Letters

Letters 08-31-2015

Inalienable Rights This is a response to the “No More State Theatre” in your August 24th edition. I think I will not be the only response to this pathetic and narrow-minded letter that seems rather out of place in the northern Michigan that I know. To think we will not be getting your 25 cents for the movie you refused to see, but more importantly we will be without your “two cents” on your thoughts of a marriage at the State Theatre...

Enthusiastically Democratic Since I was one of the approximately 160 people present at when Senator Debbie Stabenow spoke on August 14 in Charlevoix, I was surprised to read in a letter to Northern Express that there was a “rather muted” response to Debbie’s announcement that she has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president...

Not Hurting I surely think the State Theatre will survive not having the homophobic presence of Colleen Smith and her family attend any matinees. I think “Ms.” Smith might also want to make sure that any medical personnel, bank staff, grocery store staff, waiters and/or waitress, etc. are not homosexual before accepting any service or product from them...

Stay Home I did not know whether to laugh or cry when I read the letter of the extremely homophobic, “disgusted” writer. She now refuses to patronize the State Theatre because she evidently feels that its confines have been poisoned by the gay wedding ceremony held there...

Keep Away In response to Colleen Smith of Cadillac who refused to bring her family to the State Theatre because there was a gay wedding there: Keep your 25 cents and your family out of Traverse City...

Celebrating Moore And A Theatre I was 10 years old when I had the privilege to see my first film at the State Theatre. I will never forget that experience. The screen was almost the size of my bedroom I shared with my older sister. The bursting sounds made me believe I was part of the film...

Outdated Thinking This letter is in response to Colleen Smith. She made public her choice to no longer go to the State Theater due to the fact that “some homosexuals” got married there. I’m not outraged by her choice; we don’t need any more hateful, self-righteous bigots in our town. She can keep her 25 cents...

Mackinac Pipeline Must Be Shut Down Crude oil flowing through Enbridge’s 60-yearold pipeline beneath the Mackinac Straits and the largest collection of fresh water on the planet should be a serious concern for every resident of the USA and Canada. Enbridge has a very “accident” prone track record...

Your Rights To Colleen, who wrote about the State Theatre: Let me thank you for sharing your views; I think most of us are well in support of the first amendment, because as you know- it gives everyone the opportunity to express their opinions. I also wanted to thank Northern Express for not shutting down these types of letters right at the source but rather giving the community a platform for education...

No Role Model [Fascinating Person from last week’s issue] Jada quoted: “I want to be a role model for girls who are interested in being in the outdoors.” I enjoy being in the outdoors, but I don’t want to kill animals for trophy...

Home · Articles · News · Features · The New Drug Lords
. . . .

The New Drug Lords

Mark Waggener - January 11th, 2007
What does an 800 lb. gorilla do? Anything it wants. And like
the gorilla, pharmaceutical companies appear to have free rein over consumers by bombarding us with shifty marketing campaigns, draining our pocketbooks, and pilfering insurance companies with ridiculously overpriced prescription drugs.
You can’t turn on the television today without being offered a drug for insomnia, depression, acid reflux, high cholesterol, or a plethora of other so-named diseases. Walk through a doctor’s office or hospital and you might notice that virtually every pen and notepad bears the label of a prescription drug. The lingering presence of pharmaceutical reps is also apparent as drug samples are dished out like candy in order to influence physicians’ choices to use their product.

PILL POPPERS
Approximately 46% of Americans take a prescription drug every day and we are fast becoming a society intoxicated with synthetic molecules which our bodies are not always capable of detoxifying or eliminating.
Prescription drug companies are
shelling out millions of dollars in adver-tising, while an inappropriate consumer demand is being created for products that may be more deadly and less effective than medications already available.
According to the Journal of The American Medical Association, deadly side effects from prescription drugs are the fourth leading cause of death in the industrialized world. Every year in The United States alone, it is reported that at least 100,000 people die from the side effects of prescription drugs, and this is considered a very conservative number. That doesn’t include the estimated 40,000 deaths from over the counter pain medications, or the injuries of two million others from adverse side effects.
Obviously, certain drugs are appropriate in order to save and extend lives; but critics of the industry claim that many drugs are unnecessary, highly expensive and harmful. Critics claim that improving human health is not a priority for the profit-driven drug industry.
Many prescription drugs merely mask symptoms, which is an obvious strategy in the development of pharmaceuticals. While the symptoms are being targeted, the cure and elimination of diseases are being avoided. Since the human body is the marketplace for the pharmaceutical industry, expanding and maintaining diseases can only enhance the growth of such industries.

BIG BUSINESS
The profits of the multi-trillion dollar drug industry outstrip every other industry by a long shot. Collectively, 10 drug companies in the Fortune 500 recently topped all three of Fortune magazine’s measures of company profitability in its annual analysis of America’s most recognized companies.
Drug companies claim that huge profits are necessary to further research and development. Aggressive research and development is vital, but that justification loses merit when many of these companies spend twice as much on marketing and advertising as they do for research. Next time you hand over $100 for a prescription drug, you can expect 35% of it to be used for marketing, advertising, and administration; 26% for manufacturing, executive pay, worker costs, etc.; 24% is pure profit; and 15% for research and development.
While families struggle to pay for medicine and face the threat of a bleak economic future, drug companies continue to prosper. In 2004 alone, the combined revenues for 10 of the top pharmaceutical companies exceeded $250 billion.
LEGISLATION?
It’s difficult to create new laws and price control regulations, when these profit-mongering corporations have such a huge presence in Washington, D.C., where they employ over 625 lobbyists.
“Drug companies spent more money in the 1999-2000 election cycle to influence politicians than did insurance companies, telephone companies, electric companies, commercial banks, oil and gas pro-ducers, automakers, tobacco companies,
food processors and manufacturers -- more, in short, than any other industry, writes Katharine Greider, author of The Big Fix.
“Most of that, about $177 million, went to hire lobbyists from 134 firms, including 21 former members of Congress,” she adds. “The industry also gave $20 million in campaign contributions and spent $60 million on issue ads.”
Other nations use price controls to keep the costs of prescription drugs affordable. It’s no wonder people are purchasing drugs from Canada, where you can save up to 50% on prescriptions.

GOUGING
Pharmaceutical revenues continue to increase exponentially with a concerted effort to simply make more and more money. The forceful creation of an artificial international monopoly is gouging Americans by maintaining higher U.S. prices and securing drug patents for up to 20 years. Although some of these corporations have been warned for misleading the public with advertisement, brochures and other materials, it’s apparent that they continue to pay off Washington politicians and F.D.A. bureaucrats to stand by and do nothing about it.

Sources: Reuters News, Journal of the American Medical Association, Fortune 500, Gary Lawson, Ph.D., DPA.

From my own experience, I can share a few thoughts on the exorbitant costs of
prescription drugs.

On a Personal Note

Due to a chronic medical condition, I have reluctantly endured a gamut of medications over the last three years. One of the many drugs I was prescribed is called Zofran. This particular drug is used for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, and has other uses as well. The price tag for a 30-day supply is $721. That averages out to $24 per capsule; and if necessary, I could take one a day, for an entire year, at a cost of $8,760.
Once again, this type of medication is to treat symptoms only. The potential side-effects of Zofran include blurred vision or temporary blindness, slow heart rate, trouble breathing, anxiety, agitation, shivering, feeling light-headed, or fainting. It may impair your thinking or reactions, so be careful driving or doing anything that requires you to be awake or alert. Needless to say, I decided to try it and only experienced three of the potential side effects, and a fourth one not mentioned, called sticker shock.

Furthermore, I declined an option for yet another drug called Rebif, which had a monthly
price tag of $3,600. The long-term effectiveness of the aforementioned drug has not been con-firmed and any medicinal benefits may be outweighed by the side-effects and excessive cost.
Throughout the confusing and frustrating quest for some answers to my medical problem, and more than 50 doctor visits, I was fortunate to find a physician with unwavering concern, who was willing to offer some alternative choices without jumping on the prescription bandwagon. Thankfully, some relief is being realized in the way of specific supplements at a cost of $6.25 per month, without designer drugs, without side effects and without emptying the wallet.

 
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