25 years. He approached this with the same fighting spirit that he applied to his real estate endeavors. He always had that great smile on his face and always had the time to lend an ear and provide good advice. Vince Lombardi summed up Kent's life beautifully when he said, "The quality of a man's life is in direct proportion to his commitment to excellence regardless of his chosen field of endeavor."
Please feel free to visit to learn more about the Lakes Region and its real estate market. Frank Roche is president of Roche Realty Group in Meredith and Laconia, N.H. and can be reached at (603) 279-7046.

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Sanborn — One Whopper of a Valuation Subjugation

As real estate agents we get bombarded with emails about new properties coming on the market, open houses, and price reductions. And I do mean bombarded. We also get emails from people and companies offering all kinds of services to improve our businesses, get new clients, and sell more houses. Add to that all the inter-company emails about policies and procedures, educational opportunities, and other earth shattering gossip and info. Most of us are, therefore, on information overload. But, I suspect it is that way no matter what kind of business you are in. As a result of this barrage of information spewing onto our digital portals to the real estate world we tend to ignore some of these all important messages if they just don't sound important enough to open.

They say the subject line is the key to getting someone to open your email. According to trusted sources on the internet (ha!) you have to keep the subject line short and focused, pique interest, offer value, and create urgency. I think being a little creative and humorous helps as well.

Take for instance the "price reduction" emails we get. These have gotta be the right up there at the top of the heap as I usually see a couple per day. They usually come with a subject line like; "Price Reduction, 34 Redwood Street MLS #443301 $325,000." That's not very exciting, unless you live at 34 Redwood Street. It also didn't say how much it was reduced. If it read; "Giant Price Reduction of $50,000, 34 Redwood Street MLS #443301," that might get someone's attention. Would a $5,000 price reduction work? Probably not. In order to get someone to look at a price reduction email you gotta go big. Create some noise.

In order to get other agents to open their emails on price reductions some have tried the term "price adjustment," "price improvement," and "newly priced" seemingly to avoid the word "reduced" which was the purpose of the email to start with. Not sure those are working, either.

Now we could play with the words "price" and "reduction" a little and see if we can come up with some new subject lines to disguise what is going on while creating some urgency, pique some interest, and offer value all at the same time. How about; "Hurry, significant $10,000 capitulation on the whole nut" or "Act now, $10,000 valuation reconsideration!" or "Urgent! Ownership Position Premium Drastically Minimized." Probably not.

Wal-Mart uses the term "Roll Back Pricing," should we? How about; "Fantastic $10,000 Discount Double Check at 12 Rodgers Road?" Maybe; "You deserve a break today at 53 McDonald Ave! $10,000 off and you get fries with that." Or; "One Whopper of a Valuation Subjugation." You can get carried away here.

I suppose agents could take to begging a little with subject lines like; "Please God, help me sell this house with this $15,000 price reduction" or "I can't take this much longer. Price reduced $7,500. Please send buyer, now." How about; "Last $10k price reduction before I get fired. Please help!" I think these actually might work.

Sales of residential homes in the twelve communities covered by this report were very strong in August with 130 transactions at an average price of $364,503 and a median sale price point of $226,050. That kind of mirrors the 133 sales last August at an average of $320,824. For the year thus far there have been 697 residential sales in these communities at an average price of $336,721 compared to 629 sales at an average price of $315,818. That's almost a 5 percent increase in the selling price and a 10.8 percent increase in total sales. Nice...

P​ease feel free to visit to learn more about the Lakes Region real estate market and comment on this article and others. Data compiled using the NNEREN MLS system as of 9/23/15. ​Roy Sanborn is a sales associate at Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty and can be reached at 603-677-7012.

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