I am sure millions of Americans watched “60 Minutes” on July 23rd and most of those who watched were most likely shocked at what they heard about the Medicare prescription drug bill that the Bush Administration and the drug company lobbyists pushed through Congress about 3-1/2 years ago.

I have written in previous reports that the drug companies wrote the drug bill and that was verified by the CBS news team on 60 Minutes. The final vote in Congress on the drug bill took place at 3:00 a.m., which is rather odd, but clearly not an unplanned happening.

I suspect few members of the House of Representatives who voted on the bill even knew what was in it. The cost at the time was estimated to be about $400 billion over 10 years. Rep. Billy Tauzin, who carried water for the drug company lobbyists, steered the bill through to final passage. Are you surprised to learn that now he works “full time” for the drug companies? I suggest that our readers ask this question to their members of Congress – “what is the cost of the program now projected to be?” I believe you will find that we are now talking in terms of trillions of dollars.

It’s now quite evident that the pharmaceutical companies and the insurance companies are the real beneficiaries under the drug bill. Consumers and retail drug stores have been hurt badly an in the long run, the hurt will increase. Some individuals will benefit, but the costs involved will negate any real benefit to seniors. Recently, I asked a member of Congress from Alabama about the drug program at a local Chamber of Commerce meeting.

I was shocked at this lack of knowledge about a bill he supported and voted for. The costs of prescription drugs in the United State are the highest in the world. Folks should be asking the politicians – why?

One reason might be the $100 Million a year in campaign contributions and lobbying expenses the companies spend to protect their profits. Another is that we have members of Congress, such as Mr. Tauzin, who feather their own nests while serving in Congress. I suggest that you read the report by the Center for Public Integrity which can be found on their website, www.publicintegrity.org.

One of my doctor friends asked me once if I realized that American Citizens actually subsidize people in the rest of the world when it comes to the costs of prescription drugs. I hadn’t thought about the issue in that context, but now I understand what he was telling me.

The high prices we pay in this country allow drug companies to sell the same drugs at very cheap prices in all other countries. Canada – our neighbor – is the classic example.

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