Friday, March 4, 2011

Department of Corrections

Well, surely I knew I would make a mistake once in a while. The most polite guy in the world, mentioned in an earlier post, is still the most polite guy in the world but he doesn't raise horses. I think he just rides them, maybe owns them. Since I was talking about the importance of agriculture in a way, to my defence his occupation is a bit homophonic to argriculture. He doesn't really have anything to do with "farms" but more "pharms" being a pharmacist. If you think I'm being a bit too homophonic about this, you may be right. But I am grasping for straws here because I absolutely detest big pharma. Honestly, if there is someone worse than the guys that are making millions on the backs of the poor honest investor, it is a person who makes money by pricing the drugs for people who might need them to stay alive.

Having said that pharmacists themselves have run the gamut from being really wonderful to being just a little uncaring. I doubt my guy is uncaring. To illustrate the difference between large drug companies and the local pharmacist, let me illustrate the process of "evergreening" once again taught to me altruistically by a pharmacist. Evergreening is the process where a drug which is about to go generic, makes some small change (the change aparently needed fortunately just before the threat of generics) in a drug to make it a brand new drug. A pharmacist once explained this to me about a drug I was taking. The new form had very little difference from the old form and added no medical benefits. It was sort of a refined version of the old drug which had the same ingrediants but didn't have a few unnecessary ones. It would be like if you ordered ice tea with lemon. The caffeine effect would be the same with or without the lemon but I'm not sure I want to pay an extra $100 a pitcher for the lemon to be extracted.

Keep in mind pharmaceutical companies want the price to be as high as possible because a great deal of the time the consumer is not paying for it anyway, it's the government (medicare d) or an insurance company. Why do some pharmaceutical companies advertise that if you are poor and cannot pay for your drugs they will try to help you? Because they want as few dissatisfied customers as possible to weaken any political base that might form against them. The drug companies get plenty of money from other sources by charging an exhorbitant amount.

A pharmacist, if loyal to his company (say Target) also wants you paying as much as possible, but these people are actually human beings who see very clearly the difference in their clientelle, the ones who get their drugs cheap or free, and the ones who obviously are paying dearly for the same drug. They start to become altruistic and hint at generics that might do almost the same thing, or whatever they can.

My polite guy? I'll wager he is as altruistic as they come and didn't need much goading. And Auburn University, yes, it does have a pharmacy school. I won't press my luck and find out where this guy graduated from. :)