December 26, 2007

Profiteering War On Nasal Drugs


“The good stuff”

I’ve posted about this before, but I saw a link go by the popular link blogs and had to mention it here in semi-solidarity, because this is a new angle I’ve never seen before.

Plus, my uncle had to leave my party the other day because he was feeling like crap with a horrible headache caused by sinus pressure. I know these headaches well; they go away when I take a pain reliever combined with pseudoephedrine. And they run in my family.

The problem is, my poor uncle had been taking the stuff you get off the pharmacy shelf and didn’t realize that they no longer actually sell pseudoephedrine off the shelf. You have to ask for it and they treat you like a terrorist. See my post “Meth Whine” from February.

He didn’t realize that the stuff he is now taking does, basically, nothing. Under almost the same name, drug makers now sell some worthless BS. You get to keep your sinus headache and wonder what’s wrong with you, unless you scrutinize the ingredients. I find that most people do not do this.

This fellow (“call me a crazed conspiracy theorist,” he says) believes that it’s not about meth, but about making money.

So let me go out on a limb here and say what any reasonable person would strongly suspect. The reason you can’t get Mucinex and Sudafed that work without jumping through hoops isn’t really about stopping basement meth users. It is really about the racket going on in Washington in which the law is used to benefit influential producers in cahoots with the political class at the expense of less influential producers and the American people, who should have the freedom to choose.

Read his post to see if you agree. He’s noticed that the largest maker of useless phenylephrine is a big Republican donor at the federal level. With an enormous surge around the time that the good stuff was pulled off the shelves. I say semi-solidarity because I don’t think there’s any hard evidence, just fishy circumstantial stuff.

I feel bad for my uncle, and people like him, who have wasted and are wasting their money on a drug that, in my experience, isn’t noticeably better than a damn sugar pill. These companies should pull those decoys off the shelves, or admit that they’re crap. Or both.

Posted by James at December 26, 2007 10:16 PM
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Oh yes, it is about more than just NyQuil and sudafed that no longer work, too. Politicians and drug makers are lining their pockets with the suffering of asthmatics, too, pushing dangerous HFA inhalers that actually make asthma worse.

Posted by: leslie at December 26, 2007 11:57 PM

I'm linking to Leslie's blog post HFA inhalers.

Check it out, won't you?

Posted by: James at December 27, 2007 12:33 AM

Without knowing how much the pseudoephedrine costs (as a percentage of the final price of the drug), you can't really "prove" that it is a conspiracy.

One would think that happy customers would buy more product (ie, drugs that work). That is, as a long term strategy, it would seem stupid to remove the pseudoephedrine voluntarily.

Posted by: njkayaker at December 28, 2007 7:56 PM

People have a long history of not being able to tell which voluntary treatments actually work. See: popularity of "Airborne." And, more generally, "snake oil."

The free market is not a perfect system.

Posted by: James at December 28, 2007 9:54 PM

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