Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Janet Napolitano Owes Me $20

And the DEA owes me $345.

Where to start.....

Around 4pm, I decided to go in and pick up a few prescriptions. The pharmacy at Tufts/NEMC is open until 6pm, so I didn't have to rush. A 20 minute ride downtown would leave plenty of time for the nonsense I would have to go through at the pharmacy.

You see one of my medications is among the 300 or so which are experiencing shortages due to a little feud between the drug manufacturers, the FDA & the DEA. They are not necessarily the ones with the highest street value. Actually some of them have NO street value. Mine is in the middle. Part of my medication is a controlled substance and it must be "released" by the DEA to the drug manufacturing companies. The drug companies divvy up their supplies and make some generic and some brand name. When they run out of generic the ask the FDA to ask the DEA to release more raw material. This apparently happens every fall with a growing number of drugs. If the company has brand name drugs in their supply - and the FDA knows if they do - the DEA says "Why did you make so much brand name? You haven't planned well. We won't release more."

How the drug manufacturers plan or don't plan is none of the DEA's business. It's a free country. As long as the controlled substance isn't being abused, the DEA should have no say in this matter. It would be like the police telling car manufacturers to only make cars that saved gas.

Anyway, this nonsense causes people to hunt for the generic version.

For my specific prescription, I hunted in September, October, and I think November. Blue Cross only covers the generic. But in December I had no success and had to get a script for the brand name. I know a little of how insurance companies work so I called and asked for an override. After all, Blue Cross is well aware of this little kabuki dance between government agencies. So they issued a rider, but I still had to pay a much higher copay. $115 more than the generic. This was already my most expensive copay at $67 for the generic.

So when I filled it today I had to wait and be called up 3 different times even though I explained up front that Blue Cross had placed a rider in the system and yes, I knew it was a high copay. Aggravating.

While I waited, I tweeted about the TSA conducting random searches in the Orange Line Tufts Medical Center T stop. I saw them on my way in. First off, no one is safer because the TSA and the MBTA police search random bags anywhere in the MBTA system. It's a waste of money and manpower. It has absolutely no value in fighting/preventing terrorism. Secondly, I feel it's a violation of due process. No one else gets searched without probable cause as they meander around Boston. And don't waste my time arguing that the airlines & airports do it, they are not public transportation. Also, they do it to everyone and you know it. Not a select few at random locations.

So, anyway, I tweeted that if, on my way back I was chosen for the search, I would refuse & leave.

And don't you know it.....after slowly working my way down out of the hospital, across Washington St, and down the staircase (escalator only goes up at this station).....I was picked.

A very nice young transit officer said "Good evening ma'am, would you please step over to that table."


"No?" he looked confused.

"No." and I turned around and walked over the "up" escalator and left.

Now, let me tell you something I haven't really talked about here yet. I have experienced a precipitous decline in my energy levels. I took a prescription in December that had me sleeping a ton. Then in January I had a virus that really sapped what was left of my energy. Dr. Miller assures me I will "climb back up that hill" but in the meantime, I am once again breathless after climbing up to my bedroom. I have fallen right back to the March/April fatigue levels. Seeing my recovery slip so easily through my fingers is depressing. It's like pushing a rock up the hill with all your might.....and then one slip up and you're watching it roll to the bottom.

So for me to turn around and try to walk to the Chinatown T stop two blocks away was a great undertaking. I didn't make it. At Kneeland I hailed a cab. Which besides costing $20, took forever because it was rush hour.

I must falling for my own shit.


Charity said...

"No.' and I turned around and walked over the 'up' escalator and left."

Go Maggie! I admire your gumption. Give 'em hell...

ChrisCicc said...

I've been waiting for this to happen to me. They set up at the Copley stop at lot, and that's the stop closest to my home. I'm curious, why did you leave instead of just walk around him? Simply say, I'm sorry, I don't have time, and continue on your way? You are right they don't have probable cause, so they cannot arrest you. What were you worried might happen?

Saul said...

Chris, the Transit Police claim that you may decline the bag search only if you then exit the station. They claim the authority to arrest you for trespassing onto MBTA property if you still proceed to enter.


Read this account of a passenger who did just that --


Of course, if you were intent on bringing contraband into the system, you could choose to board at one of the several stations with multiple entrances, and if you see a checkpoint at your intended entrance, don't even try to enter, and just walk to the other entrance. Or board at one of the Green Line surface stops that are a block apart from each other. (And I've never seen a report of a search at a surface stop.) Or board a Silver Line bus at one of the Logan terminals and be at South Station 20 minutes later.

These searches provide no added security from terrorism, and by diverting five or so transit cops away from their regular duty, I argue that these checkpoints make riders *less* safe from the more usual types of crime one is likely to encounter on the T.

Anonymous said...

The DEA owes me alot more than 435