Friday, April 29, 2016

Two Big Things

If I could change only two things in this country today, this is what I would pick.

1) No person working for government can accept any type of gift - including campaign donations personally. Basically, NCAA standards would apply to anyone in federal government. If it's wrong for a college student to accept help paying rent or an electric bill, then it's wrong for a government official making $170,000 to accept hotel stays, rental cars, $1,000 meals, and more. All campaign donations should be made anonymously to avoid the current process of kickbacks and corruption.

2) Pharmaceutical sales representatives would not be allowed to verbally transmit any information regarding their products. All product information must be written (or digital) and approved by the company's legal department. Also, they would be prevented from "bringing food" and other gifts of that nature to doctors and hospitals. The cost of many drugs has risen exponentially over the past several years. And drugs are being offered to patients with by doctors who have absolutely no idea what the drug does, but the pharmaceutical rep said "it has everything" so it must be the best.

As an example, I was offered by my physician in Louisville a prescription to take a prenatal supplement to help with my B-12 deficiency. She said it "had everything" so it would be the best one (I wasn't actually pregnant or trying to become pregnant at the time, this was before our first child). After doing some research on this expensive, name-brand vitamin, I realized that not only did it NOT have ANY B-12, but it had very few vitamins and minerals. It also was high in folic acid which can interact badly and interfere with the absorbency of B-12. So, instead, I chose a sublingual over the counter B-12 supplement, for a tiny fraction of the price. Not everyone has the ability or capacity to check behind their doctor on every recommendation, or even to price check for lower price options.

Hence, the average monthly cost of drugs to treat cancer patients has "inexplicably" climbed from an average of $1,800 per month for drugs launched in 2000 to over $11,000 PER MONTH for drugs launched in 2014. So, which drugs do you think those "sweet, nice" pharmaceutical reps are advocating for in their weekly lunch meetings with doctors and hospitals?

Yes, if all this happened, a lot of jobs would likely be lost. But I think we would also have a lot better laws in this country, a lot lower costs for prescriptions and healthcare, and a lot more peace of mind about our government, and our doctors.
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