Dustin Block of the Journal Times wrote an interesting piece today about his troubles with acid reflux. Ultimately, he found a medicine, at a reasonable cost, that has relieved his discomfort.
But along the way, he was prescribed Nexium, a "little purple pill" that was helpful, albeit quite expensive. He told the story of Nexium, a "remarkable scam" he called it. Nexium is made by AstraZenaca, the same company that created Prilosec, another very successful drug. Prilosec's patent was running out, so AstraZenaca came up with Nexium, a very similar (perhaps identical?) drug, and they got a patent for it. They spent huge sums in advertising and no doubt they wined and dined doctors etc... to ensure its widespread use.
In my opinion, if there are bad guys here, it would be the U.S. Patent Office who issued a patent for Nexium when perhaps they shouldn't have, and Dustin's doctors, who either are ignorant of the pills they are prescribing or are purposely prescribing more expensive medicine for excessive profit. AstraZenaca is guilty of successfully advertising a product that works.
Now back to Dustin Block. He couldn't help throwing jabs at high deductible health insurance plans: "The pills...cost $350. This is what happens when you pick a high-deductable health insurance plan designed to save money." Block didn't mention the money he is saving on monthly premiums. And Dustin warned us that "if we close our hearts, outside manipulaters like drug companies take control." Wow! It is these very manipulators who have brought relief to Dustin. He should be more grateful.
Instead, Dustin credits his recovery to openness. "Help didn't come from the doctor. It came from people who care about me asking, sometimes forcibly, what was wrong." And "Somehow, opening up helped me research what was going on." And "If we're open to sharing our lives, opportunities appear."
Now I am all for openness, and I am glad Dustin has friends who care for him. But openness alone did not produce the drugs that are helping Dustin lead a comfortable life. Drug companies produce the drugs that are helping Dustin. And the drug companies could not produce their drugs without the support of our mostly capitalist economic system.
But it takes more than an open heart to realize all this. You need an open mind as well.