This blog is dedicated to the memory of David Weintraub, who took on insidious astroturfers and won.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Are drug companies causing health inequalities due to pricing?

Medicines of all sorts have been around throughout human history to help man survive; herbs and spices to cure ailments big or small. Then along came scientists who experimented and trialled out a medley of concoctions to attempt to cure the big bad diseases.

I am sure some of these great scientists' aims were to save a life rather than to make money out of their discoveries! Think of Banting and Best who discovered insulin in 1921-where would those of us with diabetes be without insulin now? Antibiotic discovery, immunisations and so many other medicines have transformed and saved countless lives globally.

Mass manufacturing of drugs, though, did not come along until the 1800`s. Everyone knows aspirin, for example; the company Bayer used clever advertising to sell it to the public! Another drug company Pfizer which began way back in 1849 is now worth 49 billion dollars!

So where did the money making side of drugs originate from? Well, if you or I needed a cure, we`d go out of our way to find anything we believed in or were cajoled into believing would work, right? Picture quack potions sold off a back of a horse and cart with claims of miracle cures, wrapped up in something sinister like arsenic for goodness sake. You`d pay whatever you could afford!

     image: The Welcome Library.

And dare I say, perhaps modern medicinal product advertising goes hand in hand with the earlier methods of deception? The picture above is from early 20th Century England claiming to cure all with one product! It's Scott`s Emulsion-glorified cod liver oil to you and me! Did they knowingly mislead the public? Perhaps, and like today, drug companies would want you to spend on the most expensive brand, yes? So making money out of medicines is nothing new.

The question of whether lifesaving medicines are overpriced has come to a boiling point and especially in the U.S.. There have been many calls to cut the pricing of prescription drugs. Take a look at the cost of Epipen for one, the lifesaving drug for those who could suffer anaphylactic shock. Depending on where you live and what health insurance you have, many people are being forced to cough up additional money from their own income. And who are the most affected by these prices? They are the most vulnerable in society who can least afford it.

What would you do if you knew there was a drug that could save your life, but it was way too expensive to get hold of? This is the sad reality of today. People are now so reliant on doctor prescribed drugs, the figures are staggering.

Approximately 60% of Americans and half of the UK population take prescribed medicines.


And recent research found that people went without their medicines because they could not afford them, thus impacting further on health. This is a worrying trend.

I looked at UK usage too. However, the National Health Service has exemptions for prescriptions for some of those suffering chronic illness such as diabetics. The public do have to pay a national health insurance but it is nothing in comparison to Americans' fees! The typical cost of just one prescribed drug costs in England approximately $9 U.S. dollars, nothing too demanding compared to across the pond.

There are some inequities in England when expensive drugs are restricted due to cost. It can also be dependent on where you live, a form of post code lottery!

The new hepatitis C cure hit the headlines for the wrong reason due to government intervention.

It's not just hepatitis C. Complaints are growing to make cancer drugs more widely available.

 So drug companies have the right to charge so much? Are they there to aid patients or in it for pure profit? Should they be held responsible for causing health inequalities due to overpricing?

Well, there certainly seem to be a lot of lawsuits and fines levied against them.

Is it too much to expect the immediate implementing of reasonable pricing? Who holds the bargaining power of these huge organisations?

Some of them argue that they are not overcharging but provide competitive prices; try telling that to the person footing the bill!

In-between people such as pharmacies dispensing medicines are trying to get the costs reduced.

Okay, so I did do a lot of background research on this and I wanted to see which drug companies were faring best and worst in terms of accessibility and affordability.

GlaxoSmithKline came out on top of the rankings, showing some promising ways in which to facilitate better access to medicines in countries with high poverty levels by capping prices.

       Sir Andrew Witty, CEO.

 So it`s not all doom and gloom as the press makes it out to be? I am not so sure.

We all like to see solutions to problems evolve quickly into action, don`t we. The debates will linger on until there is complete health equality.

So what is the solution? Well, I know you will all have your viewpoints on this.

Here are some ideas from various medical based places.


So governments must be key players in reducing drug costs.


And from the World health Organisation:

Ah, yes indeed, the transparency of drug companies!

The Lancet article recommends governments assure money to cover at least the minimum cost of essential drugs.

 Just what will it take to stop the health inequalities? Do we need more competition from up and coming drug companies, who will charge less, is that the answer? Or will governments change course and decide to spend more on health care instead of war?

 Does the totality of humanity matter to any of these players in the pharmaceutical myriad?

Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Internet Ended History

"The electronic age is inner trip, period."

I was listening to some Marshall McLuhan having give and take with students. He really nailed it, but his responses confused them. They weren't ready for his great wisdom.

We are in the electronic age. The speed by which the rear view mirror has been analysed and cookie cut means we can only live in the now.

He was freaking out the students with his ideas. He advised them that there's no juice left in the old system. He predicted the internet. This is true and can be verified. He claimed that we were entering personalised journeys. Each of us would turn into an encyclopedia.

He also spoke of the bad guys, that we are back to the age of the hunter. The scary part is that we the people have become the hunted.

He was interested in historic processes. He was a visionary. As Tesla was the real talent compared to Einstein, McLuhan for all his awkward goofiness was a legend for the social sciences.

But there is where the plot took a twist turn. Marshall McLuhan admitted to students that academics was a scam. They also took it on the chin when he said the ball game had ended. I knew what he meant. There is a competitive element to academia that's simply antithetical to the old-school pyramid of knowledge.

We can now see instantaneously how rigged and fake everything is via the internet. How would anyone have ever known but a few that The Washington Post and all the others are state-sponsored, fake news?

The big shift towards perceiving a Huxley, Orwellian state as actual was a result of the double whammy of Snowden and Assange. The medium has reached a point in which the hyperbole, speculation and theorising by great minds on its true nature have become sheer wisdom and impossible to refute.

McLuhan claimed he could bypass it. I certainly feel that I have. But it is not very easy to do so.

We were all indoctrinated for the old ways. We bought into it because we didn't know any better. There's some very revealing stuff in those Snowden documents. That thing verified most of my kookiness leanings. My biggest beef has always been with the Military-Industrial Complex and capitalism. But Soros, Clinton and Obama are not the left. It's as if we don't exist.

The internet has been contaminated with fake news and paid fakes to such an extent that social reality has become obfuscated from masses of people.

Every social media outlet is infested with paid fakes and useful idiots.

McLuhan was basically a regular guy introvert who thought a lot and was very deep. It's unfortunate the students took it so personally.

Life is about enlightenment. McLuhan and Watts had some sort of relationship. I think Marshall was a closet buddhist. There are just some things that are impossible to prove. The Jesus schtick doesn't seem to add up. The God in the Heavens or wtf and we get one life just can't be true. There wouldn't be so much cheating and tragedies.

The only chance left to get out of here alive is reincarnation. Or it's all random science stuff. I go with reincarnation.

I'll wrap this up by copying and pasting some recently mailed in McLuhan tweets and then add on some sweet bonus convolution coverage also regurgitated from Twitter.

For those who want to play along at home:

"Students get processed by Marshall McLuhan - Deconditioning Lecture [1969]"

The hippie chick is going toe to toe with McLuhan around the 18 minute mark.

He says students burned down a Yale building and no newspaper or radio covered it. He's calling out the news. He's interested in processes.

Students are getting mad because McLuhan is saying everything is rigged and fake. They are so young and idealistic that it's somewhat painful audio.

He admits that academia is a scam.

He's saying electronics ended history. The speed of it brings everything up to the present. He says we have resorted back to being hunters.

Academics is leisure. The medium suckers one in through the infotainment part and then folks miss that it is violence against 
critical thinking and true freedom.

Towards the end, he says people are the hunted. He says based on a study or wtf, there were probably three or four Pinkertons present in the room.

More plagiarism of Lenny Bruce? He had a son of a bitch schtick. There was a Seinfeld episode that seems to have stolen said schtick.

spit out the truth, but also do a little work before said spitting. be violent to fake words.

I'm finally getting into Lenny's book, but I don't remember any of it. It does seem to be exceptionally easy reading. A little too easy.

There is a lot of Lenny Bruce stuff at Youtube. There's even a German dude who made a video explaining there really is a lot of stuff on him.

This is why people must quit the medium. There is better stuff out there if you're going to ruin your eyesight glued to the computer.

I'm not saying one should quit the computer completely, although that's not such a bad idea if someone has the nerve to try it.

I always wondered why movies got so bad. McLuhan nailed it. Electronics ended history. It is the now from here on towards the next vibration.

The internet swooped in too fast. T.V. killed radio. Internet killed film. The vast majority play by old rules despite this epic shift.

McLuhan realised content had become meaningless back when it wasn't so obvious. Erich Fromm realised a lot of similar junk. Why not apply said learned junk to today's social reality?

DFQ2: The Home For Bonus Convolution Coverage You can Count On

Cassandra Fairbanks has been outed as a paid fake. The irony is that she has done it to herself by associating with and promoting verified FBI sewer rat Brandon Darby. This is how fake everything has become in regards to surrealism. Wikileaks clearly broke the code and cracked wide open shite I was prescient on but didn't have enough pay stubs for scoop glory.

That's just nuts. If one is going to be an infiltrator, why be such a numbnut and make it so obvious?

This is tied in with McLuhan's claim that electronics has ended history. Paid fakes are no longer capable of hiding their lack of a soul.

The speed by which information can travel now allows for the immediate outing of paid fakes and useful idiots.

trigger my left n _ _ ?

i'm driving the bus in the moment which is timeless and can never be defeated

Omg, the new Boston Globe spam title is "Always real."

Those clowns wouldn't know real if they were locked in a vault for twelve hours with Marshall McLuhan and heard him out.

The Brandon Darby evidence is reason enough to reach a blog court decision. Guilty. Sad. @subverzo @Ergoat

Anyway, I am definitely winding down my Twitter career. I was a player during the election season, but now I am ready to cut back and wean meself off it. Julian Assange or Confucius said, "Don't be a complete idiot."

It was a good run, but I am no longer feeling the magic of it. Maybe I am too aware of the cyber magicians and the teachings of McLuhan and Alan Watts to still give a fvck.

Don't take me wrong. I am loving this like a McDonald's vegetarian happy meal if those existed. I am Happy Gilmore who got through the anger phase and have found my happy place.

Spirituality is the trump card, no pun intended.

I haven't felt this good and healthy in many years and I mean in both mind and spirit. I have found a way to bypass the medium. I have pointed to such methods in the hope of giving others the confidence to also break away and live full lives as one with nature and the cosmos, not rigged social media.

These ptb's are dirty rotten buggers and idjits who would be 100% exposed schadenfreude if everything weren't so rigged and fake. Trust me. If the royal we were truly playing by the old school rules of academia, it would be game, set and match for paid fakes and useful idiots all across the medium board. Unfortunately, it's snot.

Bypass the medium if you desire truth and enlightenment. And don't desire it for the false ego. Do it for that part of the inner trip which transcends who we are in this one specific life. I figured out I was Lenny Bruce, but that doesn't mean much. It just proves reincarnation is the way the universe works. I'm not saying give up on trying to save the planet. I'm saying ye are better than this. Be disciplined. Read a lot. Read real books. We seem to be born alone and then die alone, to come back again. Each life is a challenge to peel off layers of false ego karma onions.

Keep at it. Don't let the proverbial them simulate the action and outcome of your existence. As Alan Watts said, "You are the universe."