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Obama's America

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Yesterday in the grocery store a fellow shopper commented that she was surprised that there were so few shoppers on the Saturday before Easter. I replied that it was the end of the month, and she said she still did not understand it as Easter was the next day. I observed that this year many people are not going to have Easter dinner. And she agreed.

D.C. Landlords Discriminate a Lot Less Than They Used To

But there's likely a second factor here: the recession. The study was conducted in 2011 and 2012, a time when high unemployment and a volatile economy meant that market renters weren't so reliable. So landlords may have realized that a monthly payment from the federal government for voucher tenants wasn't such a bad deal.

Homeless Community Battles Shelter Dependency

The rate of homelessness in the District has risen 9.3 percent since the recession year of 2008, according to an annual point-in-time count, conducted in the city each January. As in many other communities across the country, the rise in family homelessness has overwhelmed the shelter system.

In January 2009 Obama, Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin, Steny Hoyer, and Steve Israel were given a unprecedented opportunity to do something positive. And they threw it away. You really can't help people like this. Vote them out of office. Every last one of them.

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Submitted by jawbone on

I was getting a new prescription for my back, and a couple were waiting for their scripts as well. We began discussing what Obama was talking about doing to SocSec and Medicare-- they were furious and couldn't believe this was coming from the Democrat they'd voted for.

Somewhat older than I (I think) and I'm 67. But absolutely furious and felt no one in Washington is hearing them or people like them.

And this iis a Democratic area of Morris County in pretty blue northern NJ suboonia. We were clearly not in the economic quintile of the richest parts of Morris County, which is still in the top 10 counties in the us for average income.

Also, my doc had written a script for a muscle relaxant and oxycodone to use after I had two epidurals, one for L4 and one for L5. After I gimped into the drugstore, I was told after waiting awhile that they couldn't fill the muscle relaxant because it was not available in generic.

But the doc called later to say he had changed the script to the generic; the drug was definitely available in generic. So I had to drag myself out of the house and back to the drugstore. Per the druggist, the drug company had released a lower mg version of the expired patent med, which made it not comparable to the original drug, so the automatic change to generic didn't kick in.

The generic was just a mite stronger (which I probably needed anyway), but it caused me to have to make two, for me painful, trips.

But the doc was fooled as well. Great drug marketing plan, Big PhRMA.

Oh, for 30 pills? Generic, slightly stronger dose. $5.17; extended patented, lower dose, $140.00.

But, hey, Big PhRMA got special dispensation from Obama to make sure Medicare couldn't bargain on drug prices.

Submitted by jawbone on

Evergreening is the term for pharmaceutical companies claiming new patents and thus another 20 year protection of their monopoly to produce variations, slight changes, tweaks to an established patented drug. Thereby, the same drug can possibly get many extended patent protected generations.

Which is what I and my doctor ran into with the muscle relaxant I was prescribed.

The BBC had a fairly long segment covering an Indian supreme court decision which went against Novartis's attempt to make an "improvement" in its Glivec anti-cancer drug into another round of 20 years of patent protection.

India has been a leader in refusing to grant such patents. First, it had no patent law protecting drug products, but, in 2005, it had to write one. It included language which required actual new developments for a drug to be considered worthy of a patent.

In 2006 Novartis brought suit against generic manufacturers in India to protect its "new" version of Glivec, which, according to Novartis, meant the drug was 30% more effective. The Indian court rejected Novartis's' claim that this was a genuinely new development.

Novartis says this decision will not only hinder drug innovations and new research, but will cost Indian patients more. Novartis charges $2,600 for a month's coverage of its new improved Glivec, and the generic costs $175 a month. But Novartis says it has provided free Glivec to poor patients and now won't be able to afford to do so. Thus, in effect, the cancer treatment will now cost Indian patients more over all. Supporters of generics argue that competition among generic manufacturers will lead to reduced prices and that not all needy patients received free Glivec.

The approach in the US is to let Big PhRMA set the ground rules. The approach in India is to have the government set the rules and to allow as much competition as possible to result in lower overall prescription drug costs.

I would imagine Big PhRMA will begin to try to lobby more effectively whichever government is in power in India, and, perhaps, try to change the government to one more to its liking and better for its bottom line.

We here just need legislators and executive branch politicians who give a damn about the well-being of us in the lower economic quintiles -- or at least just don't write us off and throw us under the bus as our current crop of both Dems and Repubs do.