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February 2015

Generic Drug Prices Soaring Sky-High and No One Is Sure Why – Or What to Do About It

Washington Watch


Generic drugs were thought to be the cost-control protecting American consumers from the ever-skyrocketing cost of brand-name prescription drugs. Same benefits, lower cost – at least, that was the theory. Costing pennies on the dollar compared with a brand-name drug, generic drugs have long been a critical weapon in the fight to contain soaring health care costs.


But now countless Americans are feeling sticker shock at the pharmacy drug counter as the price of many generic drugs has shot up dramatically.


This price spike for generic drugs has the attention of Congressional lawmakers, the Justice Department, and attorneys general from several states, who want to understand why it’s happening and are trying to figure out what they can do about it.


At a recent Congressional hearing about the issue, new data released in connection with the hearing found that half of generic medicines went up in price between the summer of 2013 and summer 2014. The data also pointed out that about 10 percent more than doubled in cost in that time with some common medicines rising by over 500 percent.


Prices have gone up, but it’s all relative to what brand name drugs cost, argues Ralph Neas, who heads the Generic Pharmaceutical Association, the Washington, DC-based trade association representing generic drug makers and suppliers. While some prices have increased, Neas said, “if you put them in context, you’re still talking pennies, compared to very expensive brand medicines.” Generics in general, save consumers more than $200 billion in healthcare costs every year, he said.


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What Is Love?

Life Is for Living


It all makes sense, this tornado called love that makes our minds and emotions go around in circles and leaves us slightly dizzy. There is something wonderfully sensitive about this emotion that can make us so selfless as we fight selfishness.


It is so good to be loved back, to receive an echo of the same thoughtfulness we have given. Of course, the best kind of love is that which does not demand receipt of the same – such as loving the unlovely despite rather than because.


It’s February, the month of dancing happiness-hearts, all spelled out on Valentine cards. And since love is always kind, the thought crosses my mind – why should this kind of emotion be restricted to just one day?


A world without love is a world composed of all getting and no giving. It creates the kind of person who concentrates on receiving benefits from others but does so on a one-way street. In this kind of world, wars multiply and those who have much simply want more and cannot care that others thereby receive less. It is a giant foolishness, but then there is never a shortage of fools.


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