"The World of Medicine"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Saturday, June 10, 2017

The world of medicine is puzzling.

New medicines and treatments for ailments are introduced daily. Almost as often, new diseases are also discovered and we are diagnosed and sent for testing.

I often wonder how the pharmaceutical companies are ready with the medicines we need for new aliments before they are even named. As the population is aging, perhaps rebates should be available to those purchasing all the various medicines they are required to take. As soon as they have a 90-day supply on the shelf — because mail order is cheaper, you know — a new prescription is written that replaces it.

Every time someone gets a sniffle, burps or sneezes a medicine has to be taken. It may be a prescription or over-the-counter but it will put a dent in the budget so it is saved in case of a reoccurrence. Shelves are sagging from the weight of all the bottles of medicine.

Older folks who live in the northern climates travel south in the winter. This entails packing up all those meds to make the trip, just in case they are needed for the next time that sniffle starts up. Of course, when they settle in at their winter home and the sniffle does occur — the doctor announces there is a brand new treatment and writes a prescription that must be put on the winter’s sagging shelf. Many old-timers joke with each other saying they could open a drugstore with the amount of medicines they tote around.

Is anyone surprised that the insurance companies have joined forces with the pharmaceutical companies to rip us all off? They are now decreeing how often a prescription can be renewed and at what exact time. If you want to have on hand enough to meet your needs until your next opportunity to renew, they jump in and say “No.” Some of your prescriptions, that used to be available, are not even on the list of those you may purchase. You have to get a dispensation from the Pope saying you really, really need it — then they will let you spend the mega co-pay to get it.

Another devious way they increase their profits is to limit an order to 30 days, even though a doctor has written the prescription for 90 days. The 30-day supply cost more and places a burden on the purchaser to remember to refill it, and pay more, but the supplier gets a better return. Some of this action is driven by the tremendous abuse of illegal pain meds. All of the population must suffer the consequences because of those who are also profiting from the sale of the pain meds.

The over-the-counter business is just as bad. Most items come in containers large enough to hold a six-month supply but only have a 30-day amount in them. Sometimes they stuff cotton in the bottles — saying it is necessary to maintain “freshness.” Who falls for that statement? All of the products that are suggested be taken on a daily basis such as multi-vitamins, anti-acid, iron supplements are very expensive.

The drug companies know what products the doctors recommend be taken daily. The drug companies are also aware how all of us love to “self-medicate.” They design their TV ads announcing there is a wonderful new treatment for what ails us and we should ask our doctors to prescribe it. These ads will send us rushing to the drugstores to purchase it. Because it’s so great, and will cure our discomfort, the price is high. If anyone kept track of how much they spend on all the OTC meds they purchase in a given time — they would be appalled. Go take a look at that shelf – are you all cured?

As I see it, the drug companies, with the blessing of the insurance companies, will do whatever they can to make a greater profit. After all, the marketplace is full of willing purchasers. Why is no one representing them? Is it because everyone’s fingers are in the pot?

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