Saturday, February 18, 2006

Death of a Good Blog

Cooped Up has given up the ghost. It pains me to hear the author of that blog say that his blogging has damaged rather than enhanced both his "scholarly profile" and his "scholarly productivity." I pray that other law professor bloggers will not suffer the same fate.

My aims are somewhat different from the aims of the author of Cooped Up. This may be partly or largely because I am older. I view my blogging mainly as a source of entertainment and as a source of inspiration. I have no delusions that most of my colleagues at my law school or in wider legal circles think that blogging is a worthwhile activity. But in general I am not trying to reach them, my peers in the legal world. I do want to reach and hear from people outside of the circle of my professional peers. (I hasten to add that it is also always a genuine pleasure to hear from my peers in the legal profession.)

Yes, blogging sometimes is a time-consuming activity (though much depends on how -- how often etc. -- it is done). Withal, the true question is whether the rewards are worth the investment; and that is a question that each blogger must weigh and answer individually.

I am happy to report to my blog has generated some very interesting e-mail. And I have always enjoyed blogging. (This is surely because I have always followed the rule that I blog only when I want to do so.) So I will keep at this blogging business a while longer -- but, as before, only sporadically.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

U.S. Olympic Hockey Team Ties Powerful Latvian Team

The United States Olympic hockey team showed much grit and courage today when it managed to squeeze out a tie against the formidable Latvian hockey team. Congratulations for a job well done!

Mercenary Thinking in the Boardroom -- and in the Jury Box?

"Doctors are excited about the prospect of Avastin, a drug already widely used for colon cancer, as a crucial new treatment for breast and lung cancer, too. But doctors are cringing at the price the maker, Genentech, plans to charge for it: about $100,000 a year." Alex Berenson, A Cancer Drug Shows Promise, at a Price That Many Can't Pay, NYTimes Online (Feb. 15, 2006).

An executive at Genentech explained the high price of the drug this way:

Dr. Susan Desmond-Hellmann, the president of product development of Genentech, which is based in South San Francisco, Calif., said that Genentech had set Avastin's price based on "the value of innovation, and the value of new therapies."

Perhaps when product liability claims against Genentech end up in the courtroom, jurors will take Genentech's calculus into account when they compute the damages that Genentech must pay? Will the jurors' motto be: Live by the value of your drugs -- and die by the lack of value of your (defective) drugs?

P.S. It is evident why I could never bring myself to join the Federalist Society or turn myself into a law and economics law teacher. I will say in advance: I take little solace in the thought that the marketplace may or will eventually generate products that compete with Avastin and lower its price.

N.B. The same newspaper article also states:

With Avastin's expanded use, analysts expect the drug's sales to soar to $7 billion in the United States alone by 2009, compared with $1.1 billion last year. Over the same period, Genentech's overall profits are forecast to triple, to $4 billion in 2009, as sales, $6.6 billion last year, climb to $18 billion.