Friday, October 22, 2021

Big Pharma Sucks! Or, It Doesn't...

And tort lawyers Suck! Or, they don't...

Image by Jukka Niittymaa from Pixabay

This is: A weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandkids — the Stickies — eventual selves to advise them and haunt them after they've become grups and/or I'm deleted.   

Warning: This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens — Perusal by kids, callowyutes, or grups may result in an intersectional meltdown. Intended for H. sapiens who are — in the words of the late, great bon vivant, polymath, and pic-a-nic basket expert, Professor Y. Bear — "Smarter than the av-er-age bear." 

Erratically Appearing Hallucinatory Guest Star: Dana — A Gentlereader  

"I believe in prescription drugs. I believe in feeling better." -Denis Leary

Dear (eventual) Grandstickies and Great-Grandstickies (and Gentlereaders),

My late wife was a preemie born in 1952 whose underdeveloped lungs were treated by marinating them in pure oxygen which permanently damaged them. If not for a drug called prednisone created by big pharma that hit the market in 1955, we wouldn't have met in 1985.  

I wouldn't have a world-class daughter and son-in-law; I might not have okay-class grandkids (the Stickies) or at least the ones I've been blessed with.


Lame joke. Gotta make sure they're paying attention. 

In 1954, Dr. Arnall Patz figured out why, despite dramatic advances in the treatment of preemies, a lot of them were going blind. Simply reducing the oxygen levels in incubators solved the problem.

Ronnie's eyesight was damaged, but she wasn't blind when she was brought home from the hospital; she did arrive home with bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD). 

According to the American Lung Association, "Babies are not born with BPD; the condition results from damage to the lungs, usually caused by mechanical ventilation (respirator) and long-term use of oxygen."

Prednisone, which comes with a boatload of unpleasant side effects, to put it mildly (and an indomitable will) helped to keep her alive for 54 years in spite of her doctors predictions of a much shorter life.  

Recently, everyone's favorite class of legal eagles, tort lawyers...

{You mean ambulance chasers?}

Your epithet, not mine, Dana. Clearly, there are people and organizations that need suing. I just wish America followed the English Rule.

{The what?}  

Wikipedia: The English rule provides that the party who loses in court pays the other party's legal costs. Also: The English rule is followed by nearly every Western democracy other than the United States. 

See, under the English rule, if you sue someone and lose, you have to pay their legal costs. Lawyers won't agree to represent you for "free" (in reality a third of the payoff) if they know the suit is baseless.

{Wait-wait-wait. Why would they file a baseless suit regardless? Isn't that a waste of time?}  

Not if the mark has deep enough pockets. It's often cheaper for the mark to settle out of court than to go to court.

The columnist clears his throat and begins again. 

Recently, lawyers have joined battle in the thriving metropolis of Cleveland. A lawsuit filed against CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart, in 2018, has finally gone to trial. 

The plaintiffs are two Ohio counties seeking to recover the cost of dealing with the opioid epidemic — from firms that filled legal prescriptions, written by doctors.   

Several years ago, one of the many times Ronnie was in the hospital because of some illness related to her BPD and/or the side effects of using prednisone for many years (which caused her to be in pain all of the time), the weekend resident doc prescribed oxycontin to relieve what was obviously some intense pain. 

She told me she hadn't felt that "normal" in years, was up and walking around, and was as sharp as a tack. 

On Monday the weekday doc came back on duty and freaked out. The Drug Enforcement Administration had begun watching and there were lawyers staked out under gurneys.

No more of the good stuff (that is to say, actually effective) for you. Suck it up buttercup, too many people looking over my shoulder. 

I've developed a case of Un-huh!/Nuh-uh! syndrome. Is there a pill for that?  

I've read a bunch of articles from mainstream sources researching this column. I don't know if big pharma knew, or at what point, that they had created a monster when they created oxycontin and similar drugs. 

I've read a bunch of articles over the years about big pharma in general and I don't know if it is (they are?) as evil as some maintain, or a force for good as others maintain. I suspect they fall somewhere in between, just like everything and everyone else.

I do know that there are a lot of people that suffer from chronic, debilitating pain that need opioids for relief. I do know that only doctors can prescribe these drugs, which were/are approved by The Fedrl Gummit. 

I do know that statistically speaking, that most of the poor bastards that are overdosing in the streets nowadays die from heroin and fentanyl, not prescription drugs.  

I've gotta go, It's time to take my atorvastatin. Geesh, I can't remember if I took my tamsulosin last night or not...

Poppa loves you,
Addendum: My late wife Ronnie (not a nickname) wore glasses as soon as it was practicable and for the rest of her life. At a fairly young age, the docs announced that her eyesight would shortly, for all intents and purposes, be gone.

Her aunt Golden (also not a nickname) took her to a healing service held by evangelist Kathryn Kuhlman, a controversial figure who was famous enough in her day to have appeared on The Tonight Show in 1974. 

As the story goes, although she still needed thick glasses, the docs declared that she was no longer going blind, and they had no idea why. I wasn't there, being busy being a kid in Pittsburgh at the time, but...

{I don't believe in faith healing.}

Yeah, me neither, Dana.

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