President Trump is known for making headlines, but over the past weekend he might have outdone himself. The President was in rare form at a Republican rally in Huntsville, AL for U.S. senatorial candidate Luther Strange. Trump talked about he would handle “Rocket Man” from North Korea (because he needed to be handled) and shared his dream of at one NFL firing “son of bitch players” who did not stand during the National Anthem:
Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners … when somebody disrespects our flag to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field … out right now he’s fired … Fired!’
The populace thinks the President is crazy … yeah, crazy like a fox. He knows that calling Kim Jong Un a “Rocket Man” is likely to trigger him and causing to fire off more rockets. The more rockets could allow Trump to talk up the “North Korea threat” and make it easier to sell a trillion dollar defense budget to the American people. Calling players “sons of bitches” would likely lead to a tete-a-tete with pro athletes, and allow him to change the narrative from his inability to create jobs, to his defense of our flag, our military and our values.
If that wasn’t bad enough, the President rescinded his White House invitation to the Warriors’ Steph Curry, which prompted LeBron James to call him a bum. Then a battle royal ensued. Steph implied Trump wasn’t a leader; Trump chastised NFL commissioner Roger Goodell shutting down players’ resistance to the flag; Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft feigned disappointment with Trump’s comments about the NFL players and owners; Steph and the Warriors declared Trump couldn’t break-up with them since they broke up with him first; NBA players dragged Trump back to Atlantic City via social media, and the NFL owners and players showed solidarity by standing, kneeling, laying down and/or remaining in the locker room during the National Anthem Sunday. Mission accomplished … nobody will ever talk about Trump’s inability to spur jobs ever again.
Miami Dolphins’ Michael Thomas Brings It On Home
Miami Dolphins’ safety Michael Thomas might have asked the most important question(s) during the entire weekend. “With everything else that’s going in this world, especially involving the U.S. … that’s what you’re concerned about my man? You’re the leader of the free world? This is what you’re talking about?”
There are a plethora of issues the President could address prior to going in on “sons of bitch players” exercising peaceful protests to bring attention to inequality and the country’s police state. Can Trump sort out Rocket Man or black pro players if he cannot sort out Allegan?
When The Topic Turns To Allegan … *Crickets*
The biggest insult to President Trump, the American people, Rocket Man, pro players, et. al likely came from Allergan PLC. Allergan is a pharmaceutical company known for buying up other biotechs, cutting R&D and other expenses and raising prices. Its ability to develop new drugs – like a traditional pharma – is suspect. First of all, Allergan does not want to pay taxes. The company is domiciled in Ireland where it pays a 12.5% corporate tax rate (one of the world’s lowest). It tried to merger with Pfizer in 2016 in a tax inversion scheme that would have allowed Pfizer to change its domicile to Ireland simply to enjoy lower taxes. The government blocked it though.
It has been able to operate in a healthcare arena where costs are rising are multiples of the rate of inflation. Senator Bernie Sanders has voiced concerns over rising drug prices. Hillary Clinton and the President promised to stamp out price-gougers during their presidential campaign. Nonetheless, Allergan has done everything in its power to protect patents for its over-priced dry eye drug, Restasis, and has been brazen about it. The drug was approved in 2002 to treat patients with keratoconjunctivitis sicca whose tear production is presumed to be suppressed due to ocular inflammation. It was set to lose exclusivity in Q2 2014, but Allergan was able to get it extended to 2024.
Mylan, Teva, and Pfizer attempted to provide generic Restasis, but Allergan sued them in federal court to black any copycat filings. Mylan asked the patent board to invalidate the patents late last year in what is known as an inter partes review (“IPR”) by the patent board. Allergan then sold the Restasis patents to the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe whose sovereign immunity will allow it to dismiss an IPR:
Allergan will pay St. Regis an up front fee of $13.75 million and annual royalties of $15 million. However, Restasis generated Q2 revenue of $354 million (9% of Allergan’s total revenue), and at Allergan’s total EBITDA margin of 40% that could equate to quarterly EBITDA of $143 million. The difference between Restsas’s EBITDA and the $15 million royalty payment could be considered Allergan’s remaining economic interest.
Restasis currently controls about 70% of the $1.8 billion dry eye market. Shire’s Xiidra entered the market in late 2016 and controls another 22%. Xiidra actual treats the signs and symptons of dry eye, which is probably why taking rapid share. Dry eye impacts 30 million people but only about 1 million people have a prescription. Restasis and Xiidra both charge $5,000 per year for treatment. Since 2008 the price of Restasis has doubled. Lower-priced generics could make the drug more affordable and expand the market. However, it could punish Restasis sales (9% of total Allergan revenue), crush earnings and its share price.
The patent system was designed to help companies recoup their R&D costs. Restasis has had exclusivity for 15 years now. Allergan’s shenanigans appears to be an abuse of the patent system and an avenue to continue its price gouging in the dry eye market. It is also an affront to the President who promised to stop such actions. Before Trump attempts to handle Rocket Man or “sons of bitch players” maybe he should start with Allergan first.
On Shock Exchange
Shock Exchange: How Inner-City Kids From Brooklyn Predicted the Great Recession and the Pain Ahead explains the stock market and U.S. economy through the eyes of the New York Shock Exchange, a financial literacy program Ralph Baker started in 2006 to share his passion for investing and basketball with his 11-year-old son and other boys his age. The book predicts the “pain ahead” for the U.S. economy, the demise of China, the pending stock market crash and social unrest.
Shock Exchange has been trumpeted by President Obama, the Senate Finance Committee and House Ways and Means Committee. However, they conveniently forgot to cite the source. Critics try to make and unmake authors, but the market always decides. The book was also recently added to Trump Syllabus K12, crafted by Dr. Kaye Wise Whitehead of Loyola University Maryland. Shock Exchange is the best book on Wall Street in the past 20 years, and on economics, it may be the most important book since the Great Depression.