Some Boomer Realness on Caretaking

A  real moment thanks to Decide,Create, Share

This past week has been one where the subject of caregiving or caretaking has figured prominently. I didn’t start off thinking about this.  My yoga teacher invited me to volunteer at Mary’s Place by the Sea.  This is a place for women either recovering from and/or enduring cancer. Guests can receive healing treatments, spend time alone, take meals, sleep over, get advice and enjoy a healing atmosphere.

It is also always a place where I take my best self. My ego remains in the shadows. “Does my hair look good” or “Is my butt too big” just does not factor into what is important when I am at Mary’s Place. All around me there are people engaged in caring for and supporting each other. The lucky ones have family to “be” with them on this journey.  And for the others, there is Mary’s Place by the Sea.

What do we need to do

I know what I need to do in my own life as it relates to aging….sort of. But taking action is like everything I am supposed to do. It consists of a mental list that looks like my messy kitchen drawer.  I catch a tweet that AARP’s Decide Create Share campaign is hosting a webinair addressing the question of whether I am ready for my future. It will launch in the next few hours so I register to attend.

Decide, Create Share’s purpose

The campaign’s purpose is to help women in their 40s, 50s and 60s stay healthy so that they can have a secure tomorrow.  The campaign’s title says it all about how one goes about achieving this:

  • Decide what kind of future you envision for yourself.
  • Create a plan that will help you achieve those goals.
  • Share  that plan with the important people in your life.

The webinair helps me take action. So this morning I started this conversation with my only man/child. It was an informal recognition between us that this is a conversation we need to have.  It is time, like Kanye West says, “to suffer from realness” and to have this conversation.  I will be journaling this process, sharing my difficulty in keeping it real and hoping that it will help you.

Please let me know what questions you have at www.boomerwizdom explores this realness. Maybe it will be easier not going it alone.

Lipitor and Boomers: Why We Should Care

Supplements

Generic vs Branded

Lipitor went off patent today.  Instead of costing boomers $5 a pill or roughly $150 a month, Lipitor will sell for about $2.50 a pill.  In about 6 months it will drop to $4.00 a month when competing generic manufacturers begin selling their versions of this statin drug.

Pfizer, the manufacturer of this blockbuster drug, is trying to preserve its franchise. Because lipitor, according to  Shari Roan of the Los Angeles Times is Pfizer’s cash cow. Now the company is doing everything it can to ensure consumers continue to prefer Lipitor over other generic drugs. It is a nice way of saying the company is trying to continue its monopoly beyond the patent.

Why is Pfizer Making Deals

In an effort to fight off other generic drugs, Pfizer is arranging deals with insurance companies, making side deals with druggists, giving coupons to individual patients and anyone else they can find to hang on to their position(mental space) in the public’s mind. This is key, they want  us to hold on to our belief that their product is superior.

Most doctors base their support for this drug upon research and FDA recommendations. However doctors  also agree that one generic drug is every bit as good as a brand name generic, or at least they should be, in terms of the drug’s molecular structure and strength.

Are Brand Generics different from Generics

So Pfizer cannot make the argument that their brand name generic drug is better than other generics. There is no reason for us to care  about this brand name generic vs generic debate because all generics are equal.  Right! But the marketing that Pfizer is doing to protect its financial interest is interesting.

The first time I thought twice about being sold medicine was when Prilosec ran the television ads suggesting viewers ask their doctors for the “purple pill.”  That struck me as wrong somehow just as I am a little ruffled by Pfizer’s attempt to muddy the waters in the generic drug game regarding what  is good and what is better.

With an aging population, most of us will need drugs.  We will be obliged to find generic options because prescription plans do not always pay for branded medicines.  But Pfizer’s actions blur the lines between insurance plans and Big Pharma.  This will keep prices high. I want to feel comfortable that the molecular structure of the medicine I am getting is true to its formula and that money is not governing science.

With Pfizer making direct deals I anticipate more complications to come.  Although this is not the first medicine to come off patent,  it is the first time there is transparency in the marketing strategy when a leader in the arena comes off patent.

Big Pharma is selling Directly to Consumers

A look at the offiical Lipitor website makes the argument that the company drug has a track record and a program to help consumers keep taking the drug for as low as a $4.00 copay. It encourages patients to sign up for a special card that is neither related to health insurance or doctors but to participating pharmacies. So Big Pharmas will be selling directly to patients.

I suspect there will be much more of this as the population ages and the business of big pharma changes in order to keep the dollars coming. AARP asks a similar question of what will happen to the price of prescriptions.

Is there an investment opportunity

Do you think there  is an investment opportunity here in either generic or branded generic medicine that you understand?  I am interested in your thoughts?

Oh yes, today is World Aids Day. Don’t forget to wear something red to help people remember we still need to find a cure for this illness.