What's in a name?

Although you and I prefer natural remedies, sometimes prescription drugs are unavoidable. If you wind up with diabetes, bacterial pneumonia or heart failure, you will probably need to take the drugs your doctors prescribe.

Which is precisely why you need to know what's going on: Nowadays, we're in the throes of a new era in prescription pricing. If you've been to the pharmacy recently you know what I'm talking about -- the prices are outrageous! Despite this fact, American consumers and their doctors stick to brand names even though the generics -- identical in every way but name -- cost 30 to 60 percent LESS.

Part of the problem is the patients. They insist on the name brand if their company is footing the bill (when they think "cost" is no object). But this is a case where the old "you get what you pay for" adage just doesn't hold up: You get just as much paying a whole lot less when you opt for the generic, since generic brands legally have to be equivalent to the expensive name-brand drug. And sometimes the generic is even better than the original drug!

Keep in mind also that some insurance providers refuse to cover the cost of a brand name drug when a generic is available, so if you or your doctor insist on the brand name, the cost will come directly from your pocket. Save yourself the hassle at the pharmacy counter: If you have to take a drug, tell your doctor you want him to prescribe the lowest price generic available. Eventually, the savings will come back to all of us -- then we can spend it on good things like steak and eggs (and a little ice cream).

Losing your right to "just say no"

The American public has now accepted forced immunization of their children, forced stripping at airports and now forced drugging -- of DOCTORS. Don't believe it?

The Federal Court of Appeals has refused a petition supported by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons to overturn the forced drugging of Charles Sell, a St. Louis dentist arrested for billing fraud in 1997. At a competency hearing two years later, the court determined that Sell was suffering from a delusional mental disease. He was subsequently hospitalized and anti-psychotic medications were administered. Sell's objections were denied, even with supporting testimony from his psychiatrist.

In March, the Court ruled that a defendant CAN be forcibly drugged even though he has not been convicted of any charges, nor has been found to be a danger to himself or others. "The stunning breadth of the decision," said attorney Andrew Schlafly, "leave few, if any, defendants free from the threat of being medicated against their will." Incredible!

The majority opinion acknowledged that "the evidence does not support a finding that Sell posed a danger to himself or others" but still found that CHARGES of fraud alone are "serious" enough to justify the forced medication. Further, the Court held that there are NO LIMITS on the quantity and type of drugs that can be used. Are you listening to this lunacy?

Now I'm no lawyer, but isn't this a blatant breach of the Fifth Amendment (the one about being forced to testify against yourself)? And what about the Fourth Amendment (the one about unreasonable searches and seizures)? Are not one's own thoughts a kind of "property?" Therefore, shouldn't a warrant be required to seize them? How do you quantify on a search warrant which thoughts are to be "searched" and which aren't?

Dr. Sell has been imprisoned for more than four years, including one and a half in solitary confinement, even though he has never been brought to trial. I thought that was the kind of thing that only happened in OTHER countries?

Welcome to the new USSA.