A Fluke in Our Midst

Mark Stein has written another great piece at National Review Online, titled “A Nation of Sandra Flukes”. He begins his article:

According to Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke, invited to address the Democratic convention and the nation, America faces a stark choice this November. “During this campaign, we’ve heard about two profoundly different futures that could await women in this country — and how one of those futures looks like an offensive, obsolete relic of our past,” she cautioned. “That future could become real.”

In one of those futures, women will be “shut out and silenced,” rape victims will be “victimized all over again,” pregnant women will “die preventable deaths in our emergency rooms,” and “access to birth control is controlled by people who will never use it.” If you’re wondering where all that is on your ballot form, just check the box marked “R.”

“We know what this America would look like,” warned Miss Fluke sternly. “In a few short months, that’s the America that we could be. But that’s not the America that we should be. And it’s not who we are.”

How do we reconcile such an auspicious notion? This election is about birth control and rape? I thought it was about jobs and the deficit! This election is about the availability of contraceptives and abortifacients? I thought it was about affordable healthcare!

What happened to the notion of healthcare for all? Well, according to a recently published article in the Wall Street Journal online, we’re actually moving backwards in healthcare.

The vast majority of U.S. hospitals have restricted the use of life-saving chemotherapy drugs and other critical-care medications in the past six months to cope with unprecedented shortages, according to a survey released Tuesday.

More than 80% of hospitals surveyed by the American Hospital Association reported they had to delay treatment, and nearly 70% said patients received less effective substitute drugs.

Three out of four hospitals reported rationing or restricting the use of drugs in short supply. For some drugs, such as a leukemia drug called cytarabine, there are no effective substitutes.

The survey of 820 hospitals was released by the AHA on Capitol Hill as part of push for legislative action. A separate survey commissioned by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists estimated additional labor costs for hospitals to deal with the shortages at $216 million a year. Pharmacists and technicians spend about 17 hours a week managing drug shortages.

What is the primary culprit? You guessed it! The U.S. Government.

The shortages are growing more severe, in part, because of industry consolidation and manufacturing problems in the past year. When one company runs into a manufacturing problem with a product or decides to quit making a drug, competing companies can’t quickly fill the void. In April, Teva reopened a California plant that it had shut down voluntarily for about a year, in part to retool to meet Food and Drug Administration manufacturing guidelines.

So, what we have is a terrible issue with drug shortages caused primarily by tougher FDA regulations, especially in the production of GENERIC drugs! Instead of that being in the spotlight, we’re talking about birth control pills. Shameful!