Letters to the Editor

Drug companies, under surveillance, Kap’s protest

Insurance and drug companies are blaming each other for the rising cost of prescription drugs.
Insurance and drug companies are blaming each other for the rising cost of prescription drugs. Los Angeles Times

Drug companies try to shift blame

Re “Rising drug prices the fault of insurers, not drug companies” (Viewpoints, Aug. 29): Peter Pitts, president of a pharma-related lobbying group, blames insurers for high drug prices. Insurers do negotiate the prices they will pay. But, the starting points for these negotiations are the artificially high prices established by the drug companies themselves.

Pitts then cites R&D (research and development) costs as part of the reason for high costs. Yet, pharma companies have among the highest profit margins of any industry, up to 42 percent in 2013, according to Forbes. These margins are achieved after accounting for R&D. Pitts conveniently fails to disclose that pharma spends more on advertising than on R&D.

It is time to stop shifting blame and become accountable for its contribution to the high cost of health care affecting all of us.

Donald P. Sacco,

El Dorado Hills

Industry paints incomplete picture

Peter Pitts tries to blame the rising cost of prescription drugs on the insurance industry. No doubt some of what he says is true, but, as is typical of special interests, he only gives part of the story.

He doesn’t mention that the R&D costs of a new drug are not only tax deductible, but also often heavily subsidized by our tax money. Factoring in those savings, the R&D costs are much lower – about a fifth of what the pharmaceutical industry claims, according to a study by Public Citizen. Additionally, the pharmaceutical industry is taxed approximately 40 percent less than the average for other industries.

Regardless of the true cost of R&D, his article totally fails to explain how the 600 percent increase in the cost of EpiPen, which has been around since the 1970s, could possibly be the fault of insurance companies.

Dawn Wolfson,

Cameron Park

Support helping trafficking victims

Re “Sex-trafficking victim home shuts amid scrutiny by state” (Page 1A, Aug. 21): As a physician working with human trafficking victims from organizations in this community, including Courage Worldwide, I have witnessed the amazing work they do and the difference they make in the lives of the victims they serve.

I have seen Jenny Williamson bring victims to my office for follow-up care after spending the prior night with them in the ER. As emotionally and physically exhausting as caring for these victims must be, she has only shown the greatest level of compassion and concern for their well-being.

It is a dedication that I believe few of us can truly comprehend and one I have otherwise witnessed only in the parents of very sick children. We should rise together to support these organizations and advocate for changes in the rules governing the care of these special victims.

Dr. Ron Chambers,

Sacramento

One nation, under surveillance

Re “Headed to the new arena? Smile, you’re on camera” (Page 1A, Aug. 29): Ah, more personal privacy sacrificed in the sacred name of “security.”

What could possibly go wrong when a private company collects information on us and shares it broadly with law enforcement agencies? It’s not as though companies have ever had dishonest employees, or databases have ever been hacked, or police departments have ever violated the law, right? Right?

D.F. Clement, Sacramento

Kap’s protest only half the story

Re “Kaepernick explains his views to team in players-only meeting” (Sports, Aug. 29): The issue of sitting during the national anthem goes beyond Colin Kaepernick’s protest of police brutality and other injustices.

For almost 50 years the U.S. government has gotten away with one of the greatest propaganda con jobs of all: glorification of the military during all pro and most major college football games. It started during Vietnam and continues today with flyovers and forced audience “support” of U.S. military adventurism. Pro and college teams have caved completely.

What does support for a team have to do with support for any given military action?

John Wagner, Sacramento

Trade Kaepernick to North Korea

Colin Kaepernick doesn’t feel that he should stand for the playing of our national anthem. The San Francisco 49ers should trade him to the leagues in North Korea, Cuba or Brazil. He would come back appreciating how much the United States is an opportunity for all races.

Larry Tyrell,

Rancho Cordova

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