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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A million bucks a day...

will get you a congressman, and not only that, but a congressman who'll vote against healthcare reform. That's right, insurance companies are now spending that much to derail coverage for the citizenry of this country. A few, like Rep. Slaughter, condemn such obvious bribery, and refuse such lobby money. But almost everyone else has their hand out--actually they probably have both hands out (can you say Senator Lieberman?).

We could have had an expanded Medicare for people 55 (or even 45) years of age and older...except for Joe Lieberman. We could have had a public option...except for Joe Lieberman. This morning I listened to a tape of Lieberman spouting off in September (of this year!) saying how he thought expanded Medicare coverage would be a great idea. Apparently it was a great idea until some insurance companies thought it would eat into their profits. So I guess they rang Joe's doorbell or slipped a nice thick envelope under his door. Presto, change-o, Joe thinks Medicare is just too wasteful for the country.

Can you believe we almost had that joker for vice-president?

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Tuesday's U.S. News and World Report didn't have a lot of good news for the makers of Tamiflu, that overpriced non-miracle drug that has received so much publicity in the wake of the H1N1 influenza virus.
Here's the link:
http://health.usnews.com/articles/health/healthday/2009/12/08/review-questions-tamiflus-effectiveness.html

The original article about Tamiflu appeared in the British Medical Journal on Wednesday. Here is a snippet:

Based on the data available to them, the authors of the new review concluded they have "no confidence in claims that Tamiflu reduces the risk of complications of influenza in otherwise healthy adults," and said the drug should not be used in routine control of seasonal flu.

The article also notes that Tamiflu hasn't been shown to do much other than reduce the symptoms of flu by...ONE DAY.

Countries around the world have been stockpiling the drug--which by the way is none too cheap--which now appears to be less than miraculous.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

CVS in hot water…again!


Seems good old CVS has been at it again, caught red-handed selling those rotten expired drugs to grandma and grandpa. Why those greedy little rascals! Well…
The story is a little more complicated than that. I have no great love for CVS (or Rite Aid or Walgreens or any of those boxy corner chain drugstores), and this is one of the reasons why.
Pharmacy managers have a duty to check for expired products. And I haven’t met one manager in my life (well, maybe one) who did not take their job seriously enough to check for expired medicines.
So why isn’t it being done? Let me think for a second…how many drugs are stocked in a typical pharmacy? One bay in a pharmacy can easily contain a thousand drugs and there can be four or five bays. So, understaffed (and every pharmacy I’ve ever seen has been understaffed) and filling a prescription every minute to two minutes, how can anyone expect expired products to be up to date? Well, guess what. They’re not. Not likely to be for the foreseeable future either.
All CVS and the others have to do is give pharmacists enough staff to do their jobs. Period. End of problem. But I tend to think that CVS would rather risk the penalties than have to pay employer salaries and benefits. It’s really about the bottom line; don’t let them kid you into thinking they are looking out for the public’s benefit. They’re not. Never have; never will.