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Chan Lowe: The great pill heist

robin.gifWhile we should never⎯no, never⎯condone theft, there is an inherent paradox about the daring medication heist at the Connecticut warehouse last week.

If the robbers who stole an estimated semi-trailer load of brand-name pharmaceuticals manage to fence the goods at a sharp discount, making them possibly more affordable to the masses on the black market, then they will be doing good by doing evil.

The stories say that the estimated “street value” (what a lovely term for a legitimate product) to the company is approximately $75 million.

Let’s hope that isn’t what they report to their insurance company, because the true replacement value of the stolen property is probably a fraction of that.

Which leads us to the question of why pharmaceuticals have become so expensive, pound for pound, that they have turned into a hot target for cat burglars. Yeah, yeah…we know all about the staggering R&D costs, the lengthy government trials. That still doesn’t explain why the same stuff is so much cheaper in Canada and elsewhere.

Do they charge us so much because they can? Because Congress doesn’t have the Viagra to stand up to big pharma?

And why can’t we import from Canada? Oh, that’s right⎯it’s too risky. The stuff might be tainted.

Poor Canadians.

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I'm still waiting for someone on a Sunday morning news show or a Congressional hearing to ask the pharm executive they are interviewing how they reconcile their statements about "ploughing every penny back into more research" with the Wall Street view of the industry as highly profitable. Where does all that profit come from if every penny goes back into research? For that matter where do the constant flood of expensive TV drug ads come from?

And speaking of drug companies you might want to look into why they are spending millions lobbying for Obamacare. Could it be that they stand to make a fortune with some back room deal they worked out. Surely the evil drug companies wouldn't spend so much money without some kind of reward

It spoke volumes when Big Bad Pharma dropped to its knees in front of Obama when healthcare reform talks got serious. Big Pharma would sell their own children for a profit.

CHAN-Good cartoon & thoughts.You say,"Congress doesn't have the Viagra to stand up to Big Pharma.
My diagnosis is they have "Viagra of the Brain"--Which leads to "stiff thinking." of course they aren't the only ones suffering from this ailment.(other politicians get it,along with Ins.Co's,and the medical profession.
The symptom's of this disease is a viral condition caused by Lobbyist who swarm the hall's of our government-spreading the virus wherever they go,with lavish gift's,dinner's,and offers of future employment.
The cure.?? A big pill--cleansing themselves of Lobbyist and special interest...Like that will ever happen.!ROBIN HOOD-WE NEED YOU NOW.! !


Don't you worry. Obama is gonna do a plenty good job of ROBBIN' DA HOOD.

... never⎯condone theft ... If the robbers ... fence the goods at a sharp discount, making them possibly more affordable ... then they will be doing good by doing evil.

You are condoning theft. Any society that loses respect for private property (look at the USSR or Nazi Germany) becomes less civilized.

Certainly pharmaceutical prices are much too high. The real villains are the FDA, who require a billion dollars in testing to get a new drug approved, and patent laws.

Patent laws essentially give a government enforced monopoly to a select few. The lack of competition is what keeps drug prices so high. Patents actually decrease rather than increase innovation.

Eliminate the FDA. Eliminate drug patents. Increase respect for private property.

The real villains aren't the FDA. There is nothing wrong with stringent rules in place for testing drugs. Criticize a particular rule the FDA enforces if you like, but the FDA requiring drug companies to sell drugs that are safe is far from wrong, it's progressive.

If anything, the excessive marketing campaigns utilized by drug companies to "push" the drugs onto patients is the real devil in this situation. Billions upon billions of dollars are used to pay for pharmaceutical reps, magazine advertisements, television ads, etc. to get people to buy drugs. This is driving up the cost of drugs in some cases over 30%.

Cute- I love it.!
I have issues with Obama-Feel he's caved in to too many things...He dumped his campaign promise to bargain down price's for Medicare,(as we do for V A) His promise that we could buy drugs from Canada is gone.The secret meetings with Lobbyist& Big Pharma didn't thrill me either.!

Mrs. Wagner - Obama has proven to be what he has always been, a mere politician. Anyone can stand up on a stage and promise the world to the American people and most of the time people won't buy it. However, when you have a virtual unknown saying it (with eloquence and a baratone voice), many Americans in dire need of, "change" will fall for it hook, line and sinker.

We meet again.!Yes-Obama is a great speaker.Maybe he watched Reagan...Now there's a hook line & sinker for you. Reagan was a master of the art of fooling the people,(who can be fooled again.)What fools,us mortals be. !

Jay, you say no FDA and no patents? Sorry, but the pharmaceutical companies -big or small - do any research and development based on the promise of big profits (secured by patents) not out of the goodness of their hearts. No patents means no innovations in drugs, no FDA means lots of problems with dangerous or useless medications.

Chan, once again yuo are twisting the facts. Robin Hood stoled from the evil Prince (Government) and the Sheriff of Nottingham (again - Government) and gave to the poor who where overtaxed by... guess who... THE GOVERNMENT!

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About the author
Chan LoweCHAN LOWE has been the Sun Sentinel’s first and only editorial cartoonist for the past twenty-six years. Before that, he worked as cartoonist and writer for the Oklahoma City Times and the Shawnee (OK) News-Star.

Chan went to school in New York City, Los Angeles, and the U.K., and graduated from Williams College in 1975 with a degree in Art History. He also spent a year at Stanford University as a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow.

His work has won numerous awards, including the Green Eyeshade Award and the National Press Foundation Berryman Award. He has also been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His cartoons have won multiple first-place awards in all of the Florida state journalism contests, and The Lowe-Down blog, which he began in 2008, has won writing awards from the Florida Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists.
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