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Drugs and Cheaper Alternatives

My car doesn’t have bluetooth.

Well, it does. Kind of. I don’t have a fancy new car with it already built in. I bought my car from my sister and my brother-in-law installed a sound system but I can’t figure it out. I tried syncing it a couple of times but to no avail. Instead I opted for the poor man’s bluetooth. I stuck my phone in the cup holder.

It’s been fine.


This past Monday night I was driving down Wade Hampton Blvd. Jaimie and I had just left the Fine Arts Center Winter Theatre Showcase and were driving to the store in hopes of buying a Christmas tree. I stuck my phone in the cup holder and turned on The Daily. The Daily is the morning Podcast from the New York Times. It was an interesting episode. It was about the crack down on Muslims in China.

About half way through there was a commercial break. I usually skip the commercials, but since I was driving and didn’t want to pick up my phone (#safetyfirst) I decided to suffer through.

The commercial was for CVS. They were advertising a new policy where they let you know the prices of prescription drugs ahead of time. They were bragging about how great that was because you could decide what you needed and look for cheaper alternatives. It was about giving the consumers choice. Empowering us. I seem to remember them talking about empowering us.

I stopped at a red light as the commercial ended and the podcast resumed. Before the light turned green I picked up my phone and mashed the pause button. I mashed the pause button, and yes I am aware of my use of the word mash, because it had dawned up me how insanely fucked up that commercial was.

Walk through this with me.

A person has not been feeling well. They are either sick, or in pain, or have some sort of chronic condition that needs to be managed.

They do the right thing. They go to a doctor for treatment. The doctor gives them a diagnosis, and then prescribes them medicine to either fix the issue or relieve the symptoms. These drugs aren’t for pleasure. Sure my cough syrup makes me a little sleepy, but these prescriptions are not for ecstasy or cocaine or anything that might resemble fun. These are for Lipitor, Lisinipril, Lantus. These drugs are to get you better or to keep you alive. And there are so many people who cannot afford these drugs that CVS, in an attempt to advertise and draw more customers there way, brag about the fact that they will tell you the prices ahead of time so you can decide whether or not you can afford them. Not quite sure what happens if you can’t. “Your diabetes medicine is too expensive? Well lucky for you, we are running a sale on Diet Coke.”


There was a video that went viral a couple of weeks ago. It was of British people being told how much healthcare costs in the United States. The reason it went viral was because of their reactions to the prices. They were all shocked. Utterly and completely shocked. And I know there is not an easy answer. I know that single payer systems have issues of their own. But I’m pretty sure the answer is not a menu with prices so people can decide if they can afford to follow their doctor’s orders.

Because while I can stick my phone in cup holder and call it bluetooth, no one should have to pop a couple of aspirin and hope it makes their cancer go away.

How is that fine?

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