What is Washboard Express?

Washboard Express is a way for me to express my own opinions, to be a provocative gadfly, by writing a "letter a day" to the President. I may miss a day here and there, because sometimes my family with be my first priority, but my goal is to write a total of 365 letters, representing one full year. To say I have opinions about most things would be to understate the obvious. Those of you that know me, know this is true, those who don't know me, will learn that it's true. The Washboard is a reference to going back to basics and "keeping it clean," so if you would like me to post your comments or opinions on this blog, I only ask that you be respectful. So go ahead, express yourself, and I look forward to an exchange of ideas and opinions.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Day 5... Dear Mr. President

Day 5
Dear Mr. President,

Yesterday I talked to you about fraud, schemes, scams, and cons that cost the Federal Government (the people) billions of dollars a year, and how we might end the abuse. The following example is just one scheme perpetrated by just one company, Genentech… involving just one drug.

Here’s the deal… two of the drugs that Genentech owns have proven to be very effective for treating macular degeneration for the elderly. One is Avastin and the other is Lucentis. Both belong to a new class of medications, and both drugs are covered by Medicare.

Lucentis costs $2000 for just one treatment, and for Avastin the cost is just $50. The FDA has approved Lucentis for this specific disease, while Avastin has not been approved for this treatment because Genentech did not apply for its approval for this particular disease. Avastin does have FDA approval for colon cancer.

Both drugs have proven to be equally effective. The use of the expensive drug for one eye for one year costs approximately $45,000, while the less expensive drug requires fewer treatments and is nearly 100 times less expensive.

So why doesn’t Genentech apply for FDA approval for Avastin? Because Genentech would cut it’s own profits gained when doctors prescribe the more expensive drug treatment. Why do doctors still choose to use the $2000 drug? Because Medicare allows doctors to charge 6% above cost ($120 per injection), and if a doctor gives patients 1000 eye injections a year, that’s $120,000 profit for using one drug over the other. Although doctors are not supposed to be practicing medicine for profit, we all know that money talks. Then if you figure in kickbacks, which we all know companies include as the cost of doing business… they still end up with huge profits.

Just requiring doctors to us the less expensive drug could save the Federal Government a half-billion dollars a year. The bottom line is always this… We, the people, end up footing the bill for this type of scheme.

This information came from Dr. Michael Wilkes, Professor of Medicine at the University of California, Davis. I say send the first $100,000 reward to Dr. Wilkes… a bargain compared to the half-billion it’s costing us for just this seemingly small scheme. Think of all the other schemes that are happening on a much larger scale that we either don’t hear about or know about. I don’t know about you, but it boggles my mind to even think about it.

Most Respectfully,

Marcia Reimers
The Gadfly Granny

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