Wednesday, 22 January 2014
All Drugs Created Equal? (Warning re: some content)
So my thoughts on the world of drug companies and big chain drug stores - informed by years exposed to the tactics of lobbyists and drug reps who swarm through doctor's offices and throughout the world of politicians and policy-makers who make the ultimate decisions on which drugs are funded and which are not, are well-known. (See my earlier post - "Snakes on a Plane" for a real-life example of how it all goes down). It was around the same time as BC and other jurisdictions started cracking down on the dirty behind-the-scenes tactics of manufacturers offering huge kick-backs to pharmacies stocking certain generic medications - and artificially and exponentially raising the costs of generic medications for patients and taxpayers - that one major manufacturer, Sandoz, began limiting production of certain medications for which they were the only game in town. Of course, we were not talking about Viagra - we were talking about drugs on which palliative patients and others were wholly dependent leading to massive shortages and disruptions in the drugs supply chain that if you talk to a pharmacist - and in my own case - persist today. You can try to tell me there was no connection between the two events - but I will never be convinced. Yesterday, a day and a half after my doctor had submitted the prescription I finally got the pills - commonly used by palliative patients with cancer, AIDS and renal failure to combat the severe nausea that can accompany these conditions in the later stages - thus a day and a half of unnecessary misery which may seem like a short time, but is a lifetime where I am concerned, trust me on that point. The new regime is one pill twice daily, compared to the "equivalent" injectable option that with its short shelf-life in the body had to be taken up to eight times a day through plastic ports inserted in my chest and legs - all of which failed within days due to the high volume I had to take - leaving me scarred and infected. So whatever the reason for the delay - I can only say it is time to cry foul and grab the reigns of this on behalf of palliative patients everywhere. The imbalances and politics of drug policy needs a short, sharp shock.