The Big Fix
Posted August 6, 2003 thepeoplesvoice.org
Published by publicaffairsbooks.com
$14.00 US / $22.00 CAN
Meet the MucCuddys of Ohio. In
late 1999 Melva MucCuddy seventy-seven learned she had breast cancer, and
her health problems and- drug bills mushroomed. Get Melva on the subject of
prescription drug costs and before long she's liable to mention her son. Jim
MucCuddys, fifty, had a severe heart attack two years ago and endures a host
of related chronic conditions. Jim recently discovered that his
health-insurance premiums or going up to almost $700 a month, and was what
about the $900 monthly cost of his medicines? “I can't pay it,” he says
gloomily. And like his mom, Jim worries about his own son, twenty-eight
year-old James W. MucCuddy; last winter he started vomiting blood-an ulcer.
His two brand-name prescription drugs cost about $200 a month. That may not
seem like a lot, but Jimmy works as a cook for $8 an hour, with no benefits.
“It takes a week's check to buy his prescriptions,” says his father.
Melva is right on the money when she talks about profits: The drug industry
is the most profitable of any in America and has been at or near the top for
a generation.- From Katherine Greider's The Big Fix
”Ask your doctor about…” Americans now hear these words coming from
their television more than they hear “It’s the real thing” or “I'm
not going to pay allot for this muffler.” Ads for ads for prescription
drugs are routinely pitched to consumers with images of hope, terror, and
chic- and they work. Meanwhile, the drugs that many people need in order to
stay healthy are increasingly priced out of their reach to justify the
expenditure of these elaborate marketing campaigns.
And yet, for all their newfound prominence, pharmaceutical companies have
begun to find themselves in a precarious position. They have created an
impressive array of “mega brands”- blockbuster drugs like Viagra, Nexium,
Vioxx, and Clarinex with huge sales- but when patients expire on these in
flagship products sales suffered dramatically. In order to meet Wall
Street's growth expectations, drug companies must produce billions of
dollars worth of new revenue fast. The best way to do this, they have found,
is by charging you more than you could afford for drugs you may not need, by
investing in a that panoply of product-line extensions and me to drugs aimed
at grabbing market share, and by spending aggressively on flogging their
products in every imaginable venue.
In The Big Fix journalist Katherine Greider gives us the full
diagnosis of the industry's shenanigans and successes. Read this book to
understand how the situation got this bad and what can be done to repair it.
Katherine Greider has worked as a newspaper reporter and freelance
magazine writer. Her articles often focus on health and medical topics, have
appeared in a dozen publications from Self to Mother Jones. She lives in New
York City with her family. For further information or to schedule an
interview please contact Kasey Pfaff, Senior. Publicist, at email@example.com