Today is one of those days that makes me want to move to Canada, France, Spain, or Great Britain, because I’m just utterly disgusted by the Almight Dollar. I’m probably mesmerized by dreams of a greener grass, but today I’m willing to risk it–the weeds we’ve got here are downright rotten.
So we start off with Health Care Renewal’s postings about for-profit institutional review boards (the committees that are supposed to protect you and me from unethical trials like the Tuskegee experiements) and a Bloomberg article describing illegal immigrants desperate for cash being recruited for experimental drug trials. I’m *sure* they’ve all been adequately consented, and their translated consent forms have been approved. By a for-profit institutional review board. Now even Hopkins is using for-profit review boards. (In case you were wondering by bioethicists haven’t been up in arms about this.) The whole *point* of an IRB is that it’s supposed to be objective. It’s supposed to be free from outside influences that may skew the committee in one way or another. But *paying* them, oh no, that’s fine. He who pays the piper calls the tune.
And then I go read Kate’s find that we’re
wasting hemorrhaging (that means we’re really wasting) money on the new Medicare Drug benefit. Had we just expanded the VA system, senior medications could have been automatically available and at hundreds of dollars per year of savings. (This matters a lot when you’re on a fixed income.) Note: ask your doctor if there are alternatives to the medications you’re on. For example, the “Protonix” example given could be changed to omeprazole (Prilosec), a much cheaper alternative drug in the same class as Protonix and nexium.
And then to top it all off, I go see Syriana. A perfect end to a anti-American day.
I’m a firm believer in the mantra that you can judge a society by it treats its most vulnerable members, and frankly America, we’ve earned an F.
(That’s with the grade inflation.)