Big Pharma

Big Pharma. What does that bring to mind? If you’re like me it makes your head begin to explode just thinking about it. Counter productive, no? Well, actually, it’s very productive for them.

I remember a doctor I used to go to many years ago who drove me crazy with every visit. Why? I always try to get the earliest appointment so there’s not a lot of time in the waiting room. With this doctor, the first appointment was usually with a pharmaceutical rep.

So I would sit in the waiting room, fuming, while she was filling her mini drug store. There was never a time I didn’t leave with a new ‘sample’ drug for some reason or another, probably for high blood pressure. The pharma rep left knowing his bosses would be happy.

--(The transparency issue has improved somewhat, thanks to the Affordable Care Act’s Open Payment database that was released last year and requires pharmaceutical companies to disclose any payments and gifts given to doctors or hospitals per emed cert.)

Most of my working life I was in sales. Radio sales, newspaper sales, retail sales, or promoting and selling my own businesses. I rarely had samples to leave anyone like pharma reps do, although sometimes there were concert tickets when I sold radio. I’m not blaming the reps, believe me. It’s a tough job and their salaries aren’t as great as they should be considering the money these companies make.

Where does research and development spending go? According to The Motley Fool, there are over 7,000 drugs in development worldwide; around 70% are potential 1st in class meds; the average cost for developing new drugs is 2.6 billion dollars and 5.2 billion is spent on advertising.

It occurred to me while watching tv the other night, drug company ads are a lot like drumpf’s administration. Smoke and mirrors. He’s creating a distraction with his tweets while bombing Syria without any discussion with Congress. Or, ranting about Obama wire-tapping him to detract from his love affair with Putin.

The typical tv ad for, oh let’s say…Viagra, since it airs a million times a day, has a couple canoodling as they check into a ritzy hotel while the voice-over explains how the side effects could ruin everything and leave you searching for a doctor in a strange town while trying to hide your boner.

(--On a side note, the number of sexual dysfunction drugs for men outnumber those for women TWENTY-FOUR TO ZERO! We can’t even get equality in the bedroom.)

By the way, the United States and New Zealand are the only countries who air pharmaceutical advertising. Imagine how much more could be done if all that advertising money went into R&D!

Where was I…

Oh, It’s not just about sexually biased drug advertising. Every pharmaceutical ad on TV is designed and directed like a movie or television show. Beautiful scenery and loving families, perhaps on vacation or just having a backyard barbecue, while the voice-over explains all the potential side effects that may kill you.

The older we get the more drugs we need. I personally take 3 daily. I’m sure there will be more in my future. It’s part of growing older, I suppose, and if it keeps me mentally stable and physically active I’ll gratefully continue taking them. But, not everyone can afford the medications they need, even with generics.

Medical insurance is critical to good care. Not everyone can afford insurance either. Between the abhorrent ‘re-creation’ of the ACA that Congress threw together, (that, thankfully failed), and our clueless golfer in chief, we should all be concerned.

The people who voted for this administration may be the most vulnerable to what it has become. A big bank, big pharma country club that could care less about them.

How do you feel about this?

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