Friday, March 27, 2009

Great Pharma Humanism

So today while reading the news online I saw an advertisement for a new drug from a big pharmaceutical company named Allergan. Before I reveal the name and purpose of the new drug, let me share with you some statements from Allergan's website about their honorable mission...

From the main page: "We combine this strategic focus with a diversified approach that enables us to follow our research and development into new specialty areas where unmet needs are significant."

"We know we are successful... when our efforts make a meaningful difference in the lives of the patients and communities we serve."

From the about us page: "With a heritage of nearly 60 years of discovery and research, our products have made a meaningful difference in how medical conditions are treated and in the quality of patients' lives worldwide.

From the Research & Development page: "We vigorously invest in research and development to discover and develop new treatments that meet the needs of specialty doctors and their patients.
Allergan's world-class research and development (R&D) program embodies our efforts to bring the best of medicine to life."

"research and development expense was $1,055.5 million ($1 billion), $388.3 million, $342.9 million, $762.6 million and $232.7 million in 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003 and 2002 respectively."

So with that great humanitarian vision and massive investment in research and development Allergan recently announced FDA approval of their newest 'meaningful' medicine Latisse for the treatment of the previously unmet needs of patients suffering from hypotrichosis...

Hypotrichosis... definition: inadequate or insufficient eyelashes.

Yes, we now have an FDA approved pharmaceutical to help people get fuller, longer, darker lashes...

What a freaking crock! While people are suffering and dying from all forms of disease, and ordinary citizens are giving money out of their relative poverty to support research, Allergan is investing millions and millions of dollars to create prescription strength mascara!!!

Allergan is not all bad. They are making some donations to the Make-a-wish foundation, and some of their other drugs and pipeline potential drugs have some real value. But seriously... mascara! MASCARA!

At least doctors won't have to wait for 7 years for the patent to expire in order to prescribe a generic. Maybe I can line up some free samples of Covergirl or Maybeline to give to my poorer patients.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Out of money? Print more...

So a good friend of mine shared this video with me and I felt the need to verbalize my thoughts on the issue:

This is a topic where I definitely follow a more conservative, even libertarian ideology. You absolutely cannot just print more money without the gold or other item of universal value to back it up. It is idiotic public policy. Here’s the problem in our two party system:

Party 1 = we want public services like schools, jails, etc, but we don’t want to pay much in taxes and we want the government to stay out of things.

Party 2 = we want the government to step in and do more, tax the wealthier people to pay for it, or come up with some other way to pay for it.

For somebody to get elected they have to please just enough of both sides that we’ve ended up with: Government step in and do more while not concurrently raising taxes. People want the government to help them, or help the companies they work for, but they don’t want to pay to do it. So where does that leave our government? Borrow from other nations (who aren’t lending now that the global economy is tanking) or print more money. So what is worse, letting General Motors, AIG, and other multi-million employee organizations shut down or keep those millions of people receiving paychecks that are worth less? Where do we cut funds from? Schools, Universities, Research, Jails, Medicare, Medicaid, Military, Food Stamps, Non-profit grants, Roads, Police, Fire Protection… what deserves less than the others?

Maybe now would be the time for the greatest unification of church and state in American history. What I mean by that is maybe now would be a phenomenal time for the Christian Church to step up and say to the state, ‘we will take care of the poor, the needy, the sick, the hungry. We will volunteer our time to work on infrastructure projects or to police our streets. We will volunteer to help clean schools or make lunches for kids. We will spend our Sunday mornings knitting hats for babies or repairing cars for single moms, instead of just sitting and hearing a sermon we’ve heard 32 times before. Christian kids can bake cookies and make sandwiches during Sunday School for the poor or other workers. Christian executives and wealthy individuals with savings will take temporary pay cuts or cessation of salary for a period of time. Christian doctors will offer an evening a week seeing patients at free clinics. Churches will offer free job re-training, counseling, housing, etc.

Maybe that would be a more Godly, Christ-like response from us than to just be upset about the government printing more money to solve problems we aren’t willing to solve ourselves.

Friday, March 6, 2009

A Great Example!

Hello Friends and Family,

I heard this great story on NPR this week about a young pastor in Bend, Oregon working to refocus his church on serving the poor and forgotten, loving unconditionally, and generally living the Christian faith. This story documents the challenges, successes, and new directions faced in this process. I would strongly encourage you take the 15 minutes or so to listen to it at:

Scroll down and click on the ‘Listen Now’ or Download link. This story is the first 15 minutes or so of the recording. Please let me know your thoughts!