WHAT DO WE NEED TO KNOW?

I imagine we are not supposed to bring up politics here but it is a subject that is so inexorably intertwined with chronic illness, I don’t know how it can be avoided. We Americans assume one function of government is to protect its citizens from exploitation by foreign or domestic corporate behemoths

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Unfortunately its recent ruling, In the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case confirming personhood on corporations, has put us on a level playing field. In the abstract it sounds like it could be a good thing, however, to continue the sports metaphor, we are the archery team from Samoa and they are the Russian gymnastics team. Who do we think will take home the most medals?

Today the Supremes delivered another crushing decision that continues to assure that we are on our own in the struggle to maintain our current level of care. They, in their wisdom, have determined in Pliva v. Mensing that drug companies may not be sued under state law for failing to warn customers about the risks associated with their products.

The upshot of this decision is, because pharmaceutical companies manufacturing generics have fewer requirements for disclosure, physicians may tend to prescribe more name brands for self protection. The fact that name brands make far more money for their manufacturers, I am certain, had no impact on the decision. It is just a lucky break for them.

The losers are those of us who purchase buckets full of generics every month, largely because of the tremendous savings they produce. In future we may be forced to purchase name brands for no medical reason.

Now in trying to inform ourselves so that we can be our own best advocates, it is not only the science we need to be familiar with it is the law as well.

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