Friday, September 9, 2016

Smells Like Bullshit, Episode 45,678,982

Unless you've been living under a rock (and I've said it before, I understand), you've seen the various articles coming out at least once a day regarding radical price increases of popular pharmaceuticals. Most recently, there's the Epi-Pen story with its handsomely paid CEO, daughter of a Democratic congressman, and today's selection was about pharmaceuticals that treat inflammatory conditions, including arthritis. You can read about that right here and then come back to hear what the tiny little mother™ mind thinks about it all.

(this blank bit of screen has subliminal messaging because I'm a bit of a conspiracy theorist and tremendously biased)

Are you back? I was going to make this a Facebook post but then got carried away enough to realize that my blog was a perfect place to rant a bit, especially because I so rarely do that anymore. That was a joke. I'm thinking aloud here, typing so fast my fingers are a blur (I scored very very high on finger dexterity when I took a comprehensive test back in the last millennium a skill that comes in handy for a number of things that I won't elaborate upon here), but it will help me to get it out of my system so that I can go back to my day with a modicum of sanity. You know, finish the housework, navigate the systems of care for Sophie, coax Henry along the college application process and remain level-headed while shopping at Target for shorts with Oliver.


This is mainly what I want to say about the continued clusterf**k that is Big Fantastic Pharma and Big Grandiose Private Health Insuranceland or The Big Big Medical Industrial Government Complex (I sound a little like Drumpf now, don't I?) as far as it relates to Medical Marijuana World. When this rant's finished, I'm going to fix it ALL. It's going to be GREAT.

Along with the EpiPen and arthritis drugs, epilepsy drugs have long fluctuated wildly in price -- a single dose of ACTH, the steroid routinely given to those with infantile spasms cost $154 when we gave it to Sophie back in the late 1990s. I believe it's upward of $16, 000 now, and that's not because of inflation. That's because of the mumbo-jumbo Big Pharma puts out -- you know -- the high cost of research, rising costs, blah, blah, blah, etc. Diastat, or rectal valium, an emergency medication that is now in generic form, has cost me as much as $1200 A DOSE and as little as $7.50. Long-time readers of a moon worn as if it had been a shell might remember my Drug Mule series when I chronicled what happened to the price of clobazam and how I gamed the system. I'll refresh you:

1. Called Frisium, clobazam was not FDA-approved when we first started using it. I paid out of pocket for it for many years, purchasing from a London pharmacy through a NYC pharmacy. Cost: $150 for a month supply. So, manageable.

2. Approved by the FDA and renamed Onfi, it was not covered under my Insurance Company's formulary and was priced at $1800 for a one month supply, 1/2 of which I was subject to, so that's $900.

3.  I was no longer able to get Frisium but located a pharmacy in Canada that sold clobazam (remember Onfi, Frisium and clobazam are all the same drug and close cousins to Klonopin, one of the most heavily prescribed drugs in the US of Opiate Addicts) for $60. It became illegal to ship the drug across the Border, so two friends of mine in the Movie Industry, on location, picked it up and ferried it back to me. This was legal -- well, sort of -- but not sustainable, and in lieu of flying up to Vancouver every three months (I contemplated doing this and making a little vacay out of it), I turned next to:

4. A non-profit organization on the east coast that helps people with certain conditions get drugs for free or at a reduced price. I should add here that the Magnanimous Manufacturer of Onfi offered to give me a coupon for 12 months that would have taken $50 off the $900 co-pay (similar to the Epi-Pen CEO's magnanimity in lieu of reducing her $5 trillion salary). The non-profit PAID FOR THE ENTIRE CO-PAY which was like manna from heaven. I just had to swallow the small amount of vomit in the back of my throat when I found out that the non-profit was largely underwritten by the Magnanimous Manufacturer of Onfi and GOT A HUGE TAX WRITE-OFF for their charity to folks like us.

Are you following this because those four points were really just illustrative and an aside. Here's what I want to say today, in reference to that New York Times article linked above:

Guess what else is a potent anti-inflammatory?

I'll give you a hint: The DEA recently confirmed its status as a Schedule 1 drug, along with heroin and cocaine, meaning it has no medicinal value and can't be studied except under the most draconian of regulations.

Are you following me?

I'm no conspiracy theorist, but I suspect Big Pharma is getting their ducks (or dicks) in a row as they scramble to research and develop their own cannabis concoctions. The fact that we can grow it ourselves and make our own medicine means no money for The Big Guns, so we must all be subject to the scare tactics of Big Government and Big Private Entities. Free enterprise, baby. Capitalism, baby. Let the Market Do Its Thing, baby.

Us? THC, baby.

While we're smelling the bullshit, if you have arthritis and live in a state where you can get some, try cannabis. It's a potent anti-inflammatory. I am not a doctor, though, and have only a tiny little mother mind™so please consult yours and don't sue me.


  1. Looks like you found your inspiration.

  2. I have relayed to many people who have posted about the epi-pen, about Zoey's ACTH and how here's had skyrocketed to 25,000 a vital. 25,000 freaking dollars a vial. Disgusting. It's all just so disgusting. In other news, I really need to try cannabis for my auto immune issues. I really do. Love you friend.

  3. As far as research goes, most all of it Is done at university labs, funded by grant money generated from, yes, TAX DOLLARS. Makes me scream.

  4. Time to hoard buds and seeds in that root cellar bomb shelter we all wish we had under our tiny off the grid house

  5. Time to hoard buds and seeds in that root cellar bomb shelter we all wish we had under our tiny off the grid house

  6. I have a patient with cancer, due to the humira he was taking for his arthritis.

    As for the prices, it's disgusting. Although here in Alberta there are rules for what Blue Cross will cover with regards to drugs. You can't just have any drug you want paid for, your doctor has to explain why the cheaper version won't or doesn't work for you before it's covered. I don't have a problem with that because it keeps the costs down for everyone and the new drugs are the more expensive ones, not always the best ones. Blood thinners is one example of this. People don't like taking Coumadin because of the weekly blood tests which I understand are a pain in the ass but the new drugs are liked not because they work better or have fewer side effects or are cheaper, it's because they are more convenient.

    I could go on. I think that we all have an obligation to help make the world better for everyone in it, not just ourselves. I believe that we are all connected and that what hurts one person or group, hurts all of us. I believe that we need each other. Not beliefs shared by big business obviously but why not?

  7. I'm going to start growing cannabis aka:pot weed, skunk, maryjane, mary ja wanna, reefer, ganga, buds, and the MIRACLE.
    I think it is the best way I can contribute to society as a responsible and caring person in the age of insanity.
    I will notify all when the first crop is ready to be pressed (or however it's done) and every dose will be free, because all the people in the world who have any sense at all will send me $1 so that we can all be responsible and caring people...How do you open a Kickstarter?
    I'm being flip here, but sometimes you gotta' dream crazy to combat crazy. And I see a lot of kickstarters for a lot of things nowhere near as worthy.
    (a wee bit of humor)
    Love you

  8. Good luck to Henry with the college application process. He should have lots of good low cost options from what I know about him. Questions? I'm sure I and your other readers we've been through this can help.

  9. I read this and deal with the lingering uninsured at work and then just watch, mouth agape, as people 'round here rail against the tyranny that is Obama care. OK, maybe the latter didn't fix the pharma issues but still... it's like bemoaning the loss of leeches and sacrifice.

  10. I hate this so much. I really do. Along with these other drugs, diabetes drugs are skyrocketing in cost, and Congress just introduced a bill in response to the Mylan Epi-Pen ridiculousness that they admitted won't be looked at seriously before they recess (again) and probably won't really do much even if it were to be passed except implore the FDA to be faster at approving generics, as if that doesn't still line pockets of industry folks.

    Yesterday, I helped rescue a man from the middle of the street in my neighborhood. He is a (likely undocumented) construction worker who went out to have a cigarette on his lunch break, had a seizure (apparently he has a history of them but can't afford the medication he needs to control them), and fell face-first into the middle of the street. Luckily, there were no cars coming but mine and a neighbor's and we both were able to stop, wait for his seizure to be over, gently carry him to the grass and call 911. He couldn't speak, didn't know his name, was bleeding profusely from the head, and as the ambulance carried him off, his boss lamented that this might break the man - the cost of the ambulance ride, hospitalization, loss of days of work, etc. I went through the rest of my day heartbroken. What is wrong with us?

  11. So... it pisses Ty off that the benefits of cannabis are being hijacked by the government and the DEA. I think he's gonna make great strides...

  12. Amen to all that... I couldn't have said it better! Dawn... The Bohemian



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