I’m a healthy 62-year-old type 2 diabetic. I maintain my good health through the following controlled daily regimen:
- Prescription medications
All the above are crucial to my existence, but while I can occasionally miss a day in the gym or stray from my healthy diet, I cannot live without prescription medications. I take these medications to help manage diabetes, blood pressure, and cholesterol:
Metformin: lowers the amount of sugar produced by the liver
Atenolol: treats high blood pressure
Simvastatin: helps lower bad cholesterol and fats
Olmesartan: helps with blood flow
Januvia: helps lower blood sugar
Ambien: helps me sleep when I’m worrying about my health
I’ve attempted to live without some of these medications using extreme diet and exercise programs as alternatives, and the results have always been disastrous: high blood pressure, high blood sugar, higher cholesterol, and weight gain.
I’ve discussed this phenomenon on radio and in numerous columns with Dr. Evelyn C. Granieri, Chief of the Division of Geriatric Medicine and Aging at New York Presbyterian Hospital. “A significant part of health and ageing has to do with luck and genetics,” said Dr. Granieri. “A healthy lifestyle helps, but you cannot negate the importance of medications.”
Four of the medications (Metformin, Atenolol, Simvastatin, and Ambien) mentioned above are generic and can be purchased inexpensively (less than the cost of vitamins or a daily smoothie). I often use my Walgreens card ($25.00 per year) as an alternative to my health insurance for certain prescriptions because the price is lower. (Atenolol $3 a month). Januvia and Olmesartan are expensive drugs, but they are new and the results of millions of dollars of research and effort on the part of pharmaceutical companies, which brings me to the point of this piece. If not for my prescription medications, I would be in very ill health or (based on family history) perhaps not even alive today.
Why then, are the companies that supply me with lifesaving drugs continually maligned by politicians (and many of my associates in the media) who regularly insist that we should be receiving prescription medications for “free”?
Pharmaceutical companies are easy targets for politicians to push an anti-corporate agenda and galvanize a block of voters. In the past politicians have targeted companies from other industries, but as health becomes a larger issue, a new scapegoat has been found. Despite their increasing attacks, politicians have offered no solutions or plans regarding “free” medication, but instead point fingers and bang a loud drum, demonizing the businesses I rely on for my health.
Politicians (and many of my fellow pundits) promised me that I’d have better and less expensive healthcare with the ACA, but instead I lost my endocrinologist and my insurance, so pardon my skepticism. As far as I know, the government offers the public no help or education regarding heart health and diabetes, yet my Twitter feed is filled with helpful information from numerous pharmaceutical companies that I use daily.
As a nation, we are not healthy. According to the CDC, more than one-third of the adults in our country are obese and the problem is worsening. Blaming an entire industry may serve as a temporary band aid and garner votes and television ratings, but it’s a lie that won’t help anyone.
Rob Taub has enjoyed an eclectic career in film, television, radio, and journalism. He has interviewed everyone from pop stars to presidents and he has written more than 250 articles for People Magazine, FoxNews.com, SI/Cauldron, The Huffington Post, and Thrive Global. Rob is a respected Diabetes Advocate and Obesity Ambassador, writing and speaking regularly about Type 2 diabetes and health. Follow him on Twitter @robmtaub or at www.RobTaub.com. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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