Tails Wagging the Dogs; and It's Us

If you've read this column for some time you will know that I don't get political and I don't speak against many things. The exception is when we forget grocery lists and wet our pants while laughing. I don't like those things and I say it out loud. Those things will still happen and I'll still be writing about them in ten years if all of us are still here because we'll still be doing them and laughing.

This week I must address something that is really troubling to me. This is a selfish bit of writing and I hope you'll see it through.

My campaign is simple. Sooner than later I would like all of us who are watching television commercials and reading advertisements about drugs which promise to make us better to become skeptics. Why? Because these promises of health and the drug names associated with them become at home in our brains and we take them to our doctor appointments.

At these appointments with our physicians we ask for these medications because we've become convinced that they will make us better. In other words, big pharmaceutical companies have become our doctors because we are asking for drugs our doctors have not prescribed up to that time. We've seen them work on television and in magazine ads and have come to believe that we need them to make our lives better. We ask for them to be prescribed. Oh, and we ask for those nifty free samples and any other deals we can get from the drug manufacturer.

If this sounds kind of crazy to you, it is.

We pay more for drugs in our country than any other on the planet. We also take more of them because we are being coaxed to ask for select, and very expensive brands. We have to cover the costs of advertising and the profiteering which seems to accompany drugs of any kind, both good and bad. Brand name drugs are a profit center that no pharmaceutical company can do without.

Remember the days when we waited for our brand name drugs to qualify as generics? Those days are gone. Why? Generic drug makers like profit too. It took them a few years to figure that out, but they did.

Before you think I'm a big meany, let me say that most of these pharmaceutical companies spend huge amounts of dollars on research in the development of drugs which will not only make our lives better, but will add years and comfort to the time we have. They've been doing this for years and most work in cooperative effort with organizations like the American Cancer Society and a host of others. If not for that research and the curative medications and treatments they've developed, many of us would not be here.

Without medication, the only one alive at Shaffer House would be Grover and aside from loneliness, he'd have fleas. Given that fact, why would I complain? Because of the tremendous amount of money these folks are making on keeping us alive. At my last count, it's something in excess of $100,000 a month. Of course, that is their billing amount. This means that they bill Medicare and/or whatever insurance you may be lucky to have these ridiculous amounts. Their payments? Not the amount billed but substantial.

Can we find an alternative to these meds? In our case, no. I've tried. This is the case for many of us but never give up.

The moral of this story is that I want you to be in charge of your health. Not enough of us think in those terms. Most of us think that going to the doctor is enough. It's not. I like having someone with me. Why? I forget things but am lucky to have a doctor who provides me with a summary of each appointment. We sometimes are obedient when we shouldn't be and stubborn when we shouldn't be.

Sounds like a Geezer to me!

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