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Letter: Big Pharma fleecing patients in America

Big Pharma fleecing patients in America

An article in the Aug. 7 paper about insurance companies refusing to support generic drugs may explain why drugs and insurance are so expensive. Perhaps there is another reason as well.

A dozen years ago, in Spain, my wife developed a painful rash on her left side. At the free public hospital, doctors diagnosed her with shingles. They gave her packets of powder to be dissolved in water and taken every eight hours, along with a prescription for refills. The medication worked wonderfully and when we refilled the prescription a few days later, we were amazed the cost was just two euros.

Back home in Florida, a friend developed the same condition. My wife offered her her leftover medication. The woman’s husband, a physician, was incredulous. “Give me those packets,” he said. “I’ll look them up and tell you where they came from. You might be surprised!” We gave him the box they came in and the next morning he called back, rather subdued. “That powder,” he said. “is made in the U.S.A., an ibuprofen derivative, too cheap for FDA approval, but available by prescription throughout the world, though not in the U.S.”

Why are inexpensive, effective drugs available worldwide but not for us here at home? Perhaps we need Congress to look into ways to decrease the cost of life-saving medications. Could they do that, or would Big Pharma say no?

Henry R. Danielson


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