Republicans are lowering clinical trial standards which claim to “expedite” drugs but instead flood the market with expensive low-efficacy remedies. Democrats want to expand Medicare, which may make these questionable drugs “free” for individuals, but costly for society
The sun shines over the water, a good-looking couple holds hands, soft music plays, the narration is something like “You want the most out of life, the best, and it is just one phone call away”. You don’t quite know what they are selling, but suspect it is a new drug for (fill in the blank) erectile dysfunction, arthritis/inflammation, HIV, or COPD, or some condition you didn’t know existed or even thought was normal (like a slightly bent penis). You don’t find out until the end that the drug is named something hard to remember, like Ambraxavor (made by Glixar), and unless you Google the name and the drug company making it, you don’t really know what it does. At the end of the commercial, someone who speaks impossibly fast says something like “Ambraxavor side effects may include diarrhea, vomiting, rash, irregular bowel-movements, hair loss, mblemgolblglib*…use only under advisement of your doctor, follow the label, and if you should experience any of these symptoms please discontinue use” Being curious, you call your doctor, who may possibly be getting inducements from this particular drug company to sell this drug. After all, what do the two of you care, the health provider pays for it and off you go.
*possibly loss of limbs, blindness, genital explosion, or tapeworms, you can’t make out the garbled words
The problem with all this is that in the wake of Donald Trump’s voodoo medicine policies (think Covid-19 denial, anti-vaxing, and Hydroxychloroquine for starters), he and his MAGA friends have helped lower the efficacy standards for new drugs (in the name of “expediting” remedies by removing the “red tape”), which later allows the drug company to charge a lot of money for drugs that barely work (“efficacy” means “how well it works”, which used to be set higher, but lower after the damage of the Trump administration). Somehow you know, with this new flood of TV commercials, that Trump has succeeded in enriching his big pharma friends by sneaking quack remedies through the Trump FDA. Clinical trials are ordinarily great things, as they herd sick people not helped by traditional medicine to experimental remedies which are free. However, it is probably better to have these trials run by Universities and other unbiased institutions, and to certainly keep the efficacy bar set high, so as to not crank out bogus drugs and/or snake oil. (Vaidya, 2020)
Now enter the Democrats, who won the 2020 Election and whose liberal wing wants Medicare for All. Pharmaceutical Companies are not stupid, and understand the winds of political change. They know that if Ambraxavor, which is absolutely essential for those with two different sized breasts or testicles, but only 20% works and costs $30k per year per patient, can get approved by the lax Trump rules, it has a great chance of being picked up by “Medicare for All” as an essential drug. After all, it is a curse to go through life with two unmatched breasts or testicles (even though your spouse is probably the only one that will notice and even they probably don’t care) and Glixar, with some HMO and doctor “incentives” will very likely be included, under threat of lawsuit by the “unmatched erogenous zone lobby” (UEZL). It will be a great day for those afflicted, as they can go back to a normal life, assuming their hair doesn’t fall out or their ears don’t explode (note here that Repubs are usually lobbying for legal immunities for drug makers and doctors). Unfortunately, the rest of us will have to pay, and there will be no cost-control in site. Soon, big pharma will be marketing sugar pills as a “mood enhancer” and charging $3 a pop, Medicare funded. As long as big pharma is protected by Republican nuts and their goofy ideas on “freedom” and “a great economy”, this rip-off potential will exist. And since the political pendulum swings from right to left, the molly-coddlers will defend our duty as a society to pay for poor Sally’s or Billy’s “mood enhancers” or “matched erogenous zones”. (Chown, Dranove, Garthwaite, & Keener, 2019)
Note that many of the low-efficacy drugs are targeting the STD market, with minority actors just to make sure that Liberals will demand their inclusion in Medicare, under threats of “racism” or “sexism”. Meanwhile, the conservative-leaning Supreme Court just said that contraception does not have to be part of HMO care. Never mind the fact that STDs are very effectively prevented by cheap things such as condoms, lifestyle changes, and sound preventative advice. We will now be expected to close the STD barn door after the cows have escaped, but only a little, because Glixar’s Gumupsirex will only partially work, and will soon bankrupt the Nation.
Of course, now that liberal-liberals and conservative-conservatives have perfected this left-right combination knockout punch, whatever TV ad time isn’t taken up by useless pharmaceuticals will surely be bought by trial lawyers, who will be only too happy to press class-action lawsuits against drugs like Ambraxavor and Gumupsirex, claiming that there was no indication that 20% of patients would have their toenails pop-off, even though Glixar will swear that this was stated clearly in their fast-paced warnings or microscopic instructions (with implied consent as soon as the package was opened).
But Donald Trump, his wealthy corporate patrons, and Bernie Sanders, who bizarrely have formed an alliance on this front, will have won, as the masses will be pacified and the super-rich will consolidate their control over this Country for years to come, while the era of great Universities, Public Health, and sound Democracy comes to a close.
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