Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Chili Wednesday

It's pretty chilly today..that's for sure. Because of that, we're having chili for lunch today. It always sounds good when fall comes. It's been since last winter that we had chili. I was living in the house on Catalina. Well, we're having it today.

I watched Frontline on PBS last night. It was all about this antibiotic resistant bacteria that is going around in hospitals. I heard an interview about the program on NPR yesterday. Talk about scarey! I would not want to go into a hospital nowadays. Hospitals are not required to report their experiences with the antibiotic resistant bacteria.

I have a thing about the cost of pharmaceuticals. Only in the past five years have I had to take any meds. I began taking a thyroid tablet when my previous doctor noticed my thyroid levels were low. I was also losing hair although my energy level was always very high. This past January, when my new doctor noticed my blood pressure had crept up, I began taking a blood pressure pill. Both these prescription were generic and both were from the $4.00 group.

Last week I refilled my thyroid tablet prescription and the cost had quadrupled to $15.30. I complained to the doctor about it and he suggested I buy 90 days worth instead of 30 days worth. I discussed this with my pharmacist and was told the savings would be minimal. He said he had one antibiotic that had gone from $60 some dollars to $1500. He blamed it on a shortage.

I was listening to that NPR program this morning and one scientist explained that most pharmaceutical companies had stopped developing new antibiotics because there was not enough profit in them. People take them for ten days to two weeks and then when their problem clears up, they stop taking them.. Other drugs taken on an ongoing basis are much more profitable to develop. So the pharmaceutical companies will not develop any new antibiotics.

That is all very well and good except for one thing. There are now numerous antibiotic resistant bacteria. We have over used and over abused the use of antibiotics over the years and now bacteria are developing a resistance to them. In fact in 2011 one hospital in Washington DC fought a deadly bacteria for a year and it continued to be spread by carriers who did not get infected themselves. Several people died because of this antibiotic resistant bacteria before sophisticated gene tests discovered how it was spread. This deadly bacteria and it's progress through the hospital was kept a very tight secret because several of the people who died had come to the hospital with other complaints and had contracted the bacteria through carriers who were treating the people with the bacteria and then accidentally spreading it to those new patients in their weakened condition.

There was a show on Frontline on PBS this past evening called "Hunting the Nightmare Bacteria" that exposed all this. The hospital did eventually write a paper about their battle against the bacteria that ravaged their hospital but it was a very brave move. You see the program explained that most hospitals do not report their "nightmare bacteria" to the public or anyone else for fear people will not enter their hospital.

The fact that the pharmaceutical companies will not invest in developing new antibiotics because there is so little profit in developing them is an international disgrace. Those companies have put aside the good of the patient for the benefit of their strictly profit motive. Furthermore, some of our tax dollars pay for the development of new pharmaceuticals and yet the pharmaceutical companies refuse to use any of those funds to develop new antibiotics.

This entire story illustrates once again the problem with Capitalism. It is greed driven.


Balisha said...

As you know my son died this summer with an infection that he got in a hospital. It was fierce and shut his organs down before they could find the antibiotic to fight it. I would do anything to keep from going to the hospital now days. Joe might have to have a hip replacement (we'll find out today) and that worries me. That's why people are sent home from the hospital so's safer to recuperate at home than in the hospital.
Sounds like an interesting program. Wish we could have seen it.

Margie's Musings said...

Is it not available in your area?

Can you not get PBS?

Yes, what happened to your son also happened to a friend of mine that had a surgery at St. John's hospital in Tulsa. He got through the surgery just fine but died of a staph infection. I am so sorry about your son.

And if you recall that erysipelas I had last spring was also a staph infection. The specialist doctor I went to in desperation to get rid of it warned me what could happen if I could not get it under control.