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At the end of last week, a major news story remained largely uncovered and unaddressed in the media. The massive British pharmaceutical company, GlaxoSmithKlein, was force to pay $3 billion dollars to rectify flagrant health care fraud. The U.S. Justice Department strongly pushed the prosecution of criminal and civil offenses. Unrepentant to the end, the drug maker made no apologies.

From a period that ran from the late 1990's into the early 2000's, the corporation engaged in extensive, willful deception. It pushed ten of its prescription drugs as treatments for ailments, diseases, and disorders that it simply did not treat. None of these off-label uses were approved by FDA.

Most of the settlement involved three specific medications. Two of them are antidepressants and another, Avandia, was developed to treat diabetes. Major names were paid to promote claims that had no basis in fact. One of these was radio personality Dr. Drew Pinsky, who was reimbursed to extoll the virtues of Wellbutrin.

Dr. Pinsky is only one physician mentioned in the U.S. government's complaint. It also accuses a number of other doctors of taking large payments from the drug maker and improperly plugging its drugs, including one doctor who received $2 million from Glaxo between 2001 and 2003.

The complaint says the physician, James Pradko, gave hundreds of talks to doctors and Glaxo sales reps about depression and frequently made "off-label claims" about Wellbutrin's effectiveness against a number of conditions for which it isn't FDA-approved, including weight loss, chronic fatigue syndrome, erectile dysfunction and chemical dependencies.

The 99% devotees will take this news as additional proof of corporate greed and a society dominated by the wealthy. Anti-Romney types will bring up once more the Republican candidate’s assertion that corporations are people. All people are equal, but some are more equal than others. Both of these comparisons hold up under scrutiny, but there are multiple lessons to be learned here; lessons which exceed the same familiar populist arguments predicated on class envy.

Time Magazine has broken down what was a complicated decision. On the subject of the antidepressant drug Wellbutrin,

Glaxo used the help of PR firms and the appeal of lavish vacations to convince medical professionals to prescribe the antidepressant Wellbutrin for weight loss, sexual dysfunction, drug addiction and ADHD, even though the drug is FDA approved only to treat depression. Tavy Deming, an attorney for one of the whistle blowers, told the AP that during a regional meeting of sales representatives in Las Vegas in 2000, the reps were told to promote Wellbutrin as the drug that makes patients “happy, horny and skinny,” as part of a national slogan repeated to doctors.
Big Pharma has long been accused of similarly unethical tactics, but for the first time, one of its largest offenders has been caught red handed and forced to pay out as punishment. But the judgment, satisfying though it is, reveals a paradox in my own life. I cannot live without the innovation driven by revenue streams that then develop new and more effective prescription drugs.

I struggle daily with a series of chronic illnesses, and an essential part of my life involves taking medications on a regular, frequent basis. The cost alone for some medications is highly prohibitive and out of the reach of far too many. I am fortunate to have health insurance, otherwise, I’d not have access to the drugs that keep me at an even keel. My health would suffer, and I wouldn't be able to maintain a more or less normal life.

I’ve been prescribed Wellbutrin on a few occasions. It is often given to patients with bipolar disorder, like me, who need to keep depression away but don’t want to be flung into a state of mania. Under the trade name, Zyban, it’s given to cigarette smokers who want to quit. Its effects are relatively mild, though some have experienced significant side effects. To counter some of the more ridiculous claims, it certainly isn’t an aphrodisiac. Any antidepressant by its basic nature will cause sexual side effects, some of them extreme.  

Another example follows: until the last few months, no generic alternative existed for the powerful drug Seroquel. An atypical antipsychotic, it contains an FDA approved antidepressant quality and, more importantly, is sedating enough to allow me to sleep through the night. It has been a godsend for many manic depressives whose illness has transformed them into insomniacs. Sleep aids must be prescribed when natural sleep becomes impossible.  

That's the good part of this thorny issue. There's a dark side to all of this, too. Originally released in 1997, Seroquel was owned by AstraZeneca, another huge drug company. It kept sole control of Seroquel for fifteen years. Patents were extended and palms were greased to squeeze out the maximum amount of revenue possible for as long as could be maintained. Accordingly, AstraZeneca set the price of Seroquel around $1,000 for a thirty day supply.

I added it up the other day. Without insurance, my prescription costs could be as high as $2,000 per month. This doesn’t even begin to take into account doctor’s visits, the cost of procedures and tests, and the occasional ER visits. Companies like GlaxoSmithKlein are responsible for driving up healthcare costs for everyone when they insist upon charging excessive prices for their products. The industry has seldom been properly regulated. This court case might signal the beginning of real change, or it may go no further than this.

Because the pharmaceutical industry does trillions worth of business a year, $3 billion dollars in fines can easily be absorbed. That’s chump change to them. As much as I wish the court order might serve as some practical deterrent, I have developed a cynical side over time. This decision may influence behavior for a while, but I fear that it won’t go much farther than that.    

I am reminded in this instance of the patent medicine boom of the late 19th Century. Mail-order remedies for a variety of ailments promised immediate and instantaneous relief. Upon chemical analysis, these snake oil curatives were discovered to be comprised mostly of opium or alcohol. Yet, the virtues of these remedies were advertised by hyperbole for decades until formal, effective reform legislation was passed. The Pure Food and Drug act of 1906 sought to eliminate poisonous or addictive elixirs and cure-alls. We are past time for another round of needed reforms.    

To return to the Time article,

Although the antidepressant Paxil is not approved for patients under 18, Glaxo illegally marketed the drug for use in children and teens, offering kickbacks to doctors and sales representatives to push the drug.

A government probe was launched in 2002, and it was discovered that Paxil, as well as several other antidepressants, were no more effective than placebo in treating depression in kids. Indeed, between 1994 and 2001, Glaxo conducted three clinical trials of Paxil’s safety and efficacy in treating depression in patients under 18, and all three studies failed to pass muster.

Children, the most vulnerable among us, are usually handled gently when it comes to medication. That is what makes this particular abuse difficult to swallow. But, neither should this discourage the use of prescription drugs for children when they are needed. Reactionary decisions, for example, those that would deny kids routine immunizations out of fear that they might develop Autism are one such example. I developed clinical depression when I was 15, and was given medication at that age. The meds kept me alive. Talk therapy alone was not sufficient.

Many people pontificate endlessly about a nation inclined to overmedicate. They speak of doctors who over-prescribe with reckless abandon. These alarmist views have some basis in fact, but they don’t often take into account the full picture. It isn’t medication or medical advances that are the issue, it’s the greed that goes in into making such astronomical amounts of revenue. Nor should we forget the private slush funds that are standard practice for these corporations. They have been used so successfully to buy off doctors, manipulate medical data, and hire authoritative, trusted voices to peddle their wares.

I learned a long time ago that pharmaceutical malfeasance was a necessary evil, at least as far I was concerned. I’ve developed my own justification to address a situation over which I have no control. The company that makes money hand over fist will be more financially able and willing to invest in newer, more effective drugs. Or, at least, that’s what I tell myself. In this capitalist wilderness, the contradictions and mutually parasitic relationships evident in the process may always be present.

Originally posted to cabaretic on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 07:15 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Just a note.. $3B isn't chump change even for (7+ / 0-)

    GlaxoSmithKline.  That's like 40% of their net profit for an entire year.  That's the sort of stuff CEOs get fired over.

    •  Yes, and the statement that Big Pharma (5+ / 0-)

      does trillions of dollars of business a year is difficult to fathom in light of the fact that total health care expenses are something like $2.4 trillion a year and pharmaceuticals make up about one seventh of that.

      In any event, if the diariast (and everybody else) doesn't like Big Pharma, JUST STOP USING THEIR PRODUCTS (something, btw, I did long ago . . . ).

    •  Four settlements in recent years. (5+ / 0-)
      ....will also require the company to enter intoa five-year "corporate integrity agreement". The government's case was based partially on a lawsuit brought by former Glaxo employees in the federal court in Boston in 2003 under the False Claims Act which dates back to 1863.

      snip....Paxil, which brought in $11.6 billion in sales to the company, Wellbutrin, which brought in $5.9 billion in sales to the company and Avandia, which brought in $10.4 billion in sales during the period of time in question, are the 3 drugs that formed the basis for the complaint. Illegal marketing of 6 other drugs were involved in the case also.

      The settlement was Glaxo's fourth within the last several years.

      GlaxoSmithKline, the British drug giant, has agreed to pay $750 millionto settle criminal and civil complaints that the company for years knowingly sold contaminated baby ointment and an ineffective antidepressant — the latest in a growing number of whistle-blower lawsuits that drug makers have settled with multimillion-dollar fines.

      Altogether, GlaxoSmithKline sold 20 drugs with questionable safety that were made at a huge plant in Puerto Rico that for years was rife with contamination.

      snip/.....saying a $150 million payment to settle criminal charges was the largest such payment ever by a manufacturer of adulterated drugs. The outcome also provides $600 million in civil penalties. my bold

      South Korea's anti-trust agency has fined drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline three billion won ($2.6 million) for conspiring with a Seoul rival over the sale of drugs, an official said Monday.
      .... GSK in 2000 offered Dong-A Pharmaceutical the exclusive right to sell its anti-nausea drug Zofran and an anti-viral medication called Valtrex.
      ......The FTC said in a statement it estimated GSK had made wrongful gains of about 16 billion won. It said "the two firms shared benefits that were to go to consumers".
      $2.6 million fine for collusion
      I guess this is called piling on!

      "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

      by Gorette on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 10:55:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You've got 2 memes going here (11+ / 0-)

    Big pharma malfeasance --a political problem that is getting more rotten because of our  ludicrous  health-care system and the unregulated profiteering that festers in our society.

    The other is more personal, in terms of your own needs and experience. Thank you for sharing that.

    I am well aware that nearly every drug is a two-edged sword. They all have  side-affects, some more severe than the problem they are "curing."

    I also take an expensive array of drugs, which would be virtually impossible to pay for without insurance.

    In my case, though, without them I wouldn't be able to physically stay alive, since my pancreas has failed completely now. So I need medicines that are replacing hormones usually produced by the body. (insulins and digestive hormones)

    Democrats promote the Common good. Republicans promote Corporate greed.

    by murasaki on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 09:24:42 AM PDT

  •  A lot could be done to rationalize this industry (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    get the red out, llywrch, indres, FG, pittie70

    I see the value in a strong, innovative, well funded pharma industry but it's not widgets and not a free market. The public deserves to see audits of to what degree physicians, academia, and clinical data drive pharma research rather than marketing and sales. Also R&D shouldn't be embedded in retail prices for many reasons but one is that usually the public has already contributed to R&D in the tax rules. For both moral and market reasons, compensation and profit models for all clinical care, devices, and drugs merit special cases that prevent the moral hazard of profit from greater sickness or denial of care.

    Advertising should be restricted to doctors.

    Drugs are prescribed not because of the drug but the need to either save life, heal sickness, or relieve pain. It should be assumed that all lives have the same value, people are created equal, so all clinical needs should be considered equivalent and equally priced.

    I only disagree with you on the coverage. The GSK case was in every paper and on every news site. It's big, a very big fine. And it should influence the business of pharma assuming they don't get it cut.  

    Eliminate the Bush tax cuts Eliminate Afghan and Iraq wars Do these things first before considering any cuts

    by kck on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 09:26:20 AM PDT

    •  Not on tv news. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kck, DRo

      "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

      by Gorette on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 10:13:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The reason for prescribing---that's one of (7+ / 0-)

      the  problems. In best world, your comment would be true (and I am assuming this is a statement of fact, not one of hope):

      Drugs are prescribed not because of the drug but the need to either save life, heal sickness, or relieve pain.
      In reality, doctors are paid to prescribe certain drugs--- for the sake of selling drugs. Some doctors go along with that, and others do not.

      "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

      by Gorette on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 10:20:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Doctors should be the decision makers IMHO... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gorette, indres

        ...guided by protocols with retrospective case reviews and professional oversight. Physicians and appropriate ancillary staff have the expertise, the responsibility, authority, and access.

        You make a good point. Payola should be as illegal in every aspect of health care as it is in TV and radio.

        Racketeering and vice are already illegal - let's enforce the law!

        Eliminate the Bush tax cuts Eliminate Afghan and Iraq wars Do these things first before considering any cuts

        by kck on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 10:40:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  No, kck..everyone is not "created" equal (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jojos Mojo

      Neither are "clinical needs. No two people diagnosed with the same illness is going to experience the same outcome.

      If you need an example, look at the treatment rates of cancer patients. Some respond well to treatment, others, not so much.

      •  Let me clarify... (2+ / 0-)

        I don't mean equality wrt "outcomes" in any way but equality wrt value as a human and therefore equal access to care requirements, no matter how individualized.

        Hope that helps.

        Eliminate the Bush tax cuts Eliminate Afghan and Iraq wars Do these things first before considering any cuts

        by kck on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 11:49:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  This is a bigger statement (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    get the red out, DRo

    than you might appreciate:

    It isn’t medication or medical advances that are the issue, it’s the greed involved in making such astronomical amounts of revenue.
    Regarding nuclear power (please pardon an analogy), we have always had activists, some very prominent, who want to ban it in all its forms: "no nukes." During the 70s and 80s, in progressive circles, their voices were ascendant.

    In the wake of Fukishima, we've clearly heard certain progressives articulating another, more nuanced position. Namely, the technology exists to run nuclear power plants safely and to dispose of nuclear wastes so they aren't harmful. But, because of greed, corners are often cut. Nuclear power plants are run badly, and they are vulnerable to catastrophes, natural and man-made. A well-run nuclear power plant would pose no hazard. But an earthquake can strike a badly-run nuclear power plant, and radiation can escape. An ecosystem can be ruined, people can die.

    Back to alternative-vs.-conventional medicine, it's fascinating stuff, to me. If it's taken seriously, the controversy about the corruption of Western medicine by the profit motive, versus the limitations of the model, itself, can raise discussions about healthcare to a whole new level.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 09:27:42 AM PDT

  •  Great diary (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DawnN, llywrch, DRo, revsue

    It is the greed that is the problem.  I too am very grateful for pharmaceutical advances, but the greed in our healthcare system is beyond belief.  Something has to be done.  I am on an allergy medication that would be around $300 per month without insurance, one medication, so I can breathe easily and nothing else worked.  That's not a drop in the bucket to what a lot of medications cost if a person isn't insured.  And we live in a country where there are people willing to screem "let them die" at the thought that more uninsured people can even obtain basic healthcare.  

  •  You should see the pharm advertising in TX - (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    indres, DRo

    it's just ridiculous.  Especially during the day, when all the seniors are watching TV.  You get ads for Plavix, Lyrica, the gout drug, the rheumatism drug - everything that Astra-Zeneca makes, you can see an ad for it on TV.  And of course Perry is in Merck's pocket.

    I'm sick and tired of pharmaceutical companies running the show - it always seems like they're in the business of disease management, rather than curing disease.

    I'd rather be called a dirty fucking hippy for reading books then to stand on the side that throws books in the garbage. - MinistryofTruth

    by Jensequitur on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 11:01:09 AM PDT

    •  And the problem is, since Lyrica is prescribed for (4+ / 0-)

      fibromyalgia, and I have fibromyalgia and do not take Lyrica, all I need to do is to take Lyrica and I'd be cured.

      Except that I've tried Lyrica, it takes away the very minor component of the pain that is purely neuropathic, and it costs me $150 a month. I don't have the money to waste on that.

      My rheumatologist told me that he suspects when we find what the real cause of fibromyalgia is, that we'll discover that "fibromyalgia" as currently diagnosed is five or six different illnesses, each of which, understandably, respond to different drugs and therapies.

      When you come to find how essential the comfort of a well-kept home is to the bodily strength and good conditions, to a sound mind and spirit, and useful days, you will reverence the good housekeeper as I do above artist or poet, beauty or genius.

      by Alexandra Lynch on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 03:07:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My mother suffers from a form of fibromyalgia (4+ / 0-)

        Her chronic pain didn't respond to the drugs prescribed by her doctor at all and they left her completely unable to take care of herself. She found that adding a little of her homegrown cannabis to her meals and drinking a cup of cannabis herbal tea at night before going to bed allowed her to resume her quite active lifestyle with far less pain.

        Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

        by RMForbes on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 03:51:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I've heard that from a couple of other people. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          revsue

          Mine is almost totally brain fog, so cannabis is not the answer. (giggle) It also amplifies any other pains I have, and since I have arthritis from trying to fold my foot in half in my twenties, I am not entirely sure how much pain is the arthritis and how much is purely fibro. In practice, the pain pill for the arthritis takes care of the fibro pain too, and the cognitive issues are taken care of by medicating my ADHD.

          When, you know, I can afford my meds.

          When you come to find how essential the comfort of a well-kept home is to the bodily strength and good conditions, to a sound mind and spirit, and useful days, you will reverence the good housekeeper as I do above artist or poet, beauty or genius.

          by Alexandra Lynch on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 12:18:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I have MS... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Alexandra Lynch

        and I'm convinced that all the different ways people have MS, the different types, and the different kinds of progression are actually several different diseases.  They only seem similar because of similar clinical signs.

        I'd rather be called a dirty fucking hippy for reading books then to stand on the side that throws books in the garbage. - MinistryofTruth

        by Jensequitur on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 04:11:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  "Capitalist wilderness"? Where do you get (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    indres

    that from? The same place as the "envy" comment you made I suppose.

    ...the same familiar populist arguments predicated on class envy.
    Anti-Romney types will bring up once more the Republican candidate’s assertion that corporations are people. All people are equal, but some are more equal than others. Both of these comparisons hold up under scrutiny, but there are multiple lessons to be learned here; lessons which exceed the same familiar populist arguments predicated on class envy.
    "Anti-Romney types" like myself. Hmmff.

    It is not envy. It is rejection of the huge profits at the expense of more for workers. But if it makes you feel better to think of us as "types" who "envy," be my guest. I'm really not sure what "type" you are.

    "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

    by Gorette on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 11:17:01 AM PDT

  •  NOT the first such settlement! Many others. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    indres

    You said:

    Big Pharma has long been accused of similarly unethical tactics, but for the first time, one of its largest offenders has been caught red handed and forced to pay out as punishment.

    my bold

    This is not the first such settlement, other companies have also had them, which you can learn from googling the topic. Check out:

    1.  Bextra settlement almost one billion $$

    2. babies tested, settlement for GSK 150k pounds

    "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

    by Gorette on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 11:21:08 AM PDT

  •  greed writ large and small (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    indres, enhydra lutris

    witness the case of KV Pharmaceuticals trying to charge $690 per dose of progesterone, which can be had from compounding pharmacies for ~$15.  KV tried to get the FDA to put the compounders out of that business.  The FDA refused and now KV is suing to try to force them to do their bidding.

  •  I was so glad to see video with the agents on C-sp (0+ / 0-)

    an recently. Not having cable I often check out what's on their front page and that day I got lucky. Finally the FBI is getting serious about some forms of corruption in the USA. We need thousands of agents sniffing around medical businesses of every kind.  For-profits have no place in healthcare.

    I rec'd then undid rec after getting down into your diary.

  •  I can't help but wonder if there would (0+ / 0-)

    be less of an incentive to over promote drugs and deceive the public if research were done by the government instead of for-profit pharmaceutical companies. People will always have egos and the process wouldn't be perfect, but would think that removing the profit motive might help a bit. It would leave scientists competing for the Nobel Prize or doing the work for its own rewards.

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 02:21:59 PM PDT

  •  Big Pharma's greed may have unintended consequence (0+ / 0-)

    Not long ago our federal government moved the primary and actual drug that produces the psychoactive affects in cannabis, THC, into Schedule 3 of Nixon's Controlled Substance Act so that Big Pharma could market their Marinol and Sativex. This action creates a legal paradox where the plant from which a drug is extracted and purified is legally considered far more dangerous, being highly addictive without medicinal value and with a high likelihood of abuse while the concentrated drug itself is considered a valuable medicine.

    How long will it be before this logical inconsistency brings down the federal prohibition against cannabis and hemp?

    When are the American public and our politicians going to realize that plants aren't the drugs? Do we call tobacco plant the drug or is it nicotine? Is the coffee bean the drug or is it caffeine? Why then are all varieties of cannabis including hemp which couldn't make you "high" if you smoked a joint the size of a telephone pole considered a drug?

    When are our corporate owned media going to start telling us the truth? When are the politicians and media going to admit the prohibition of cannabis was always about preventing hemp from competing against politically connected corporate interests? Even more important, what happens to Big Pharma's profits when cannabis can be grown in our gardens and used to treat our aches and pains instead of their products?

    www.rmforbes.net

    Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

    by RMForbes on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 03:20:48 PM PDT

    •  Hmm... (0+ / 0-)

      A) This comment has just about nothing to do with the actual diary.

      B)

      primary and actual drug that produces the psychoactive affects in cannabis,
      You're oversimplifying things to the point of dishonesty. Cannabidinol doesn't have a buzz? Really? Ever tried any?

      So while I agree with your point if not your over-the-top rhetoric, I have to tell you that this comment probably turned more people off than on.

      And hey, to point it out- where cannabis has been implemented as medicine, mighty big huge profits have been made, at the expense of sick people.

      So yeah, sure, cannabis should be available as a treatment for those cases where it's indicated. But it's a drug like any other, and huge profits are made at the expense of end-users, just like any other drug.

      Again, just a drug, not magic.

      •  You totally missed my whole point (0+ / 0-)

        It was the power and greed of Big Pharma that finally moved the PRIMARY cannabiniod that produces the cannabis "high", THC out of the most restrictive Schedule 1 into the far less restrictive Schedule 3 in Nixon's Controlled Substances Act. This happened because Big Pharma wanted to sell their Marinol and Sativex which contains THC extracted from the cannabis plant. CBD or cannabidiol is not listed in any Schedule of the CSA.

        My point is that Big Pharma's greed is going to come back and bite them in the butt because it exposed the value of the cannabinoids in cannabis. If you believe that the cannabis plant is a drug then it's you that is "oversimplifying things to the point of dishonesty". THC is just one of 85 known active ingredients in cannabis and THC is the drug. The cannabis plant is not a drug, it's a plant.

        How can the cannabis plant (including hemp) remain in the most restrictive Schedule 1 while the Primary actual drug extracted from the plant, THC has been moved to the less restrictive Schedule 3? Why can't a doctor prescribe MMJ but they can now prescribe extracted drug THC? Are you trying to tell me you don't see the problem with this?

        Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

        by RMForbes on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 10:56:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Do we forget how much they spent to defeat (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    enhydra lutris

    health care reform?

    An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

    by don mikulecky on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 05:48:57 AM PDT

  •  I read somewhere that FDA (0+ / 0-)

    only requires a minimum number of positive tests to allow a drug to go to market.  The trick is that the pharmaceutical companies can run as many tests as they please to get the two or three positive tests the FDA requires.  And yet the companies are not required to report any of the failed tests.  

    That strikes me as one area where change is needed.  Lets make it a requirement that ALL tests of new drugs are right out there in the public domain for all of us to look at.  If it took forty tests for you to get two tests that came up positive, I'd like to know about the thirty-eight negatives and be able to examine that research myself.

    Also, back in my parents' day, it was illegal to withhold life-saving drugs from the public just to make money. (It was even considered immoral, as un-American as that sounds these days.)  I don't recall polio vaccinations being withheld from families to jack up someone's profits.  So I think this is another thing that needs to change.  Make it illegal to hold patents on certain medications. (Also, if a publicly funded American university discovers a new drug, make big Pharma pay through the nose one way or another for it, in perpetuity.)

    Finally, thank you personally, cabaretic, for confirming from your personal experience what I suspected happened to a friend of mine.  He is also bipolar.  Unfortunately he was unemployed for over a year.  I rented some space from him right before he went off the rails and lost it all.  I think it was because, without health insurance, he stopped having access to anyone who could interact with him personally and calibrate his meds.  He was someone who had run a business and managed a large old house for a bit over two decades.  Those last few months before he fell apart, I saw what the meds did to him and it wasn't even remotely functional.  

    Anymore, of course, I live with the fact that everywhere I turn my friends are losing their homes or just dying prematurely because of our system of extortion aka American healthcare.  It is much worse though, to remember what has happened to the friend or two who needed medication and good personal care from psychiatric professionals and stopped being able to get it.  Those people are now institutionalized somewhere, even as I write this.  They don't need to be, and I'm sure they know where they are and what has happened to them.

    If we could asset-strip a few pharmaceutical CEOs and ship them and their relations and lickspittles off to the Maldives or China to spend the rest of their days working without healthcare in a third world sweatshop, that would at least be worth a good laugh.

    What I really want is my friends back.  In my dreams I make enough to have a big house.  And I have free time, and maybe even some money above and beyond subsistence.  I could get my friends out of those institutions and bring them to live with me.  We could all spend our last days being human again, enjoying our friendships again.  Oh, did I mention that one of my institutionalized friends is the best gardener ever?  Someone who knows more about growing food than anyone I've ever met?  What a smart move for the community to incarcerate and over-medicate a woman like that.  It's not as if anyone needs her expertise is it?

  •   Medicine Salesman (0+ / 0-)

    Should be force to  take  classes same as a Pharmacy Tech   to peddle medicine in doctor offices,you cannot dispense medicine in a Pharmacy without being properly trained

  •  The government has granted pharma a (0+ / 0-)

    legal oligopoly by prohibiting importation and reimportation. There are some drugs, made in automated assembly lines in places like Puerto Rico where the difference between a bottle selling for $1.00 per 100 and $500.00 per hundred is simply the language and information on the label, the destination country. We pay a vast premium and should not have to.

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 08:52:28 AM PDT

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