Category Archives: Uncategorized

Who Pays: Opioid Drug Settlement

The drug companies want to settle for 50 billion dollars. Where will the money for the settlement come from? The Sacklers? Stock holders? Or most likely you and me in the form of price increases.

Medicynical note: To avoid the inevitable pass-through to consumers who of course are the victims, these companies’ future price increases should be limited. I would suggest no increases for 5 years and then at the level of inflation for the next 5. The punishment should reflect the heinous nature of the crime.

Medical Debt Court: Uniquely American

Welcome to Coffeyville, Kansas, where the judge has no law degree, debt collectors get a cut of the bail, and Americans are watching their lives — and liberty — disappear in the pursuit of medical debt collection.”

“ON THE LAST TUESDAY of July, Tres Biggs stepped into the courthouse in Coffeyville, Kansas, for medical debt collection day, a monthly ritual in this quiet city of 9,000, just over the Oklahoma border. He was one of 90 people who had been summoned, sued by the local hospital, or doctors, or an ambulance service over unpaid bills. Some wore eye patches and bandages; others limped to their seats by the wood-paneled walls. Biggs, who is 41, had to take a day off from work to be there. He knew from experience that if he didn’t show up, he could be put in jail.”

“Before the morning’s hearing, he listened as defendants traded stories. One woman recalled how, at four months pregnant, she had reported a money order scam to her local sheriff’s office only to discover that she had a warrant; she was arrested on the spot. A radiologist had sued her over a $230 bill, and she’d missed one hearing too many. Another woman said she watched, a decade ago, as a deputy came to the door for her diabetic aunt and took her to jail in her final years of life. Now here she was, dealing with her own debt, trying to head off the same fate.”

Medicynical note: Only in America does medical debt lead to bankruptcy and in this demented town’s experience, jail. Every other industrialized country has a national health scheme and pays half or less per-capita in health care.

Prelude to a Price Increase: Vincristine, Chemo Drug for Childhood Leukemia in Short Supply

What is more cynical than cutting production of a drug essential for the treatment of childhood leukemia. Nothing.

“Until earlier this year, there were two suppliers of vincristine: Pfizer and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries. In July, Teva made a “business decision to discontinue the drug,” according to the Food and Drug Administration. “

“Since then, Pfizer has been the sole supplier, and the company lately has experienced manufacturing troubles.”

Medicynical note: Big pharma has a long history of manipulating supplies of drugs to increase their price point. Nothing is below them whether it is pricing an older HIV drug at literally hundreds of times more than previously, to charging hundreds of dollars for a few pennies worth (if that) of epinephrine for asthma, to paying many millions of dollars to delay the release of generic drugs that would compete with their brand. So an ill considered stoppage of production of an essential chemo drug is more of the same in the money driven system of revenue generation that we call healthcare.

Drug Pricing: it’s the money stupid

Pharmaceutical companies continue to raise prices on hundreds of drugs at rates well over that of inflation, according to a newly released report on drug-pricing data.

Medicynical note: Why? Because they can. And they can because we let them. Highest prices in the world.

Trump: Tax Cuts Benefitted Only the Wealthy

Interesting analysis that outs the tax rate of 400 billionaire families (and indirectly our largest and most successful corporations) vs the rest of us. Guess who pays more thanks to you know who.

Medicynical note: And guess whose incomes benefit most from governments tax revenues through military spending, this administration’s energy policies, intellectual property rights policies, border expenditures, agriculture support payments, health care and drug policies, Middle East adventures and tariff wars (etc, etc, etc) ?

Answer: Those who benefitted most from the Trump tax cuts–the largest corporations and the wealthiest citizens whether by inheritance or investment. They get more and pay less.

And guess who benefits least from Trumpism?

Answer: The Trump administration wants to increase taxes on the middle income and below tax payers by cutting the safety net (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Affordable Care Act, etc) and simply ignoring their health care needs? They benefit least and get to pay more.

American Exceptionalism again.

Incompetence Personified, Trump and the Kurds

He can’t help it. His ego leads him to the worst possible choice again……and again. .

“This was never going to be an easy situation to wind down, but there were certainly ways to do it without destroying America’s reputation as a reliable ally. As of today, however, it looks like that ship has sailed.”

Medicynical note: A peach colored bull in a china shop. Bumbling around almost at random without understanding long-standing relationships and previous commitments and, yes, debts. A not so slowly evolving foreign policy disaster. But then, he is the master of everything. (Sic)

I’m Sorry to Say: 70 is not the new 50

Perhaps the delusion is over.

Medicynical note: Bernie is an exceptionally vigorous 78 year old. His run for the presidency has been filled with all manner of promises, unrealistic but attractive, that have captured the imagination of many who haven’t bothered to calculate the costs. He now has little or no chance for the nomination. He represented Trump’s best chance for re-election. The same might also be said for Elizabeth Warren whose plans also seem as pie in the sky and unrealistic as Bernie’s–maybe a tad closer to reality. But IMHO they don’t pass the smell test. Meanwhile Biden, undeniably a nice guy with a sap sucking son bumbles along. And Trump at age 73 continues to play his role of ultra-conservative delusional, pseudo-religionist, misogynist with large intellectual deficits that he tries to cover-up with aggression and juvenile nastiness.

So the best the Democrats can do against Trump is three somewhat flawed aged front running candidates in the most crucial U.S. presidential election in our history. Can’t we do better?……..