Okay, I’m definitely better today, thanks for all concerned- my aches
were related to a reaction I had to the unseasonably humid weather last
Friday, so I’m much better now.

All I really have to say about the cost of medicine and some other
necessities (and not-so-necessities) is that it seems like no effort is
taken to ensure that newcomers with any product anymore can enter
markets easily; you have to be nationwide, you have to be backed by
wealth and reputation.  It doesn’t matter if someone has a good
idea, or even if the idea will logically work.

Last Tuesday I got (petrol) gas put in the car for aproximately $1.70
per gallon.  I’m glad I filled the tank, on Thursday that cost
shot up to $1.95.  It’s been crawling down gradually throughout
the weekend, hovering about $1.84ish as I’m writing this.

If I work my way up the chain of blame, I will learn that this change
in price is based on the relationship between the supply of oil to be
turned into gasoline compared to the demand of folks like me wanting a
full tank for what some of the schools around here have as a Spring
Break weekend.  This explanation will be emotionless and plain, my
complaint that it’s not that hard to predict this sort of shortage and
compensate accordingly will fall on deaf ears.  I’ll live, because
I got my gas with good timing.

However, when a medicine someone needs to survive is deliberately held
in low supply in the interest of simply keeping its price high, I am
seriously disturbed.  At no point is proper remorse expressed- if
enough medicine is not produced people will die.  No one expresses
grief but the family and friends of the dead, no one wants to try to
make an effort to make sure this medicine is accessible to all who need
it, except perhaps the insurance company to whom you or your employer
pay a hefty premium.

No lawmaker talks about this frequently, no one even pretends to care
anymore.  What few solutions that have been frivolously proposed
do not attempt to solve the problem as much as gloss over the fact that
the problem exists- nobody ever says, ‘How do you get the cost of a
doctor visit to change using the principles of economics?’ or ‘How can
we make medicine work without completely thwarting (and ruining)
medicine as we have it now?’  How do you make the business of
being a doctor more competitive, or how do you encourage an oversupply
of medicine to ensure that it is available to anyone that might need it?

Why doesn’t anyone suggest tweaking rules to make sure a person can
start an honest business and run it solidly, and how do we discourage
the creation of bubble-economy fads?

What if business liscenses were cheaper?  What if patenet terms
were shorter?  What if malpractice suits could only be based upon
physical damage?  Why not see if a subtle change can help?

Why do politicians scarcely pretend to care on election years, and
knowing what they say and do when it matters, why do they think they
deserve my vote?

Okay, time for some lighter talk.

TRUE FACT

Dear Staff-

Thank you for all your hard work in the past week.  The [Vice
President’s] visit went great!  Enjoy yourselves and have
fun!  Once again, thanks for all the hard work.

[The Boss}

I quit.

[Teenaged Sales Clerk]

Thank you all for your comments.

lazarusrat:  Smart companies always adapt to forced change, but
how do we encourage adaptation in a desirable direction?  It needs
to be debated by someone, somewhere, because we have to wonder why so
many folks think it’s more important to have money than to be concerned
about who is hurt by your own actions.  People always want to
admit that something is wrong, but nobody ever wants to try to say,
‘Let’s try this to fix it.’

TrigguhHippee: Yeah, I know that money is the root of a lot of my
country’s evils.  It’s the root of a ton of the stuff I ranted
about above.

I’m always happy to learn about other cultures, and since I know people
from several countries read this, I hope to get thoughts and insights
from people explaining how different problems exist and/or are solved
where they live.

(PS- Nothing wrong with changing your mind if there’s a good reason for it.)

Cleosama:  Yes, I’ve heard stories about worse things…  actually, I think I’ll tell you about it.

DOUBLE TROUBLE ROAD

This is a two mile stretch of ‘blue highway’ through a state park
(Double Trouble State Park) in the New Jersey Pine Barrens, a
short-to-medium distance drive from where I grew up.

A friend of a friend of my brother and I owned a Pontiac Firebird (we
called it the Firechicken because …  well, you’ll see) and since
it was a sportscar, he naturally had to prove to himself that it was
fast…

There were two places we did that sort of thing, the one farther from
my home (but closer to his) was Double Trouble Road, and the one nearer
to me was Poor Man’s Parkway (ask and I’ll tell you what that means,
but that’s really the name on the road sign.)  Both are two miles
long.  Both have no curves worth speaking of.  Both end at
T-intersections at both ends and both have extremely light traffic
regardless of the time of day.

My brother’s Geo Metro reached 83 miles per hour on Poor Man’s Parkway.  Wait, I was telling you about the Firechicken.

Don’t know how fast this guy got, actually, I think I was told but
don’t recall because it doesn’t matter.  When he saw the ‘stop
ahead’ sign, he stepped on the brake to slow down, because it’s a much
better result than speeding into the pitchpine trees.  The problem
was that when he did so, he watched his rear wheels, with complete
brake assembly still attached, roll past him.

When we were told the story, he still drove the Firechicken…  or
maybe he drove a different Firechicken…  After a wreck like
that, I would’ve replaced it with …  something else.

Thanks to all for the readership, time, patience, and so on.

See you next time.

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9 thoughts on “

  1. My cynicism last time wasn’t an attempt to cop out on the conversation in general. It’s just not a topic I know enough about to feel comfortable debating.My initial thought on shortening patent life, at least with drugs, is that at first it would cause a tremendous spike in prices for the life of the patent. The drug companies would be trying to milk those few years for everything they’re worth. It wouldn’t take too long for someone to figure out that the market’s different and that they can build “brand loyalty” (how many people know who makes the drugs they take?) by keeping prices reasonable from the start. I think you’d start to see a lot more branding in general.That’s assuming a lack of counter-legislation.Probably also an increase in the number of patents and drugs in general. CompanyX creates DrugY, then three years later patents DrugZ, which is really just DrugY with minor changes, and starts pushing it as the new hotness. There’s a fair amount of that already.As for increasing the supply…I doubt mandatory minimums would work, and I doubt there could be incentives offered that could match the honey-sweet taste of rampant price-gouging. A combination of those things, maybe. The trick would be to pull it all off without “stifling innovation” (I love when that phrase comes up, because it implies that companies are going to just stop doing the thing that makes them money at all just because of the threat of making less of it).Joe Drug Inventor largely doesn’t exist because inventing drugs is really fucking hard and expensive, and not exactly the kind of thing you can do in your basement on Saturdays. Honestly, I’m not sure enabling that sort of thing is a good idea.

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  2. I hear you on the drug thing. I know quite a few people who cannot get a drug they need — the only one that stabilizes their disease — because the U.S. already carries a competitive product. So they won’t carry the new one. It is available in Canada so those people are jumping hoops to get their supply.
    The whole thing is a mess. Government…I’ve just given up on. Which isn’t the right thing to do I know but I’m completely past believing anything from any government anywhere.

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  3. I hear you on the drug thing. I know quite a few people who cannot get a drug they need — the only one that stabilizes their disease — because the U.S. already carries a competitive product. So they won’t carry the new one. It is available in Canada so those people are jumping hoops to get their supply.
    The whole thing is a mess. Government…I’ve just given up on. Which isn’t the right thing to do I know but I’m completely past believing anything from any government anywhere.

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  4. What if malpractice suits could only be based upon physical damage?  Why not see if a subtle change can help?
    ..’tis are existential queries of the ‘highest’ proportion. like saying why… nevermind.
    Anywhoo, hope you are feling better and such
    Keep rockin.

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  5.   I’ve given up on business and government.  They’re so “well-“structured these days that nothing can get through them.  Some groups and companies run circles around parallel groups and compamies trying to get the most money they possibly can without ever seeing a product or listening to a single citizen.  They just fight amongst themselves and we the people suffer.  And we will continue to suffer indefinately because the people who are suffering the most and even dying are too far down the ladder to have a say in anything and those of us not suffering as much are just content enough to live on with only mild complaints.  Nothing’s changing because those in power don’t want change, and we people as a mass don’t really give a shit enough to get off our couches to do anything about it.  As though we really could.  *sigh*  Fucking society…

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