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Drug companies aren't cashing in

Investigate drugmakers' grab for cash | Nov. 25, editorial

Drug companies aren't cashing in

Mark Twain once mused: There are lies, damned lies and statistics. Unfortunately, your recent editorial is based on a statistically flawed analysis.

Contrary to claims by AARP, the government's Consumer Price Index shows prescription drug prices grew by 2.7 percent during the 12-month period ending in September. That's half of the 5.4 percent cited by AARP and completely in line with current medical inflation, which grew at 3 percent.

In reality, financial results for nearly a dozen of our companies show zero revenue growth in the third quarter and minus-3 percent year to date.

What's more, a recent analysis by U.S. News and World Report shows pharmaceutical companies lagging far behind other sectors when it comes to median stock performance, rising by only 2.5 percent over the past 12 months compared to 27 percent for the overall S&P 500 and 34 percent for hospitals and health insurers. And finally, according to Forbes magazine, 58,000 jobs in our industry have been lost so far this year.

Unfortunately, medicines are always looked at as a cost and never seen as a savings — even though they often reduce unnecessary hospitalizations, help avoid costly medical procedures and, let's not forget, save lives.

Ken Johnson, senior vice president, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, Washington, D.C.

Jordan Valdez sentencing

Justice worked the way it should

Justice is not about retribution. Justice is our attempt to restore moral order after a horrible wrong has been committed. Sometimes justice requires prison time, as when a person should be removed from society because of the severity of his or her deed, or for the safety of society itself.

More importantly, and in every case, justice requires our best attempts to change the heart of a person who has done wrong. I believe Judge Chet Tharpe's sentence was both stern and fair. Jordan Valdez must work significant hours in a trauma center. And she must speak many times to her peers about the hard lessons she has learned. These penances cannot help but change her.

Even more so, I believe Melissa Sjostrom's homeless friend, Katrina Wombles, gave a powerful witness for justice and compassion when she forgave and asked to hug Jordan Valdez. Jesus Christ himself could not have told a more powerful parable.

James Harper, Tampa

Jordan Valdez sentencing

A case of class privilege

By my count, this makes the third young person of privilege in recent years who killed someone by not paying attention while driving a vehicle and then "walked" with minimal, if any, punishment.

Do you suppose for a minute that had it been the other way around, "unemployed individual hits rich kid," the judge's ruling would the same? I think we all know the answer to that question.

Robert W. Goodin, Tampa

On health care, it boils down to choice of values | Nov. 25, David Brooks column

Government needs to help

David Brooks is wrong about the goal of the unregulated market. It doesn't favor the young and productive. It favors the wealthy, especially the superwealthy.

Unsocialized capitalism, inflated by greed, naturally causes wealth to float upward into the plutocratic stratosphere. The productive peons, young or old, are lucky to be kept alive by their efforts, some with the aid of food stamps.

To cause some of those assets to gravitate back down to where they came from, an appropriate element of social-economic mercy must be introduced (food stamps, for instance).

Bud Tritschler, Clearwater

On health care, it boils down to choice of values | Nov. 25, David Brooks column

The responsible path

David Brooks correctly points out that the health care bill in Congress represents an opportunity to make this a more civilized country. I hope that we choose the morally responsible path by passing the bill and providing health insurance to the tens of millions currently without adequate medical care.

The projected cost of almost $1 trillion over the next 10 years is a large number, but needs to be put in some perspective. Under the current system, health care costs are expected to total more than $30 trillion during the next 10 years, so the additional $1 trillion would mean an increase of only 3 percent to extend coverage to most of those currently without medical insurance.

Once we have expanded coverage, perhaps we will start to look at what the other advanced democracies are doing that results in their people being healthier and living longer than Americans while spending 40 percent less per person.

Richard Rolfes, St. Petersburg

To Florida fans, Palin still the one | Nov. 25

She offers plain truth

What is it about Sarah Palin that generates such insipid rancor from her detractors? Whenever she goes public there is an immediate flurry of acerbic adjectives that describe her as "pedantic," "bucolic," "provincial," "extreme," "shallow," "ignorant" and even "dangerous!" Some even warn that she is a puppet for various unnamed nefarious organizations.

The simple fact is that Sarah Palin is what she appears to be: an energized, conservative mother concerned about the direction America is going socially and fiscally. Her chief enamoring quality is that her followers believe that she is being truthful — an attribute sorely lacking in Washington politics. You go, Sarah!

Richard Scott, Clearwater

A job for Palin

If the Republicans and America have any chance of coming out of the Obamination of America we have to start with leadership. I would love to see Sarah Palin take more of a leadership role but not as president or even as a candidate in 2012.

I would like to see Palin replace Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele. If the Republicans are going to come back to true conservatism they need a director who will say what they mean and do as they say.

James F. Dahmer, Tampa

We should buy American | Nov. 25, letter

What's American?

The letter writer asks that we "buy more American-made products" and goes on to state we should not buy Asian cars. Toyota manufactures cars in Kentucky, West Virginia and Alabama. Honda manufactures cars in Ohio and Alabama. GM manufactures in Canada, and Ford in Canada and Mexico.

In this global economy a question to raise is, "What is an American car?" In buying American do we deprive the American workers who build Toyotas and other cars in this country?

Stephen Micklo, Clearwater

We should buy American | Nov. 25, letter

Going for quality

The writer deplores the fact that Americans buy cars made in Japan and Korea and says we should buy American. When Detroit makes cars that last like Japanese ones, I would buy one.

Then he mentions a recent trip to Germany. Why not vacation in America? As for me I plan to buy a Toyota Highlander SUV in the near future and plan to take three trips to Europe next year and make no bones about it.

Charles Farrell, St. Petersburg

Drug companies aren't cashing in 11/26/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 25, 2009 7:01pm]
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