Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Pharmaceutical Creationism

If you’re on Medicare, you can now sign up for some kind of discount. Part D, it’s called. D for dazed or dumbfounded or damn it what are they talking about, anyway?

There are a bazillion plans on the market and they’ve been advertising heavily for months.

All of the plans have this in common: they’re part spider web and part rats nests, with a maze or two thrown in for good measure. A mine field in a moving roller coaster.

Breathtakingly complicated, hard to maneuver, scary.

It’s touted by our Esteemed Leaders as a way to bring discount drugs to The Great Unwashed Masses, which would be all of us who aren’t either Esteemed or Leaders

The real answer, the simplest answer is to nationalize the drug companies, fund the research (which is mostly the government, anyway,) and sell the drugs at little or no profit.

That's impossible. At least it's impossible here and now.

So the next best thing to do is to form a few "public benefit corporations," or "public benefit authorities" like the MTA subway/bus/rail/bridge system in New York. Then issue bonds, and use the money to buy large chunks of the stocks of the majors on the open market, and control their activities that way.

The present plan, signing up for some kind of half baked discount, is complicated and if you believe the news accounts, a lot of people aren't going to do it because they don't understand it.

You've seen countless ads for various health plans and other companies that are trying to convince people to sign up. They all say the same thing: "it's complicated. we make it simple. you CAN benefit up to 'x' dollars a year."

Well, what they really mean is "use our plan. we'll screw you over no worse than the other guys."

Next, you’ll likely see the Lotions and Potions crowd, (which would dearly love to be referred to as the homeopathic remedy and diet supplement industry) hop on the bandwagon. It’s kind of like “Intelligent Design.”

After all, they’ll tell you, medicines are iffy. Just a theory. Like Darwin. Not curing anything and only dealing with symptoms.

So why not also discount those little sugar pills you stick under your tongue when you injure yourself. Or the pills that grow hair, improve memor and clean out your impacted bowels.

(Aside: "Gold Bond Medicated Powder" and "Focus Factor" are not chemically similar and not the same thing as Ovalitine.)

And what about wine? It’s supposedly good for your heart? So why not a wine discount?

Orange juice. Diet plans. Health club memberships. Where is the American “can-do” spirit, here? These people don’t usually let the grass grow under their feet.

Unlikely they will now, either.

Tropicana, Ernest & Julio Gallo, Jack LaLanne, Dr. Atkins, where ARE you?

And what about coffee, enough to keep you awake while filling out those sleep-evoking forms? A medicinal coffee discount! Yes!

Somebody’s going to benefit from this benefit. Not you, though.

The fundamental problem is that Congress doesn't write laws anymore. They're written by "advocates" and "consultants" and (oh my god!) lobbyists.

That's got to stop. But it won’t.


I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.™

©wjr 2005

1 comment:

John G said...

The trick is to know what the managements of the drug cartels are up to. Find a way to do that and you've got it knocked.