The C2S blog draws on the arts, the social and biological sciences to explore the many meanings of health and "dis-ease." Designed to be a locus where patients, their families and professionals can meet on a level playing field, it is the natural off-shoot of the Cell 2 Soul Online Journal. We encourage the submission of ideas, essays, poems, stories, humor, and timely reviews relating to the humanities and health care.
Mahogany L. Browne is a poet and author who is organizing the Women of the World Poetry Slam at New York’s Pratt Institute. She gives her Brief But Spectacular take on “Black Girl Magic” and the struggles facing African-American women in modern society. If you want the full screen, Click HERE.
In the United States, just three pharmaceutical giants hold patents that allow them to manufacture insulin: Eli Lilly, Sanofi and Novo Nordisk. Put together, the “big three” made more than $12 billion in profits in 2014, with insulin accounting for a large portion.
What makes this so worrisome is that the big three have simultaneously hiked their prices. From 2010 to 2015, the price of Lantus (made by Sanofi) went up by 168 percent; the price of Levemir (made by Novo Nordisk) rose by 169 percent; and the price of Humulin R U-500 (made by Eli Lilly) soared by 325 percent.
Besides these pharmaceutical companies, [s]omething else is most likely contributing to the rising price of insulin: a very powerful and largely invisible group of middlemen, known as pharmacy benefit managers, or P.B.M.s.
The biggest P.B.M.s are out to make a buck. They get “rebates” from drug manufacturers — payments based on sales or other criteria, which look suspiciously similar to kickbacks. The rebates are not publicly disclosed, but they are sizable. Industry analysts estimate that those payments, and other back-room deals, amount to as much as 50 percent of the list price of insulin.
The three biggest P.B.M. — Express Scripts, CVS Health and OptumRx — bring in more than $200 billion a year in revenue. They control over 80 percent of the P.B.M. market.
In much of Europe, insulin costs about a sixth of what it does here. That’s because the governments play the role of pharmacy benefit managers. They negotiate with the manufacturer directly and have been very effective at driving down prices.
PhRMA and the P.B.M.s care making a killing while many patients have a hard time with co-pays for their insulin.
As an artist for more than thirty years, my main focus being landscape and still life painting. A couple of years ago I was inspired by New Yorker cartoons and thought I’d give it a try. I was drawn to the black and white format, as well as the directness of approach. Since I’ve always used a black marker when doing preliminary sketches for my painting, it seemed like a natural progression. I always liked both the immediacy and permanent nature of the black marker, and cartoons have this same kind of feeling about them. The element of humor, of course, adds a whole other dimension. Though visually it seems quite different from painting, the artistic problems are the same. For me, it’s about boldness, immediacy, retaining the initial drawing marks, and design of the space. And since my interest in cartooning has come about in the digital age, unlike the traditional approach of paper and pencil, all of my cartoons are all drawn on my iPad. Carson’s Website.