Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Gee, We Were Only Kidding!

Remember the Peanuts cartoon where Charlie Brown would attempt to kick a football that Lucy was holding? Charlie would run hard at the ball, ready to kick it downfield. At the last minute Lucy would take the ball away, Charlie would go flying through the air and land with a thud.

Sometimes real life imitates art, or in this case, cartoon art.

Back in 1996 the drug companies reached an agreement with Washington in exchange for an extension on some valuable drug patents. In exchange for this protection, the drug companies agreed to make certain drugs free or almost free to low income patients and those with AIDS.

This was a win-win situation.

Companies such as Med Solutions and others sprung up to aid qualified beneficiaries in filling out the paper work. These companies charge a nominal fee for handling the paper work and the recipients get their meds for around $3 per month per script.

And the drug companies get to keep their patents a little longer, prohibiting other companies from making generic equivalents, which keeps prices (and profits) high.

Such a deal!

Until now . . .

It seems that the drug companies see the new Medicare drug plan as a way to change the rules. Several companies have announced plans to discontinue this free ride for the elderly and disabled.

Just like Lucy and Charlie Brown, the football (in this case the free drugs) are pulled away at the last minute. Only this time, the one hitting with a thud are the elderly and disabled.

Sigh . . .
blog comments powered by Disqus