A short time after moving back to New York State I visited a doctor to get a couple of prescriptions I needed. This was in April and I was not as yet receiving benefits from Medicare Part B. Since I was living in a foreign country, Medicare pays no benefits even though I had been paying into it my entire working life. I take medicine for high blood pressure and I use an inhaler for shortness of breath. In Malaysia I would simply go to the pharmacy and ask for the drugs, as these were not controlled prescription drugs. The BP medication was about $6 and the inhaler was $3. I used to buy more than one inhaler, so I could keep one in the car, keep one in the bedroom and carry one.
Well I went to the doctor and wasn’t too upset at having to pay $75 for a visit which I was used to paying $15. I sort of expected this. The shock and anger came went I went to the pharmacy to pick up the medications.The pills were $30, but the inhaler was $50! I was used to paying $3 and now I have to pay $50! I was outraged.
When I got back home I did some research on the inhalers. It appears that a couple of years ago our less than benevolent FDA banned the use of CFC’s (chlorofluorocarbons) in asthma inhalers, thus dealing a serious blow to everyone who suffers from asthma. This allowed the drug companies to find a replace for the CFS’ to propel the medicine into the lungs Naturally the drug companies found a method and promptly patented it. So for the next 15 years or so the American public has to pay exorbitant prices if they want to alleviate their suffering.
While I was really pissed of by this I wondered how many people, children and adults, are held hostage by these guiltless drug companies, who want to protect their profits more than help the sick and suffering. I used to work in the Longwood Medical area of Boston and saw the magnificent towering structures erected by the major drug companies. I saw the elaborate facilities serving 5 star cuisine and offering the employees every amenity imaginable. I can remember reading about the enormous salaries of the CEOs. That’s why our drugs are so expensive, as compared to our neighbor Canada and the rest of the world! This is only going to get worse in this county as the drug companies have one of the largest and most powerful lobbies in Washington. In other words our useless politicians work for them, not us!