Everyone has a price threshold.  When gas reaches $4 a gallon, we all start screeching about the oil industry – until then we’re relatively complacent.  When the cost of everyday prescription drugs becomes greater than our food costs, we start questioning lots of things that we previously ignored – like the  entire philosophy of western medicine and the predatory incentives of an industry far more interested in suppressing symptoms than healing our bodies.  Geesh, you mean if we get well, doctors and pharmacies won’t earn as much MONEY?  Talk about an annuity!  It’s always about the money isn’t it?

Let me preface this rant by saying that for years I have suffered from a mysterious, debilitating illness that behaves like an allergy and in the past two years it has worsened to the extent that my days revolve around my annoying ailment.   On both coasts, I’ve seen countless Internists, Allergists, ENTs, Gastroenterologists and Pulmonologists and spend thousands of dollars on medical testing, including having our house professionally tested for every known allergen; purchased only cotton fabrics, encased our bedding in non-allergic materials; detoxed my body, eliminated every possible food, yada yada yada.

Zip, Zilch, Nada, Nothing.

I am no better now than when I first  exhibited these classic allergy symptoms about the time that I turned fifty and menopause and arthritis hit me like a TON OF BRICKS!   Ah ha, you say.  Arthritis , menopause and allergies are all in the autoimmune department.  But when all tests are exhausted and you test negative to EVERYTHING, including bacteria, fungus or virus, the sage medical profession declares as though he invented air: “Your autoimmune system is attacking itself.”   So I’m allergic to myself.  Lovely.  Thank you.  That’s so helpful.

To say that I’ve become intimately familiar with pharmaceuticals as well as non traditional “remedies” would put it lightly.  From Zyrtec to Clariton to Allegra to Drixoral to Sudafed, to pseudoephedrine – the darling of shake-and-bake meth labs – to every known inhaler and oral corticosteriod as well as current exploration of unconventional remedies like Colloidal Silver and acupuncture,  I’ve had them all and done it all;  know the side effects and interactions of each drug, and unfortunately,  know the fluctuating cost of each remedy.  I’m still sick.  In order to be functional and to be able to sleep through the night requires a creative combination of meds and regimens.   Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t – no two days are the same – no pattern, no triggers, not a hint at the cause.  Flying is an issue because I fear what air cabin pressure will do to my ear drums… a recent trip to Idyllwild (8,000 ft.) cleared my ears and I could hear for the first time in weeks!  But I digress..back to the subject.

When I went to pick up a prescription the other day, the pharmacist said, “If you wait a week for this script, it will be significantly less.  The generic is coming out.”  Humm…. that particular prescription had become increasingly more expensive over the last several years – from $100 to $140 to $190.  When I returned a week later, it was indeed much cheaper…FORTY BUCKS!

“Why the price fluctuation?”  I asked.  The pharmacist  said, “Just prior to when a drug’s patent runs out, the pharmaceutical manufacturer jacks up the price to “recoup” their anticipated losses.”   Interesting.  Another tidbit I recently discovered was that my Advair inhaler, which up until this month was running about $240 a month, just went up to $340, while the same thing in Mexico is FIFTY BUCKS!  Now why is that?

The top 50 pharmaceutical industries in 2010 sold $593.4 BILLION  in scripts.  By 2005 A NY University study showed that Big Pharma was spending twice as much on advertising as on research and development.   Soooo, the industry isn’t seeking new cures, it’s just a clever marketing entity, focused on profit.  There’s another statistic that’s interesting: these types of mysterious allergies are far more prevalent in “developed” cultures.  Could it be that our food supply and the myriad additives and chemicals used in the behemoth Agra industry might be suspect?

First rule of the road:  We are responsible for our own health.  We are responsible for taking inventory.  We are more likely to unravel the cause of our problems if we arm ourselves with intelligent research and resist the overwhelming barrage of suggestive pharmaceutical ads that have us all wondering if we should ask our doctor if such-and-such  drug is “right for me?”

No question health care is a massive, complex issue in modern society, but we cannot afford to leave good health up to big pharma and agra businesses; tired medical providers who are dictated to by insurance companies; or legislators who are bought and paid for by special interests.  None of the above has anything to do with you and me.

Stay tuned.  Next stop may be the Mayo Clinic.  But I will get to the bottom of this  – cause I’m pissed off and weary of feeling rotten!