Health Industry – Especially Pharmaceuticals

Why do Humans Organize? Because, as a species, they are too intelligent. Because, as a species, they are territorial. Because, as a species, they are assaultive. Because, as a species, they are an apex predator. Because, as a species, they are economic cannibals.

Pit bulls are more civil than human beings. Elk in rutting season are more civil than human beings. Bonobos, silverbacks and orangutans are more civil than human beings. Name any other mammal; they are more civil than human beings. Humans, because they are too intelligent, are capable of deliberate, unprovoked evil against their own kind.

Mariner speaks specifically of the health industry.

Among health services, the most cannibalistic are the pharmaceutical corporations. Some facts:

  • Xarelto, also known as Rivaroxaban, is manufactured by Bayer and a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, Janssen Pharmaceuticals.
  • In US Xarelto without insurance, cash only, costs $16 for one pill. In India one pill costs $4. In Canada one pill costs $2.61.
  • Werner Baumann is the CEO of Bayer. His salary last year was $6.6 million.
  • Alex Gorsky is the CEO of Johnson & Johnson. His salary last year was $21.2 million.
  • Mariner’s prescription insurance pays for generic prescriptions; oddly, his deductible is the cost of one month of Xarelto, not a generic drug. An effort was made to explain donut holes but mariner couldn’t understand the irrationality of the phenomenon other than they are expensive.
  • Confronted by the embedded profit in Xarelto, mariner said never mind.

There are more tales to tell that may explain why mariner is sensitive about the cost of pharmaceuticals. Three years ago mariner was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, a lung disorder that leads to death in a number of years (Don’t worry, he was misdiagnosed but that’s another tale). His pulmonologist, without advising mariner of the details, issued a prescription to mariner’s pharmacy. On his way home, mariner stopped by the pharmacy to validate the call. His pharmacist advised that it would cost $10,000 each month. Mariner said at once that he would die first rather than pay that money to a CEO that makes more in six months than mariner has made in a lifetime.

Despite his rejection, he received his first month’s dosage and immediately tried to return it but the company said they could not accept return drugs. That box sits in his closet to this very day. Mariner cancelled the prescription a second time and hasn’t paid a penny.

Among the theories of economics, capitalism is the most efficient at cannibalistic behavior. Imagine the reader owns a very powerful vacuum cleaner. It does a fantastic job of sucking in dirt and debris from floors, carpets, curtains and furniture. This vacuum is just like the modern ones: it steers itself and covers the entire floor.

One day the reader turns it on and leaves to go shopping. What the reader didn’t know was that the vacuum is voracious. If there’s no dirt or debris, the vacuum must continue sucking; it must continue to collect stuff. When the reader returns home, there are no curtains, no carpets, even the kitchen garbage can is empty. The reader didn’t know the vacuum was a capitalist vacuum.

The state of economics around the world is like that vacuum. Once targeted natural resources are consumed, capitalism can’t stop consuming. It becomes cannibalistic just like a tadpole turns to eating other tadpoles when normal food is scarce. This characteristic is found worldwide. The street phrase is “The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.” Today, in by far the wealthiest nation in history, the life of poor people has been sucked dry as if eaten by leeches. The poor die sooner, they can’t afford housing, they can’t eat well, they can’t afford children, they can’t afford spouses. They live the life of a dog on a short chain and die after an empty life.

But the oligarchs and wealthy still consume, eating the life out of everyone they can.

The US is the most capitalistic nation in the world but it isn’t alone. Virtually every nation around the world is turning cannibalistic. The resources of new continents, new frontiers, new space – all are gone. Mariner isn’t a trained economist but he knows something is broken and must be replaced.

One last fact: Hourly wages have remained flat for forty years adjusted for inflation; over the same forty years, the stock market has increased at a rate six and a half times inflation. Most of that increase came from denying workers a share to live on.

Ancient Mariner


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