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Learning how to spot what’s wrong with this picture

What’s wrong with the big picture? Well, pretty much everything, but just in case you’re a new student, we’ll start with a little piece of it.

Take the “The Financial Page” in the current New Yorker Magazine. Subtitled “Biotech’s Hard Bargain,” it tells us the good news that the “biotech giant” Gilead’s developed a “revolutionary new” drug that can cure 90% of patients suffering from Hepatitis C – a disease hard to treat before this from which 3.2 million Americans (including a friend of mine) suffer. The bad news is that the drug costs $80,000 for a 12-week course of treatment – at a thousand dollars a dose.

Beginning to glimpse the blotch on this snapshot of our current health care system? (Or the world’s…the drug costs only 30% less in Britain.) James Surowiecki, the author of the article implies that this kind of greed on the part of the pharmaceutical companies may lead to government regulation “somewhere down the line,” but says the drug companies, knowing this, may make drugs even more expensive in the meantime. “And that’s what you call a serious side effect.”

A serious side effect? Continued unnecessary suffering for millions of people and earlier deaths for many, so these creeps can get even richer than they already are? Put down the capitalist Kool-Aid, James, and walk away from the table…Capitalism, the root of almost all current evils, in my opinion. Why should medical care, including needed medicine; food; shelter; education; and security have a price tag on it/only be available to the privileged few?

I can hear some of you now…Well, it’s the only system we have…It’s better than communism…etc. No. That’s not good enough. If you can’t explain yourself better than that – if you can’t explain it so that an intelligent, kindly four-year-old can understand and accept it, then you need to snap out of your capitalist-Kool-Aid-induced trance, get together with the rest of us, and come up with something better.

Try asking the four-year-old. She knows that you wait your turn, keep your hands to yourself, use your words, work together till the job’s done, and share the cupcakes equally all around. It’s easy, as long as no one tries to make themselves any more special or important than anyone else.

So, what’s the reward for doing research on life-saving drugs? Give up? Ask the four-year-old…I’ll give you a hint: I already said it…Saving lives. Doing the job you’re good at and/or the job that needs to be done. Having the satisfaction of making a contribution to the welfare of your community.