Monthly Archives: February 2012

Breathe

A band of storms swept through town this morning.

When I set out for work the storms had just passed. As I closed the front door, the birds were singing.

I took a breath; the air was sweet. Sweeter than I can remember. It was not a sweetness borne of any identifiable smell. It was a sweetness that comes from the absence of pollution, dust, irritants. It was the smell of the wilderness.

Storms are never easy or pleasant. But that is how God cleans house.

It is good to be alive.

 

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Methotrexate: The other side of the story

I recently saw a couple of stories (here and here) that piqued my interest. They both dealt with shortages of a drug called Methotrexate. Wanting to know more, I spoke to a friend who happens to be a pharmacist. Here is what I learned.

  • Methotrexate is a fifty-year-old chemotherapy drug that is still used to treat certain types of cancers, such as ALL
  • The patent has long since expired and it is cheaply available as a generic – a single dose costs about $1.58.
  • It is possible to source Methotrexate from overseas, but there are justifiable concerns about quality control
  • It is possible to source Methotrexate on the black market – a $15 bottle costs $85.

Why is there a shortage of this drug? Because the pharmaceutical companies in the US have stopped making it.

Why have they stopped making it? Because it is no longer profitable for them to do so.

Why is it no longer profitable? Because the government expects to purchase their supply below cost.

In most cases, this is not a problem; the private market pays a higher rate that makes the drug profitable. But since the vast majority of the Methotrexate consumed in the US is by Medicare and Medicaid, there is not enough money on the table to make it cost-effective to produce the stuff.

So there you have it. The Government has decided on how much they are willing to pay for Methotrexate, and the suppliers say that they cannot produce it at that cost while making enough profit to make it worth their while.

Amazingly, the commonest solution that I have heard is that we must somehow force the companies to supply Methotrexate at the desired price. And yet, if you ask people if they are willing to go to work for nothing, they will look at you as if you were insane. But what they are asking for is pretty much the same thing.

This is where Keynesian economics falls flat on its face – the government can mandate whatever price it wants, but the one thing it cannot do – at least for long – is to force a business to sell a product to them at a loss. And that appears to be what has happened here.

Sadly, the press is not reporting this side of the story; they ‘re too busy telling us about the eeeevil pharmaceutical companies, and showing us pictures of cute bald children suffering from leukemia.

Did I miss something?

Election 2012: my prediction

Obama will win.

Because elections are not won, they are lost.

  • McCain lost in 2008 because he could not prove he was not George W. Bush.
  • Kerry lost in 2004 because of doubts about his fitness to command, and because he could not offer anything new.
  • Gore lost in 2000 (yes folks, he lost, get over it) because of Clinton’s lack of character.

This is because too many of us vote out of our fears instead of our hopes.

Obama will win because all but one of the Republican nomination hopefuls are offering the same tired brand of  “Socialism Lite”; bailouts, safety nets, entitlements and empire-building around the world… same old stuff, only with a few tweaks around the edges that don’t really change anything. They are not offering anything truly new or different.

The one exception – and the only person who can beat Obama – is Ron Paul. He is the only candidate who truly offers something new. Ironically, he does this by offering something old; a return to true conservative values. Like the Constitution. And the Free Market. And sound money. And local self-government (which some mistakenly confuse with anarchy). And individuals’ and States’ rights.

Those are the things that made this nation great; they can make her great again. The alternative is the well-meaning but eventually financially-enfeebling brand of socialism that we have already seen sweeping through Europe with such disastrous consequences.

But Washington does not want Ron Paul. Most of the Media does not want Ron Paul. The cartels and oligopolies that run things by legalized corruption do not want Ron Paul. The military-industrial complex does not want Ron Paul. And they will fight hard to keep their apple cart right-side-up.That’s why he will not be nominated, though I pray that events prove me wrong.

And that, my friends, is why Obama will win.

Or more correctly, the Republicans will lose.