Thursday, November 17, 2005

The Price of Life

Drug companies are not nonprofit organizations. They are encouraged by their shareholders to seek a lucrative drug so that they are not only able to stay in business but also to expand their horizons on other drugs as well.
In comes orphan drugs: drugs that are administered to patients with a rare disease such as Gaucher. The government is providing incentives for said drug companies to do research, make, and sell these drugs. 'What kind of incentives?' you may be asking...well a company, say Genzyme, produces a drug, say Cerezyme that treats Gaucher. Well Genzyme not only gets dollar incentives through funding but also protection by the FDA which will not approve a drug with the same active ingredient unless seen as better treatment. Also, there is a 50% tax credit, assistance to help products get approved, and grant money to defray the cost of testing. That's all fine and dandy...good for you, drug company, you are helping those people like Carol Lees who has lived with this disease since she was 19 and had to live a painful life that I would not wish on anyone, not even those who may deserve it. But what really bothers me is how these drug companies take advantage of being the 'hero'. Guess how much it costs for a day to live in Carol Lees' shoes? $1400 a day, which adds up to $7 million dollars so far. Genzyme makes more than 90% profit on the drug, according to the Wall Street Journal. It is just another disappointing factor in our medical system and makes me wonder when we forgot that we are here as one and by inflicting hardship on others, we are indirectly hurting ourselves.

Thursday, November 10, 2005


It's been a long week. A really long week. I applied for a scholarship last minute and never expected to here from anyone about it. Well, I received a call from a number that looked like a friend of mine. Without thinking, I answer, "Waddddddddddddddddup?!" If anyone knows me, I only answer informally when I know the person on the other line is a close friend. This time, it was not a friend. Oh no, it was a Doctor so and so wanting to talk to me about my application. I was so flustered and upset that I could not answer one question without stuttering. Needless to say, he was shocked at the conversation...and I highly doubt I will hear from him again. I am pretty upset about the whole ordeal. My ego has never been so bruised before. It is hard, you know? One minute you are at the top of your class and then you seek a challenge because who wants to be unchallenged in life? So I chose to swim deeper and it is certainly getting harder to swim. You find bigger sharks in these waters and you no longer see the guppies. Today, I think I may need floaties!