Saturday, July 02, 2005

The Morning Retch: Drug profiteering edition


The New York Times has a couple of disgusting bits of news this morning:
  • In Mississippi, Soaring Costs Force Deep Medicaid Cuts -- Reporter Saila Dewan tells us:

    Starting Friday, most Medicaid recipients in Mississippi will be limited to five prescription drugs at a time, with no process for appeal. The cap appears to be the most restrictive in the nation, but is just one of many measures being taken by states seeking to rein in soaring Medicaid costs.

    It will hit hard for people like Erainna Johnson, 42, left legally blind by a stroke in 1997. She takes 19 medications - already more than the previous Medicaid limit of seven - relying on family members, her church and free samples from doctors to make up the difference. "Sometimes I just crack my pills in half, honestly," she said, sitting in the living room of her trailer here.

    Dewan did a good job finding human interest victims of this cutback -- and white ones at that. Why do these people have to suffer? To cut costs.
  • Drug Lobby Got a Victory in Trade Pact Vote -- According to Stephanie Saul:

    The sidewalk between the drug industry's headquarters in Washington and the United States trade representative's office has been taking a pounding from the wingtips of industry lobbyists. The work of these drug industry courtiers, who represent what is arguably Washington's biggest and wealthiest lobby, appears to have succeeded in the Central American Free Trade Agreement. The agreement would extend the monopolies of drug makers and, critics say, lead to higher drug prices for the mostly impoverished people of the six Latin American countries it covers.

    . . .The trade pact [includes] a requirement that gives brand-name manufacturers market exclusivity for five years after a drug is registered in the countries, even if the 20-year patent has expired.

    Nice. This provision amounts to incentive to withhold drugs from poor Central American countries as long as possible, so as to keep exclusive rights. Who cares if sick Central Americans die?

What is wrong with a country and a system that treats human health as a commodity?

1 comment:

ollie said...

Yet Ol Miss remains one of the reddest states in the nation.


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