June 9, 2019 – The Controversy Over Drug Prices and { not quite } Universal Health Care –

Sunday, June 9th, 2019 – +23˚C / +74˚F under slightly steel greyed blue skies & ‘clear’ in Atlantic Canada @ 1:00 pm –

— People are dying because they can’t afford their medications and “Big Pharma” is hiding the cost of producing those medications and blocking attempts to speed the process of allowing generic drugs at a fraction of their “Corporate Protected” price rigging schemes. – And not just in Canada – but world wide.

– Photo from a tweet by the Baltimore Sun “Maryland joins multi-state lawsuit alleging generic price fixing” –

— First: a bunch of links:

— From The Washington Post: “Generic drug price-fixing expands to 300 drugs and 16 companies” <— This one has a very long url.

— This is from the CBC – an article concerning eye drops: https://www.cbc.ca/news/health/eyedrop-waste-solution-1.5166985

— From The New Republic – “Big Pharma is pushing Big Lies

— From Tarbell dot org : “Rigged Drug Prices at Pharmacies and Hospitals” –  { & “America’s Broken Drug Supply Chain: What You Can Do” is below the lead article.

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— From 1995 until early 2002 I volunteered at WPKN FM { 89.5 FM in Bridgeport, Connecticut } where I served as the recording engineer for “Health Care in Mind” and “Progressive Voices” – call out shows hosted by Dr John Battista – a psychiatrist who had become active in trying to bring affordable health care to the state of Connecticut { – USA – just in case this article survives Donald J Trump’s administration and the U.S.A. doesn’t. } I was also the Director of Public Services for at least one year – screening PSA material to be sure that things submitted to the non-profit community based radio station for approval and airing as Public Service Announcements were not thinly disguised ads for commercial ventures.

— But the point is – Dr John Battista had done a lot of research and discovered that the State of Connecticut could save over One Billion US dollars a year if it went to a single payer Health Plan like that of Canada, The United Kingdom, and other highly civilized ‘Western’ nations.

— The Connecticut legislature became very interested in the Doctor’s research and several progressive Representatives asked him to bring a copy of his research to the General Assembly and testify about his research and his findings. The way the debate on this issue went – Friendly Representatives kept running back and forth from the floor of the General Assembly to where Dr Battista was waiting with encouraging messages, “Don’t give up – We’ll be up soon -” until around three a.m. when his disheartened allies from the General Assembly came to him and delivered the news – “We’re dead in the water – The state’s insurance lobby just killed us.”

— Dr Battista then became more and more politically active – joined the Connecticut Green Party and changed the focus of “Health Care In Mind” from what had been a patient advocacy themed show to bring on more and more progressive activists of all stripes to talk about health issues with a progressive slant. He also submitted a proposal for “Progressive Voices” – another call-out interview program that widened its scope to include all kinds of Progressive Issues. { I still have CD copies of half hour programs in which he interviewed Progressive Connecticut Representatives and an Attorney General who told us that one of his favorite triumphs was getting the state of New York to reimburse Connecticut drivers for fines they levied for not having current inspection stickers on their windshields when Connecticut had gone to a less rigorous program of inspecting exhaust systems with older vehicles exempt from needing to pass the same standards as newer vehicles, while New York State law insisted the whole vehicle be inspected and vehicles that did not pass had a short time to fix whatever caused the failure or be taken off the road.

— I also read an article in a Yale Alumni magazine that was lying in the waiting room at the West Haven Connecticut Veteran’s Hospital while my father was being treated in an emergency room for pulmonary distress on a Christmas Eve – The Article in that Yale magazine talked about Drug companies sending people into the Amazon Jungles with photographs of various diseases and rashes and other conditions, which they would show to indigenous shamen – The Shamen would look at a photograph, nod and lead the researchers to plants, roots, flowers, fruits, { – even bugs, larvae, and animals that could be prepared in some way } and indicate that these plants etc. could be used as remedies for those conditions. The article included a bit about one independent researcher who had gone the Amazon Jungle route, met with local healers and come back with recipes and examples of the remedies that could be mass produced quite inexpensively – and that researcher was very upset that a major drug company that was based in Connecticut would take a pill that had been prescribed to sheep at a penny a dose – and discover that it was effective against a condition in humans that usually needed major surgery to correct – and because that major surgery would cost in the region of $50,000 US dollars. The drug company felt well within its rights to sell that one penny per dose pill to desperate humans to the tune of $40,000. US dollars per year. I knew a junior executive who worked for the Drug company named in that article and asked him about it. His response was to send me a company newsletter that amounted to a cheer-leading {“Rah rah” ? } ‘Further adventures of our glorious CEO’ and that CEO’s glorious message to share holders.

— So, I have a little bit of insight into the corporate shenanigans that keep drug prices as high as they can get them. And I’m not really happy about it.

— One radio person from the nineteen eighties joked that Ronald Reagan would reincarnate as a single black mother on welfare as punishment for his policies and his declared war on welfare recipients. { I do not believe that God punishes anybody – I do believe in reincarnation and it is my take on the anomalies of suffering that we punish ourselves in order to become better persons and evolve toward ‘the better angels of our beings’. } I’m thinking that Pharmaceutical company executives would probably re-incarnate as innocent victims of poverty and diseases in third world countries where they will not be able to afford their medications and suffer intensely while most of the ‘civilized world’ could deal with those diseases at no cost to their citizens.

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— & because I needed to check out Tarbell dot org :  From Bill Moyers dot com —> an article about Tarbell dot org: “New Website Tarbell Fights Rich And Powerful

– Artistic Rendering by Udo J Keppler for Puck in 1904 – related to an article by Ida Tarbell. –

— Namesté,

— Jim Wellington – New Brunswick, Canada –

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