Today was an interesting day. Our family is fighting the remnants of a sinus infection and we are not feeling the best that we could. In a perfect world (or at least one without massive government regulation) I could call my doctor and discuss with him my treatment options. I might give him a credit card over the phone so he could be paid for his time. He would then tell me to go to the pharmacy and to pick up an antibiotic,an anti-histamine and a decongestant. (Sudafed) I would then (after sniffling, sneezing and clearing my sinuses.) get in my vehicle and drive to the pharmacy. I would then walk up to the section on the shelf that said antibiotics, select the one he suggested, then do the same for the anti-histamine and decongestant. I would then take them to the counter, pay a reasonable price for them and then go home.
But this is not a regulation free world, nor is it free in any way. Let’s compare the scenario above to today’s reality. If I call my doctor, more often as not because he is worried about law suits, he will not just recommend a medicine. Instead I have to go in and see him. Actually he can’t recommend the medicine, he has to call the pharmacy and tell them to let me have the medicine he wants me to take. The government does not trust me enough to pick the correct medicine from the shelves as I might pick the wrong thing, take to much or too little or even worse, I might get high on Keflex. We can’t have our sick people getting high on over the counter antibiotics that would be terrible. So instead we have this whole system where we pay people to approve a drug, then pay them to dispense the drug, and then pay them to track how much of the drug was used. What a waste. I wonder how many lives are lost because access to simple prescriptions has gotten so convoluted? I wonder if that information is kept out of the news. Already the FDA has started to try to limit access to the more expensive cancer drugs.
What about the Sudafed. It used to be I could walk up to the shelf an select an anti-histamine that contained Sudafed. Now I have to go to the counter, show my drivers license and have the pharmacy check and see if I will be concocting methamphetamine from the Sudafed. If I am sinusy more than 20 days this month I will be cut off because I am clearly a criminal. Of course, traffic in methamphetamines has not decreased, it just gets brought in from Mexico. I however am treated like a criminal. The next time I apply for a driver’s license they are going to look at me and say. “Sorry sir, you tried to buy more than your allotment of sinus medicine. We are going to have to deny you a license. Please return next year and show that you are clean.”
Oh my gosh, I have a Sudafed record. They are going to lump me in with those old people smuggling cheap blood pressure meds and Plavix from Canada. No wonder our jails are filled with drug abusers.
Actually, the point is that this whole infrastructure designed to protect us from ourselves is costing us a fortune while actually limiting the legitimate use of drugs. How many terminal cancer patients have been denied pot, morphine, or codeine just because the physician was afraid of what the government would say. His prescribing habits are being tracked and monitored. Once again I can here the doctor explaining the issue. “Yes, I know you are in pain and will die in the next few months. There is nothing I can do to heal you and the government is worried that you might get addicted to codeine so we are not going to give you any pain relief. You could end up a junkie and on the street. You will addict your family members. No we would rather you die a slow, horrible painful death. We are the government and here to help with your every health care need.”
The current system already costs us, the consumer far more than a system that was truly free of government regulation. The problems associated with inappropriate use would work themselves out with far less problems than the government thinks. The cost savings would be tremendous. Right now, the opposite is occurring. Government regulation is impacting the legitimate distribution of drugs. Life saving drugs that cost too much are being limited. The motive for drug companies to develop new life saving drugs is being stripped away and less R & D is already happening. Instead of a system that brings the best care, where the vast majority have better access to care than anywhere else in the world we are moving to a system that dispenses medical care the same way we dispense Sudafed. If you use to much care, you will be denied.
The government won’t have to kill its enemies, just forbid them to get ambulance rides when they need one, or cut off their medical device allowance. We are going into a brave old world. This is a world where freedom exists only for the powerful that can escape the system. It’s why Congress does not have the same rules applied to them as the rest of us. Where is the Constitution when you need it?