The War On Drugs
(Prescription Drugs for Seniors, That Is!) 
by James Boyne
November 29, 2003

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Take a calculator and do the math. If a senior has approximately $5000 in prescription drug expenses in a year; with the yearly premium paid ($420), the $250 deductible, the 25% co-pay, and the gap between $2250 and $5200 with no payment; the end result is a senior would pay 75% of their drug costs and many drugs would not be allowed or approved increasing the 75% to even higher. In summary, on the first $5200 in drug costs, a senior will pay $4000.

By the time you have taken $5200 in prescription drugs you will then get additional coverage, the theory being, that once you have taken $5200 in prescription drugs you will have so many of the side affects and adverse reactions from taking so many drugs, that the Congress, the Senate, and especially the pharmaceutical companies know you will need additional drugs, and therefore additional coverage to combat the drug induced trauma that your body and your brain are going through.

As you may know most prescription drugs can cause dizziness, insomnia, sleepiness, headaches, ringing in the ears, diarrhea, constipation, stomach distress, male sexual dysfunction, female sexual listlessness, rashes, dry mouth, excessive salivation, a drop in blood pressure, an increase in blood pressure, liver problems, palpitations of the heart, anxiety, lethargy, confusion, stroke and in rare cases, death -- so you will have your work cut out for you trying to figure out what you had in the first place.

Prescription drugs have also been know to cause one's bank account to take a sharp dip. 

The HMO doctors will be "standing at the ready" for their treatment options on what drugs to prescribe to you so you can safely withdraw from all the "free sample packets" of drugs and the ensuing, pricey prescriptions that they themselves prescribed for you in the first place.

However, since the plan will not begin until 2006 that means that another requirement is to stay alive for over two years so you can be lucky enough to become a member of the plan. Fear not. If this is not in the cards for you, the funeral industry is "standing at the ready" with their $7000 budget special or their $15,000 formal attire funeral with appropriate bereavement extras.

The most popular prescription drugs for seniors will inflate by 25% a year before 2006. Others will probably double. And no one can stop it. The Republican/Bush backed proposal prohibits the Federal Government from negotiating the best price through volume purchasing. This is an example of "business lunacy" at its best.  Extortionist price gouging will be order of the day.

Tens of billions of the $400 billion will be given to employers to subsidize their private prescription drug plans, as an enticement (or a bribe) to keep their private plans in place. This is crazy. The Federal Government will be paying taxpayer dollars to large corporations to try to prevent them from dropping their current plans and dumping all their retired employees into the Medicare system.

I'm still trying to figure out the logic of it all. The entire Medicare legislation was 1200 pages long; was prepared in a Republicans-only closed-door meeting; and when presented to the Senate for a vote the Senators hadn't even had a chance to read the 1200 page legislative bill. This is politics, special interests, and backroom deals at its worst.

R&D is an unregulated, unsupervised sham with no oversight; just a rubber stamp. The NY Times recently did a half page expose of Procrit™, a billion dollar, blockbuster best selling chemotherapy cancer related drug. The results: a comprehensive West European study determined that 62% of the patients died using Procrit™ while only 52% of those taking a placebo died. It's still advertised on TV every night dozens of times. Whose protecting Americans?---the West European governments. If you know anyone taking Procrit™ you may want to read  Whoops! Billion Dollar Best Selling Cancer Drug Found to Cause Cancer and Hasten Death.

And, oh yes, the nail in the coffin (for all Americans, not just seniors) is the provision to allow, by decree, the Bush Administration to declare all American drugs purchased from Canada for half price by Americans to be "unsafe" and therefore prohibited as illegal.

The pharmaceutical, health insurance, HMO's, and the funeral industry are all biding their time, raising their prices and looking forward to 2006. One consolation is I will save $12 a year because I just dropped my AARP membership. It's truly amazing that once our President in seen landing on an aircraft carrier in a fighter jet, and he is on the campaign stump giving those "let's go get the terrorists" speeches, with the gigantic American flag waving in the background, the Congress and Senate will march lockstep arm-in-arm and throw $200 billion at Iraq in 4 months time, with hundreds of billions more to follow; but $400 billion for prescription drugs for seniors gets bogged down in a 10 year debate because all the drug and health insurance companies want a piece of the action.

Like all sinister and cynical leaders, when things aren't going well at home, a nice, colorful, exciting, war with "shock and awe", shadowy, nameless terrorists that hide in caves and fight with "cloak and dagger" efficiency, use suicide car bombers and are harbored in 60 countries, is a great distraction to keep our minds off the millions of baffled, befuddled, and bewildered seniors found dead everyday clutching an empty medication bottle.

Even conservative Republicans are dismayed at the reckless, irresponsible spending spree that President Bush is on. Whatever taxpayer money left over, he throws back at the wealthy. President Bush is like a little kid playing war with an animated PC video game and is handling our economy like he is sitting on the back porch playing monopoly with the neighborhood kids. And he is the "banker".

The economic recovery has become a "jobless recovery". The prescription drug plan legislation has become a $400 billion windfall for the pharmaceutical industry. The war on terrorists that attacked us on 9/11 has become a $600 billion exercise in rebuilding just one of the many brutal and desperately poor countries that populate a good portion of the world. If Uruguay and Paraguay are found to harbor terrorists should we attack them? Cuba. Bolivia. Chechnya. China. Pakistan. Maybe we should go back into Vietnam and finish them off for good? They are still Communist. Danger lurks behind every tree.

Congressmen and Senators debate who did and who did not vote for Iraq, as if we were voting Iraq into statehood with the United States.

See, it is even happening to me. I started off concerned about prescription drugs for seniors and I end up talking about terrorists, bombs, aircraft carriers and war. And I'm all out of my pills, and now I'm in deep trouble. 2006 seems like a long ways away.

James Boyne is a computer trainer, and former sales executive for IBM, Sony and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He is a former staunch conservative Republican who, after becoming of victim of the health care industry, has researched, studied, and written about the health care industry as a freelance satirical writer. He has made a 180-degree turnabout and now supports Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) for President. Mr. Boyne has a B.S degree in Marketing, and MBA in Marketing/Economics, and a degree in Certified Financial Planning. His articles have appeared in Op Ed News.com (www.opednews.com). He can be reached at: dboyne@aol.com.  

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