Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Price of Happy vs. The Price of Smug Douchebag

 The new dose of Prozac is working out great.

The new pills are approximately three inches long,
but it just takes more room to hold the extra sanity.
Although this week hasn't been materially less stressful than any of the past, say, eleventy weeks, I literally have found myself thinking, "You know, last week this would have driven me batshit crazy, but today, not so much" at least once every day.

And that in a nutshell is what the wonder drug fluoxetine does: It lets me not go batshit crazy over things that normal people handle daily.

Sadly, it also doesn't turn me into Christina Ricci,
which is a side effect I could actually  get into.
Now, there is a real cost associated with the increased dose and attendant increased likelihood to not randomly lose my shit in a public place. I had been paying about $6.00 for a 30-day supply of generic Prozac. Now, with my dosage doubled, I'm paying...almost eight bucks for a 30-day supply.

It now costs me 26.6 cents a day to be a functional human.

Probably this would cost a bit more.
That, my friends, is a price I'm so very willing to pay. Just over a quarter a day to not have emotional breakdowns at work? To be capable of choosing confidence over fear at least half the time? To believe the future is something other than a scary black void that will eat me if I dare approach it?

Oh hell yeah. Eight bucks a month for the win.

But of course my personal victory got me thinking about people who rely on the drug Daraprim, a 60-year-old generic formulation that treats the fairly rare but very dangerous condition of toxoplasmosis, a parasitic infection that can infect AIDS patients, cancer sufferers, and pregnant women, among others. It's a very effective drug that costs about $13.50 a dose.

This week, many news outlets reported that the patent to Daraprim was purchased by Turing Pharmaceuticals, a start-up company owned by a guy named Hedgefund McDouchebro.

Or Martin Shkreli, as his grandmother probably still knows him.

Call him whatever you think is appropriate.
Mr. McDouchebro decided that the drug that all the medical professionals think works just great needed to work better.

Hahaha, no really, he just thought he could make a shit-ton of money by gouging the people who need this drug to keep, sort of, living.

And so overnight, the price of Daraprim went from $13.50 a dose to...$750.

Five. Thousand. Percent. Increase.

McDouchebro claims the obscene profits from the price increase will help fund research to create even better drug therapies.

Let me again link to this article, which claims that no one has ever questioned the efficacy of the existing drug.

I'm going to do math here, you guys. It's almost certainly going to be wrong, so call me out on that. But here goes.

If my precious fluoextine suddenly increase in price by 5000%, it would cost me...$14.77 a day?

Seriously, no idea.
I did this equation a number of ways, and ended up with answers that were all over the galaxy. So I don't know what the equivalent of jacking up Daraprim by 5000% is, OK? But it's, like a lot. And if I had to face that kind of price increase, several people I know would be dead by morning. Promise.

So, if you're mathier than I am (NOT difficult, tbh), let me know what 5000% over the price of an eight bucks a month prescription is. Let me know if McDouchebro is at all justified in raising the price of an obscure but important drug. Also, let me know if you think this asshole is an asshole. For the record, I think he's an asshole.

Also, in light of everybody in the world calling him a big fucking jerk, McDouchebro has now announced that Turing Pharmaceuticals will roll back that price increase for "certain customers." He won't say who those customers are, or what price they will pay.

Maybe bloood relatives.

I'm not good at math, you guys. Not even with sweet, sweet Prozac. So I'm trusting that one or more of you will uncover the truth here. Media assholes, millionaire douchebag assholes, or enough assholes to go 'round while innocent people continue to suffer for no good reason.

I'm tired. I'm going to bed.

In the morning I'll take my sunshine in a capsule. Because I need it and I can afford it.

I hope the same applies to all of you.

And let me know if you think Mr. McDouchebro is an asshole. My money says yes.


  1. There's a reason why I despise capitalism.

    This is also the reason that product patents should never be given. Only process patents. That way someone else can make the same thing by another process and drive this moron into bankruptcy.

  2. I'm terrible at math too so I won't offer my own guess, but I have had a recent experience with having to change drugs. Technically I wasn't forced to change. I could have kept taking the pill that was prescribed, but I wouldn't be able to afford anything else and would soon be homeless and, er, unable to afford medication.

    Fortunately there was an alternative that I could afford. Not everyone has that option.

    And I don't have my copy of Parasite Rex handy but if I remember correctly an estimated 75% of us in North America and Europe have toxoplasmosis hanging out in our brains. It's held in check by our immune systems, which is why it's a threat to people with compromised immune systems. And again speaking from personal experience it's scary how easily your immune system can be knocked down.

  3. Yeah, Martin Shkreli is like Christian Bale's character in American Psycho, only more narcissistic.

  4. My guess: It will "decrease" to a 50% increase, which will seem totally cheap compared to the 5000%.
    And yes -- he's an asshole.


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