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The Almighty Buck Biotech Stats

Genomics Impact On US Economy Approaches $1 Trillion 115

Posted by samzenpus
from the g-a-c-t-money dept.
sciencehabit writes "Despite a slow economy, business in genomics has boomed and has directly and indirectly boosted the U.S. economy by $965 billion since 1988, according to a new study (pdf). In 2012 alone, genomics-related research and development, along with relevant industry activities, contributed $31 billion to the U.S. gross national product and helped support 152,000 jobs, the biomedical funding advocacy group United for Medical Research announced today in Washington, D.C. Based on total U.S. spending, the country gets $65 back for every $1 it spends on the field."
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Genomics Impact On US Economy Approaches $1 Trillion

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  • umm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bananaquackmoo (1204116) on Wednesday June 12, 2013 @08:01PM (#43991149)
    So in other words this stuff really is overpriced?
    • by slick7 (1703596)

      So in other words this stuff really is overpriced?

      The real questions are; Who controls it and, profits from it and who benefits from it? Obviously not the owners of the genome, you know, you, me, and the others who acquired it the good old fashioned way.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by rtb61 (674572)

        The real questions are out of whose pocket does that $65 come from and into whose pocket is it going and of course how many people are dying because it is priced beyond their reach.

    • by tloh (451585)

      What price would you put on a life? Far from being just another business, the result of both basic and applied research derived from Genomics contributes beyond direct economic growth, benefiting all of society when you consider diseases prevented, lives saved, and improved public health. We are still in the infancy of this young field, but consider the wide ranging effects of historic innovations in medical science such as antiseptic sanitation, discovery/use of antibiotics, and immunotherapy for compari

      • by demachina (71715)

        Its a little one side to think genomics will be all upside. The flip side...

        A. What will be the costs if someone designs genetically targetted weapons, i.e. biological weapons that only target certain races or even individual people. I read an article a while back that the Secret Service strives to minimize access to the President's DNA, for example skin cells left in sheets, to prevent someone from targetting his genome with a biological weapon.

        B. What will the cost be when people or nation states try to

        • by tloh (451585)

          A. Are you saying just because a technology can be used for harm it should be abandoned or suppressed? The same has been said of nuclear power, and we are all still here. In this day and age, controlling what information (genomic or otherwise) people can access and how they use it isn't that easy. Just ask the RIAA and MPAA.

          B. Don't worry about it! Everyone knows that Kirk, Spock, and Bones will always save us from Khan - regardless of the timeline. Reference JJ Abrams & Gene Roddenberry

          C. On a more

          • by demachina (71715)

            "A. Are you saying just because a technology can be used for harm it should be abandoned or suppressed?"

            Actually, no I didn't say anything remotely resembling that. I think I pointed out if you are going to tote up the upside you should probably at least keep it in your mind there is a down side to most technologies. Their cost can be extremely steep, especially when you whistle past the grave yard and ignore them.

            Fossil fuels for example have been a boon to the energy input equation driving civilization,

            • by tloh (451585)

              "A. Are you saying just because a technology can be used for harm it should be abandoned or suppressed?"

              Actually, no I didn't say anything remotely resembling that. I think I pointed out if you are going to tote up the upside you should probably at least keep it in your mind there is a down side to most technologies. Their cost can be extremely steep, especially when you whistle past the grave yard and ignore them.

              Fossil fuels for example have been a boon to the energy input equation driving civilization, as long as they don't start a run away greenhouse effect and wipe out life as we know it.

              You seem to be a poster child for "the road to hell is paved with good intentions".

              Well, if the point you are trying to make is so superficial, thanks for pointing out the obvious. Every technology is a double edged sword. It doesn't take a genious to realize any tool can be used for good or ill. The story itself simply points out that measurable economic gains have been realized in developing genomic technology. But it would be moronic to take that to mean we are headed for a modern day gold rush where every Tom, Dick, and Harry with a pan can go out and make a mess of things by doin

              • by demachina (71715)

                " What do *you* think should be done to address the problem(s) that concerns you? What is your contribution?"

                Not really sure there is anything that can be done. The genie is already out of the bottle. You can pass laws and try to suppress it which will slow beneficial use and do nothing to hamper malevolent use.

                There are already people actively trying to alter organisms in their garage and on kickstarter. I assure you there are nation states like North Korea who have the capacity to do malevolent work.

                • by tloh (451585)

                  Being vigilant is not the same as being paranoid. It helps no one for an uninformed voice to be extolling the power and might of some imagined boogie man. In science, many things are possible. Yes I do work in the field. Therefore I feel I have a more realistic view of the situation firmly grounded in what is actually true or achievable. It takes a lot of dedication, discipline, and maturity to do science. That for the most part will weed out a lot of bad elements. On the other hand, you don't need a

                  • by demachina (71715)

                    OK now you are dismissive AND arrogant. Good work, I am more concerned about you and your field of endeavor than I was when this started.

                    The fact that genomic research HAS enabled the ability to engineer organisms that can be extremely dangerous, and can potentially be dangerous to only targetted groups is intensely intertwined with all the beneficial advances in the field. You simply can't separate the two and pretend the dark side isn't there.

                    Genomics is simply a very dangeorus field. Its given an ethi

                    • by tloh (451585)

                      I'm sorry to exacerbate your concern. But I am not the least bit sorry about speaking truth to ignorance. Which "targetted groups" are you preemptively defending????? Most serious anthropologists will tell you the notion of "race" as a scientific concept is a myth. There is no clean cut genetic signature that will magically identify an African, an Asian, or a Caucasian, or Homosexual, or Islamist, or Jedi. There is no biological basis for ANY of various ways people may choose to culturally self-identif

  • Wow! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Etherwalk (681268) on Wednesday June 12, 2013 @08:07PM (#43991203)

    Industry Group claims it is useful in own report, film at eleven.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      And your evidence that their figures are incorrect or misleading is where exactly?

    • It kind of has to. We're evidently too stupid to realize it on our own. We spent 3 billion on the human genome project and it's going to be vital to the eventual cure for cancer. We spend 6 billion PER SUBMARINE [wikipedia.org] to fight... I dunno, terrorists with scuba gear? And we're still cutting the NIH budget.

      Headline should be "Industry group says 'You know, what, fuck y'all missile-riding cowboys. See you in hell.'"
    • film at eleven

      Wins 12 Oscars

  • of course... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by stenvar (2789879) on Wednesday June 12, 2013 @08:16PM (#43991289)

    I think public funding of basic research is one of the few areas where the federal government is justified in spending significant amounts of money.

    But "generating economic impact" is a useless measure; the federal government could create a trillion dollars of economic impact by forcing everybody to burn down their houses or by simply forcing everybody to pay twice as much for their health care (well, they are trying the latter), but we wouldn't be better off as a result.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I was with you until the Obamacare crack. Healthcare costs have been skyrocketing for 30 years, now if anyone's premium goes up a dollar that's because of Obamacare? Costs aren't going down, but at least the rate they're growing has started slowing down.

      • Healthcare costs have been skyrocketing for 30 years, now if anyone's premium goes up a dollar that's because of Obamacare?

        No, but Obamacare does amazingly little to control costs. Obama started by giving pharma and med insurance companies what they wanted. There's a reason why the insurance stocks went up after it passed - what company has a problem with guaranteed customers? A public option would have given them a run for their money, and with pharma the collective bargaining power of 308M people could do something about prices. Some of the cost containment claimed is absurd. It limits the medical loss ratio, to a lower ratio

        • You're correct. Obama care is going to save precious little money. What it might do is increase the number of people who are covered with insurance. But that requires the states to tag along and pay some money themselves. Not a very popular concept these days. It might decrease the rate of increase in medical costs - whoopedo. It will create another cottage industry of consultants trying to explain the thousands of pages of rules and regs to everyone else.

          It probably was the best anyone could do which

          • It will create another cottage industry of consultants trying to explain the thousands of pages of rules and regs to everyone else.

            I don't know if Obamacare is good or bad, but I'm very, very concerned about the way it was written and passed: one, big, complex bill that was rammed through Congress before anybody except the authors had had a chance to read it, let alone understand it. Much better would have been a series of bills dealing with different aspects of the reform, with each one short enough t
      • by stenvar (2789879)

        Many people are looking at drastic increases in states where Obamacare is being implemented, far higher than traditional growth, in part because they are forced to buy coverage they don't want and they don't need. Obamacare promised to rein in the the growth of health care costs and insurance premiums, and it is obviously a failure.

        If you're going to implement European-style health insurance coverage, you must implement European-style cost controls, which usually involve strict limits on what insurance comp

        • No, right-wing news hosts are saying that. The only people who will pay more are companies who are only now required to provide insurance to their employees and therefore have a 100% increase in healthcare costs.

          My empirical evidence was in the form of a rebate from United Healthcare because they exceeded the premium cap mandated by the ACA. That's right, money back and a lower premium because of Obamacare.

          • by stenvar (2789879)

            No, right-wing news hosts are saying that.

            Take off your partisan glasses and face reality:

            http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/06/04/obamacare-rate-shock-how-big-is-it-does-it-matter.html [thedailybeast.com]

            The only people who will pay more are companies who are only now required to provide insurance to their employees and therefore have a 100% increase in healthcare costs.

            That's simply false. Rates are going up for many people.

            Furthermore, the businesses that have a "100% increase in healthcare costs" will pass that on

            • Take off your partisan glasses and face reality:

              Uh, what? You start out with a bogus Obamacare dig, then you link an article which shows no evidence, just some numbers that /some/ economists are expecting people to pay. And still those numbers are far less than what many people are paying now. For example, my friend got laid off and was paying $1800/mo to cover his wife and newborn through COBRA. That's roughly 50% of the average household gross income spent directly on insurance.

              I'm basing my viewpoint on real evidence, not the BS estimates you see

              • by stenvar (2789879)

                Uh, what? You start out with a bogus Obamacare dig, then you link an article which shows no evidence

                The article gives real rates for actual payers. You can check them yourself if you like.

                I'm basing my viewpoint on real evidence, not the BS estimates you see all over the news. I'm mid-30's, healthy and working for a small company. Exactly the type of person who is "estimated" to pay more, and yet, I'm paying less.

                That means nothing. You may simply have been on an uncompetitive rate plan or have had too much

                • The article gives real rates for actual payers. You can check them yourself if you like.

                  That means nothing. You may simply have been on an uncompetitive rate plan or have had too much coverage. (Given how financially inexperienced you seem to be, that is actually likely.)

                  Yes, my lower premiums are "uncompetitive", and my HDHP is too much coverage. Given that you've based your arguments solely on unsubstantiated numbers and lies, I can only imagine how "experienced" you must be. I posted fact, you posted lies.

                  Yes, it will work itself out: companies will fire employees, automate more, and move jobs overseas, where employees have full health care benefits at a fraction of the cost of Obamacare.

                  Ah, there it is. OMG THE SKY IS FALLING DUE TO OBAMACARE!!!11 Mindless drivel from

                  • by stenvar (2789879)

                    I posted fact, you posted lies.

                    You posted an anecdote, I posted news stories from reputable sources.

                    OMG THE SKY IS FALLING DUE TO OBAMACARE!!!

                    The sky isn't falling, it's just one long period of unemployment and economic malaise due to an incompetent president. Hopefully, the next one will be better.

                    • You posted an anecdote, I posted news stories from reputable sources.

                      I guess somehow in your little mind, opinions from people who happen to agree with your political disposition are more important than real evidence. Do you also believe in Santa Clause?

                      The sky isn't falling, it's just one long period of unemployment and economic malaise due to an incompetent president. Hopefully, the next one will be better.

                      Again with the lies! Do you realize that unemployment and the deficit are actually down since your sub-average IQ (R)-tard president was finally outed? Probably not, since you actually believe the ACA will destroy the economy.

    • by ranton (36917)

      "Generating economic impact" is a very useful measure. It is quite possibly the best measure of any government program other than social safety nets.

      the federal government could create a trillion dollars of economic impact by forcing everybody to burn down their houses or by simply forcing everybody to pay twice as much for their health care

      They said economic impact not economic activity. If they burned every house down and rebuilt every one of them, the net economic impact of spending trillions of dollars would be $0. Well, it would be a little positive because the houses would be nicer, but definetly not worth the money spent.

      • "Generating economic impact" is a very useful measure.

        That'd be true if it could actually be measured.

      • by stenvar (2789879)

        They said economic impact not economic activity. If they burned every house down and rebuilt every one of them, the net economic impact of spending trillions of dollars would be $0

        "Economic impact" is an ambiguous weasel-word, and the thing they did not say was "economic gain".

        In the case of people burning down their houses, you could actually subtract the losses from the gains, but the way these calculations are done, you'd still end up with nominal big overall gains, because the same dollar is counted man

        • by ranton (36917)

          "Economic impact" is an ambiguous weasel-word, and the thing they did not say was "economic gain".

          A positive economic impact is an economic gain. A negative economic impact is an economic loss. I really don't think anyone should fault the writers of this paper for assuming this was obvious.

          In the case of people burning down their houses, you could actually subtract the losses from the gains, but the way these calculations are done, you'd still end up with nominal big overall gains, because the same dollar is counted many times in these calculations. Without that, you couldn't get such huge multipliers.

          They do mention in the TFA that efforts were made to not count effects more than once when calculating cumulative effects. But obviously there are going to be huge multipliers when you are talking about basic research. That is the reason there has been more economic advance in the past two hundred years than there was

          • by stenvar (2789879)

            A positive economic impact is an economic gain. A negative economic impact is an economic loss. I really don't think anyone should fault the writers of this paper for assuming this was obvious.

            The writers didn't say "positive economic impact", they said "economic impact", likely because they can't actually make a good case that the impact is entirely positive.

            I am not sure if this study takes into account opportunity costs, but even if they didn't the study shows such a large return on investment that I dou

            • by ranton (36917)

              The report could be complete bunk, but I do have issues with a few of your statements.

              Was it really rational for the US government to engage in a race with a private company to sequence the human genome?

              It was a very good thing because the Celera Corporation made every effort to keep their data private and out of GenBank. The results of the genome project would have been far less beneficial if there wasn't significant pressure from the DOE/NIH funded research. Celera did complete their work at a fraction of the cost the public research, but this was a project that was far too important to allow a single company to control

              • by stenvar (2789879)

                You can always make this rationalization. There will always be something better and cheaper down the line. It is easy to see that in hindsight they could have saved a couple billion dollars by waiting a few years, but the benefit is so large that a couple billion dollars is peanuts by comparison.

                In fact, many people at the time thought that the human genome project was premature, and that the money would have been better spent on other programs until the cost of sequencing had come down. I see little reason

    • Then look at the report—there're plenty of more specific measures. Six billion dollars in federal and state tax revenue, 293 billion dollars in paid salaries, and 277,000 highly-skilled jobs created or supported. The trillion-dollar figure isn't super sensical at first glance, but there are somewhat more meaningful figures in there.

      • It's not hard to pull number out of one's posterior, which is what these "economic impact" studies do.
      • by stenvar (2789879)

        293 billion dollars in paid salaries, and 277,000 highly-skilled jobs created or supported.

        That's a plus only if these people are doing something useful. Otherwise, the government is taking 277000 highly skilled workers and wasting their talent on meaningless work, and the US government just sucked a trillion dollars in opportunity cost out of the economy.

        That's why it's true to say that this is "economic impact", but nobody knows whether it's an actual gain or loss.

        • Given that a lot of the products of this work involve expensive drugs which both save lives and break banks, it's impossible to say for certain, although as I have a lot of colleagues in that pool I can say with some authority that they certainly think it's productive.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The foul smells emanating from my ass have boosted the economy by $500 million through increased sales of air freshners!

  • An industry advocacy group discovered that their industry is really important to the US economy! I wonder how much it would have cost for them to discover that their industry is nowhere near as important as they think?
  • by EzInKy (115248) on Wednesday June 12, 2013 @09:19PM (#43991605)

    Quite a cunundrum, isn't it? Most everyone wants to see science advance, most everyone wants everyone to benefit from those scientific advances. How best to do this by encouraging both research and sharing? Still not sure a 20yr monopoly is the best method, but so far have seen very few viable alternatives presented that serve both the benefactors and benefactees.

    • Still not sure a 20yr monopoly is the best method, but so far have seen very few viable alternatives presented that serve both the benefactors and benefactees.

      It's called public funding - scientific progress is a public good. As for the 20yr monopolies, those are supposed to cover inventions, not scientific discoveries.

  • Someone has manged to tag this "wtfisgenomics". Really, people? I didn't know there were that many slashdot readers who were still stuck in 1994.
    • Obviously genomics is the study of gnome genealogies. Come one people, this is basic english. :P
      • Obviously genomics is the study of gnome genealogies

        Yes, I'm quite sure that is what ... oh, what was that pesky search engine called ... told me. Damnit infoseek!

  • If the returns are really as great as they want you to believe (*), then private industry will be rushing in. The federal seed money has done its job and no more is needed. Voila!

    (*) Except that the numbers they've published are gross, and it's the net that counts.

  • by dorpus (636554)

    Yes, I've followed the boom of "bioinformatics" majors and their spectacular inability to get jobs. I've been to academic conferences that talked big about the promise of genomics, never mind all the unemployed PhDs scurrying around looking for jobs. I have read academic journals that talked big about the job prospects of such students, quoting an exceptional graduate that managed to get an assistant professorship somewhere. When I asked the writer about other graduates, they acknowledged that they had o

  • Wait was this stuff not called genetics, like two seconds ago? Whats the difference between genetics and genomics?

  • Genomics booming? News to me. If anything, we've only been feeling a vast reduction in grant approval lately. We're lucky to even get the expected 1 out of 15 submissions approved. The diabetes genomic group we work with is also feeling the heat.
  • It's "Genomics' Impact on US Economy Approaches $1 Trillion".

    Without the apostrophe after the s, Genomics has no relationship to the US economy, since it's not possessive. Come on. This is fourth grade English.

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