Much fuss was recently made when New Zealanders found out that Adidas All Blacks shirts could be bought online overseas for less than half the cost they are selling for here. Except fans couldn’t buy them online as Adidas had to put a stop to deliveries to New Zealand.
If you think that’s ‘rip of NZ’, here is some more food for thought. Scientists are being massively overcharged for reagents they need to do their experiments. This was brought rather painfully to my attention today when I asked someone to order some competent cells for me. When we last ordered them from the local distributor back in April, they cost nearly $600 (NZ) for a vial. Recently that local distributor was taken over by another larger company called ThermoFisher Scientific. New price? $1540. I had a quick look at how much they cost in the UK and USA – the equivalent of $295 and $240, respectively. And here we get stung by a $300 MAF import charge too.
What is so sad about this scenario is that science funding is really hard to come by here, and to know that when we do get some money we are paying massively over the odds for the reagents we need to do our experiments, means that in real terms it is even harder to compete with labs overseas. They can do so much more for their money.
The NZ government and public should be outraged. Perhaps this is doing ‘science for profit’, only its the suppliers who are making all the profit.