Wednesday, Dec 12th

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You are here Editorials Alex Baer Crazy Is As Crazy Does

Crazy Is As Crazy Does

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The Big Crazy seems to have settled in for a while.

I'd hoped The Big Crazy might move on, spooked, when the six "Mars Mission" crew members were released from their habitat in Hawaii after a 365-day simulation.  I thought having that much Actual Science back in the atmosphere again, all at once, might cause The Big Crazy to at least retreat a bit.  Nope.

A check of the headlines tells me The Big Crazy has dug in for the long haul.  Take your pick: 
  • Former aide says Trump a psychopath.
  • Weiner, wife split over more crotch pics.
  • Trump campaign CEO not fond of 'whiny-brat' Jews.
  • US unable to give away 500 tons of peanuts.
  • Children's Home won't accept atheist cash donation
  • Burkini ban continues by French mayors
  • Intoxicated United Airlines pilots arrested in cockpit
  • Trump surrogate tweets pic of Clinton in blackface
  • Hackers break into voter data in two states
  • Bats have on-field sex during Lions-Ravens game
  • Mylan offers cheaper generic EpiPen
  • Trump to build force-field wall along border
  • My wife, children actually from Pluto, says Trump

And then, I backed up a little.  (No, not the Trump stories -- you get used to the hallucinations of that feverish moron after a while.  And not the bat-mating story, either -- thanks just the same.)

EpiPen, EpiPen....

After Exxon, BP, Enron, Union Carbide, and all the Love Canals and fracking mayhem and asbestos madness, and leaded water and bank frauds and S & L crises, and mortgage meltdowns and Ponzi schemes and other rip-offs -- not to mention all the pharma hikes in the thousands of percent for life-saving drugs -- I already instinctively jump back at crappy news from crappy corporations and their crappy policies.

But this was some new kind of Enormous-Bigly Super-Crazy, the kind where you squint a little, suspecting the world has forever changed, never to go back again.

See:  I've already been inoculated -- like, every 8 minutes, for the last 143 years of this fine political season's quadrennial election cycle -- for the screaming-mimi madness of Trump & Co., but I must have missed my last dose of Total Mind-Liquidation Business Crazy.

But, here we are: After pressure from the public, and Congress, about a drug two-pack which has vaulted from $100 to $600 in about seven years, Mylan will now be making a generic version of its EpiPen.

The earlier $300 coupon idea must not have caught on among those who stock up on the life-saving treatment for severe allergic reactions.  (Finding a coupon, it turns out, isn't very convenient for consumers in the midst of a life-or-death crisis -- a fact Mylan likely hoped no one would uncover.)

So, now, a generic version is due from Mylan in a couple weeks.  One health policy analyst was quoted as saying the move will help the company with public outrage, and maybe even stem interest from competitors thinking of entering the market, to boot!

Beautiful.  Business is batting 100% and the Public is left batting at bats on the field, or swatting at themselves, out in left field, out of sheer frustration.

Robert Weissman, president of the Public Citizen consumer group, noted in an NPR report that there is something fishy about a "generic drug company offering a generic version of its own branded, but off-patent drug," noting that the profitable version in Canada costs $200 and is half that price in France.

He notes Mylan's latest move "is just one more convoluted mechanism to avoid plain talk ... and just cut the price of EpiPen."

Why would he say that?  It helps to see, or hear, or read, Mylan CEO Heather Bresch's statement, which she posted on the company's website.  Here it is:

"Because of the complexity and opaqueness of today's branded pharmaceutical supply chain and the increased shifting of costs to patients as a result of high deductible health plans, we determined that bypassing the brand system in this case and offering an additional alternative was the best option."

Now, to be fair, the cobbled-together health care system we have evolved in the U.S. since World War Two is not at all easy to deduce, understand, navigate, or use -- especially if you are in the midst of a healthcare crisis yourself.

Surely, though, if we cannot force The Big Crazy to leave us alone this election season, we can get it to pull up stakes and move down the road some, and give people a chance to buy the medications they need to stay alive, and do so at reasonable prices.

I suppose, for people who cannot afford the drug, they can mutter the mantra of Martin Shkreli, the GOP's patron saint of pharmaceutical interests:  I am confident I will prevail.

Anyone suffering from severe allergic reaction could also re-read Ms. Bresch's statement, as a topical ointment, of sorts:

"Because of the complexity and opaqueness of today's branded pharmaceutical supply chain and the increased shifting of costs to patients as a result of high deductible health plans, we determined that bypassing the brand system in this case and offering an additional alternative was the best option."

If that doesn't work, please consult the GOP's easily accessible healthcare plan, which consists of a card, blank on one side, and, on the other, it reads,  Good luck.

Now, if it matters, in any of this idiocy, Mylan is no longer headquartered in the U.S. -- it moved itself offshore, where all good corporations go to shield income.  It is now in the Netherlands.

BTW:  I understand healthcare in the Netherlands is exceptional.  It has been proposed by quite a few studies as one the U.S. may wish to emulate someday, when sanity returns to our shores, sometime around 2525, if anyone's left alive.

(Netherland is 17th on the list of World Health Organization's ratings, while the U.S., and Canada are not even in the top 25.)

But, then again -- let's not be hasty or rash.  Profit is always more important than people.

To think otherwise?  Ah, it's just The Big Crazy talking again.

Info: WHO rankings:

Relief: And now, A tune from the Optimists' Club:


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