Posts Tagged ‘pharmaceutical

24
Sep
08

Pharmaceutical Company To Disclose Payments To Doctors

I’d put the hallalujahs off for just a minute, though.

According to AP, Eli Lilly and Co. has said they will report payments made to doctors over $500 for services, speeches, etc. How unusual.

The pharmaceutical industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. Every time you go to the doctor, they have another prescription for you. Words such as “bi-polar disorder,” “anxiety disorder,” “clinical depression,” “attention deficit disorder,” and so many more are in our everyday vernacular. Do you fee sad sometimes and then happy sometimes? Well, that’s not right! Have a pill and this pill and this pill even though we have no idea who their chemical interactions will affect your body!

Do you think any of those diseases exist in developing world? No, they have to deal not with disorders of conveniences, but actual maladies such as starvation and AIDS and tuberculosis. Drugs do not cost nearly as much in those areas of the world because people could never dream of affording them and entire countries’ economies would face collapse. The cost of one pill here in the U.S. could feed the population of Sub-Sarahan Africa.

We’ve raised a population of entitled Americans who expect easy street and look to quick fixes when times get tough. We don’t even need to leave our bedrooms to have anything we need in the world. Is it a coincidence that obesity numbers go up the same time as depression and a infinitesimal amount of other diseases increase? I don’t think so.

Furthermore, the drug companies use people as their guinea pigs by pushing drugs far too quickly through governmental approval – though many times due to pressure by patients. Many times, these drugs prove to cause extreme harm over the long period. You know every time you turn on daytime TV and some ambulance-chaser is talking about Vioxx? There you go.

The drug companies pour a load the money they make with their high-priced drugs into the pockets of doctors who recommend them and write prescriptions and the law makers who decide (de)regulation. Ever heard of Medicare? As Wikipedia says, “According to Marcia Angell, the former head of the New England Journal of Medicine, ‘The United States is the only advanced country that permits the pharmaceutical industry to charge exactly what the market will bear.'”

Drugs that Americans depend on to live and stay healthy will cost them the quality of their life simply because of corporate greed and the idea of “free market” which does not exist in this country. Drug companies will tell you that their profits are focused on providing more products. They don’t reveal the salaries of their executives. It’s sickening, really.

So, now Eli Lilly and Co. says they will disclose doctor payments in expression of good will. AP reports,

Dr. Peter Lurie, deputy director of the health research group at Public Citizen, said the state laws can let patients know when their doctors have a connection to a drug firm, but the state laws are not working very well. The laws have various exemptions and sometimes don’t even disclose the information to the public, he said.

Lurie was skeptical that Eli Lilly’s announcement represented a step forward on the issue of more transparency in health care.

“There are dozens of pharmaceutical companies. This is just one of them. Most won’t follow this guideline at all, and there will be no enforcement,” Lurie said. “This is Ely Lilly’s attempt to forestall the federal legislation by saying we’re in effect complying anyway.”

Needless to say, my skepticism remains high. Why wouldn’t Eli Lilly disclose all payments? How many of the payments they issues are under $500?

High drug prices are simply another example of the myth of the free market and “American capitalism.” This manner of economic laissez-faire hurts the lower economic echelons – which is the majority of Americans. Until we start being honest about the reality of our lack of regulation, American voters will never demand better treatment from the Corporatocracy our country has become. Socialism is not a bad word and does not work in its pure form. But for our citizens to reap the benefits of economic growth, we must pepper our capitalism with a bit of socialism. Pro-capitalism is not patriotic. Being honest is.

19
Feb
08

Dems Cracking Down on Pharmaceutical Companies – Commentary on Republican Aiding of Big Corporations

While this just might be political payback – after all, Edwards kept accusing Obama and Clinton of taking contributions from big drug companies – but, either way, Democrats in Congress have launched investigations into pharmaceutical corporation’s behaviors regarding Medicare, television advertising and the drug approval process. I for one, am thrilled. The pharmaceutical companies committed many transgressions under the approval of the Republican Congress.

Political philosophy has long held the belief that a vote for a Democrat means a vote for bigger, more powerful government. And this may be true (though not under Bush, who has expanded governmental powers above and beyond what any democrat could have ever gotten away with). The philosophy that a vote for a Republican will result in smaller government. Hmmm. That might be so, but instead of the powerful government you get with Democrats, you get powerful corporations with Republicans. And that is not good for the everyday American.

The pharmaceutical industry is simply one example of the havoc unregulated companies and industries can wreak on Joe Schmo. Just this past Sunday, 60 Minutes offered a report on the deaths caused by Bayer’s Trasylol each month due to the FDA’s unwilling to pull the drug that is 200 times more expensive than other drugs that are just as effective and don’t lead to renal failure and death.

Drug companies have armies of lobbyists who push the approval of drugs onto the public without effective clinical trials, who push for the approval of the use of adult cold medicines and antibiotics for children with no testing on children, who lobby doctors incessantly to prescribe chemicals for people for the slightest ailment and questionable diagnosis. Has anyone ever considered depression to be a developed-world condition and perhaps a visit to Sierra Leone or a labor camp in China or regular exercise might help to alleviate the symptoms rather than a myriad of tablets and pills? Just wondering…

Furthermore, and this is a comment on the free-market ideals of all the Ron Paulies out there, pharmaceutical companies control the patents on their drugs for years and can assign any cost they choose to life-saving medication. Customers simply cannot wander over to another drug company if they are unhappy with the services provided by the makers of Drug X.

Corporations collude, they merge, they control prices when unregulated. The free-market ideals introduced by Adam Smith and others that came during the Industrial Age in their purity do not apply in today’s setting. Pure theories, such as Communism, Capitalism and Socialism fail when taking into account the human psyche and cognitive dissonance. A balance must be struck. And the Republicans certainly are not willing to attempt such an endeavor. And so, we have unregulated industries.

The oil industry, with its record profits soaring – along with the prices of consumer goods; the airline industry, with its delays, overcrowding, and mass consumer disapproval; out-of-control lenders with their adjustable-rate-mortgages preying on subprime borrowers; dangerous toys from China making their way to kids’ mouths; CEOs with bonuses in the tens of millions while bottom-level employees can’t afford healthcare; monolithic corporate mergers; insurance companies that won’t pay their customers’ claims; the list goes on an on.

Personally, I’d rather a vote for bigger government. With a vote, I still have the power over who has the power. With a corporatocracy, I have no control over board-room deals that dictate my expenditures and consumer choices.

I do not prefer the idea of government regulation of our life, such as media censorship, but I choose react to the political reality of today, rather than the political ideal of what is supposed to be. The result of a Republican vote no longer means limited government, if it ever did. Republicans limit government when it comes to corporate behavior, not citizen behavior.

If it were up to Republicans, government would have greater control over what we do and don’t teach our kids in schools (creationism, abstinence) with very detrimental consequences. If it were up to Republicans, the government would control our decision to have an abortion. If it were up to Republicans, we would be much more concerned with NFL coaches destroying tapes of opposing teams’ play signals than the destroying of the CIA tapes and much more concerned with a boob shown during the Superbowl than genocide in Darfur. If it were up to Republicans, the concentration of executive powers acquired under Bush would remain, thwarting the effort of checks and balances intended by the founding fathers. If it were up to Republicans, government would launch a massive effort to criminalize undocumented workers in this country, going against the very foundations of our country’s greatness. Small government? Whatever!

We have a reality that must be recognized. Political party philosophies no longer apply to political party behavior. It is a shame we do not have a greater choice in the political parties to whom we may assign our votes. Given the two we got, however, I’m going with the Democrat. Because, in reality, with the Democrats, I stand a much better chance at determining the situations which affect my life rather than ceding them to Republican power whores and their corporate pimps.




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