Monthly Archives: April 2017

Prescription Drugs (Why do we subsidize the rest of the world?)

46 a) Prescription Drugs (Why do we subsidize the rest of the world?)

Most of us are aware that Branded RX has a much higher cost than the generic equivalent. The company for the branded item is allowed exclusive rights to the product for many years to allow them to recover the cost of the research. What most people do not realize is that this recovery cost is almost exclusively borne by the US Consumer despite the fact that the drug is being sold all over the world.

Source for the following:

Americans Pay More for Prescription Drugs than Any Other Country

Cancer drugs aren’t the only costly prescription drugs, and even drugs prescribed for less serious ailments can break the average American’s bank, even with health insurance.

For instance, according to a 2013 report released by the International Federation of Health Plans, Nexium – the “purple pill” commonly prescribed for acid reflux – cost more than $200 for U.S. patients in 2013 and only $60 in Switzerland, the next-most-expensive price in the world for the same drug. In the Netherlands, it cost $23.

A generic version of Nexium became available in 2015, but AstraZeneca filed a restraining order against one company blocking it from selling the drug in the U.S., according The Wall Street Journal.

Specialty drugs for chronic diseases like multiple sclerosis carry inflated prices. Prescriptions of Copaxone and Gilenya cost about $4,000 and $5,500, respectively, nearly three times more than the most-expensive price in other countries.

Americans pay more for their drugs than residents of any other country in the world. There are several reasons why, but two of the biggest myths promoted by Big Pharma involve the industry’s cost of research and development (R&D).

Stay tuned next week for more on this.

High speed cop car chases, are they worth it?

Chapter 45

High speed cop car chases, are they worth it?

With the evolution of communication technology I wonder the value of high speed police pursuits. It seems that by using police band radio and cell phones most of these chases could be avoided and still result in apprehension. My primary concern is with the unnecessary deaths that have resulted from this activity.

The following is taken from and August 2015 article in USA today:

During the 24 year period from 1979 to 2013 there were almost 12,000 fatalities resulting from high speed chases by police vehicles. Of these 6,301 were the deaths of those being pursued (in at least one case for running a red light and in another for failure to turn on head lights), 5,066 were of innocent bystanders or other non-violators in vehicles and 139 were police officers.

Another consideration is the need for high powered police cruisers. We might need to consider lower powered and more fuel efficient vehicles and replace the high speed chase with efficient communications among law enforcement? It is interesting to note that most European countries utilize small economy units as police vehicles. Despite what we see in Hollywood’s chase scenes most of these vehicles are not chase capable.

America , the world’s cop

Chapter 44

America , the world’s cop                                                                                            

I strongly favor our ability to provide a national defense but, there are at least three points that concern me regarding this issue: 1. Our intrusion into any other countries’ civil affairs. One wonders how we would feel if another country decided that they needed to invade our borders because they deemed that we were not treating a segment of our citizens fairly or in an inhumane manner. 2. Putting our boys and girls in harm’s way, resulting in the deaths of many. In addition to the death toll we need to recognize the high cost of rehabilitation of those who have been wounded both physically and psychologically. 3. The cost to the tax payer and the impact it has on the budget deficit.

Our intrusion into other countries: The valid argument here is that people are being killed for what we determine are good reasons. It is unfortunate that there are still evil rulers that see fear and murder as a valid weapon to secure and retain power. We all hope for a world where this is not the case. How and where do we draw the line on intrusion into another country’s affairs? Will our intrusion insure that the next ruler will be an improvement? Will our intrusion prevent it from happening again in another (or the same) country?

Killing and maiming our boys and girls:  In Iraq there have been 4,419 deaths, and in Afghanistan – 3,347. The wounded represent more than 5 times these numbers. According to the U.S. State Department, the number of U.S. citizens killed overseas as a result of incidents of terrorism from 2001 to 2013 was 350.                                                                                                                                                          Using numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we found that from 2001 to 2013, 406,496 people died by firearms on U.S. soil. (2013 is the most recent year CDC data for deaths by firearms is available.) This data covered all manners of death, including homicide, accident and suicide, with suicide representing approximately 2/3rds of the total deaths by gun and extremely few in defense of home and property.

The cost to the tax payer:

The U.S. war in Iraq has cost $1.7 trillion with an additional $490 billion in benefits owed to war veterans and expenses that could grow to more than $6 trillion over the next four decades counting interest. The war in Afghanistan has cost the United States nearly $1.2 trillion — or $1.172 trillion, to be exact — since its inception in 2001 through July 31, 2012, according to the U.S. Defense Department.