Warning – rant follows…
The two main takeaways from last night’s SuperBowl are:
- A really good defense and great defensive plan can beat a really good young quarterback.
- Drugs are where the money is.
I’ll leave the first point to those more expert in football analysis and focus on the second for a minute or two.
In a sign of the imminent arrival of the Apocalypse, there were three ads for drugs – shockingly none for life-threatening conditions. Nope, we Americans must have way bigger concerns than diabetes and cancer – namely the coming open-toe shoe season and the inner workings of our lower digestive tracts.
Yup, there was an ad for a toenail fungus cure, (TOENAIL FUNGUS?!). another for diarrhea (DIARRHEA?!) and one for Opioid-Induced Constipation. The cheapo fungus ad cost a mere $5 million for 30 seconds; the animated intestine discussing bowel movements graced our screens for a full minute; so did Astra Zeneca’s solution for the opposite problem.
The toenail fungus AND intestine ads came courtesy of Valeant, a name you may recall from news stories about Federal investigations into its pricing practices. Over the last few years, Valeant has bought up the rights to at least four drugs – then jacked up the drugs’ prices by a factor of 10. (this is getting to be a common practice)
And opioid-induced constipation?
Okay, that’s a problem, but WhyTF are we taking so many opioids that pharma gets to make more hundreds of millions of dollars on a problem pharma created?
What a brilliant business plan; let’s create a drug that makes people feel really good AND is highly addictive, encourage doctors to prescribe it for everything from a sore back to cancer, then, when we have saturated the market so that there’s enough pills sold to give every American a month’s supply every year, let’s charge them three hundred bucks a month so they can poop.
When you watched those ads, did you think about all the zeros on your health insurance bill this month, realize that your family deductible is about equal to what you paid for your first decent car, and see that your choice of providers is best described as “few and far between?”
We are seeing a free market system running wild.
What does this mean for you?
If we stay on this path, we’re bankrupt.