Generic drug costs

According to 60 Minutes this Sunday (May 12), there are 1,215 supposed generic drugs that have jumped in price more than 400 percent.  This was stated by the state Attorney General William Tong of Connecticut. His state and 39 others have filed suit over it. You can find details online under cbsnews.com, “Sweeping lawsuit accuses top generic drug companies, executives of fixing prices.”
 
Many drugs jumped this much (400 percent) in price in a single year. According to Tong, if you use Pravastatin, a cholesterol drug, it’s up more than 500 percent; albuterol sulfate, over 4,000 percent. These are two examples.
 
So the next time you’re asked to choose between affordable housing and a park, remember the trolls in Congress who passed laws at the behest of the drug and healthcare industry that forces you to choose between drugs and housing or drugs and food.  You can pull up a search engine and easily find which Congresspersons received the most money from the drug and healthcare industry. One source is “OpenSecrets.org,” Center for Responsible politics.
 
In the order listed, here’s the first few: Bob Casey, D-Pa., $537,983; Greg Walden, R-Ore., $452,200; Kevin McCarthy R-Calif., $387,050. There are many more listed who think it’s just fine to prostitute themselves to the drug companies and show a complete disregard for your children’s education, a place to live or affordable healthcare.
 
Personally, I believe there’s plenty of room for the entire bunch in NORCOR.
 
Rob Brostoff
Cascade Locks
 
Questions
 
Why would the same people want to make guns ubiquitous, abortions illegal and corporations all-powerful? Why do they tend to be sexist and racist? What is fascism?
 
David Warnock
Hood River
 
Lives matter, guns don’t
 
I am a graduating senior at Hood River Valley High School. I am tired of seeing school shootings. The government accepts the blowback as they sit in their high-rise apartments. I am tired of seeing elected officials taking donations from the NRA and putting the safety of kids on the back burner. Young kids are advocating for gun laws, but yet nothing has happened.
 
Kids are scared of going to school, kids are carrying Kevlar inserts in their backpack. The breaking news this week included more students dead and still hospitalized after being wounded in last week’s school shooting in Colorado. When this hits the headlines, the bystander effect is spread throughout the government, but there is no real action taken. Officials receive the kick back and they ignore the blowback. But yet, nothing has happened.
 
People want change so their kids can be safe.
 
Through my years at Hood River Valley High School, I have seen more lockdowns and more safety measures, including a campus resource officer. We just want to be safe and get an education; parents don’t send their kids to school to get gunned down. We should be saving time to talk about gun control, but it is pushed back for a later date. We should be protecting kids with more school resource officers. As a country, we need deep background checks and more restrictions on semi-automatic weapons. Responsible gun owner: We are trying to act like we pass regulations, but we haven’t.
 
I want to see change. I’m tired of seeing my fellow students shot down. Guns don’t matter, lives do. The harsh reality is that we can stop it, but we don’t.
 
Jonathan Jones
Parkdale
 
Stuck in limbo
 
I speak on behalf of the state inspector who remains in limbo after being suspended from her work with childcare providers in Hood River County and other counties in Oregon. She has been linked with the case involving three women charged in the death of an infant in their Hood River childcare facility a year ago. The trial date has been pushed to later this summer from earlier dates in winter and spring.
 
I have worked with this inspector nearly 29 years in my career as a childcare provider. When I first started, she and a partner owned a childcare center in Hood River. This was a time when women were still “babysitting” for a dollar an hour per child in their homes. Oregon was just beginning to develop a system for the health and safety of children in childcare settings. This inspector has been involved in helping develop our system at every step. She is respected for her collaborative efforts with providers and administrators, as well as inspections of registered or certified childcare homes and centers.
 
I imagine her work as an inspector, driving rural Oregon, finding the different locations and situations where children have been cared for while their parents are at their jobs. Not all of those sites were pleasant or safe. One of her roles was to make connection with people suspicious of interference. She had to find a way to engage, encourage, improve situations or to shut down operations that did not comply with the growing requirements.
 
Now, as she nears the end of this career, she must endure waiting, wondering when, or if, she can go back to her work. There is no celebration of what she has accomplished, just an unclear account out in the communities of what her link might be to that tragedy.
 
I do not have all the facts of this case, but I do know this: She has been a strong, no-nonsense advocate for children’s health and wellbeing all the years I have known her. She deserves a fair, timely resolution in the Hood River legal system, as her life and work are on hold. She deserves recognition from Oregonians for her work towards a more professional, better quality environment for our children.
 
Karen Harding
Mt. Hood
 
Editor’s note: Julia Smith was indicted on charges of official misconduct for failing to enforce state childcare regulations, and for operating a childcare facility, Mama Shell’s, without certification from May-December 2017. Her indictment coincided with the indictments of Debra and Rochelle Jones and Donna Pilcher on charges relating to the death of four-month-old Cyrus Macioroski at Mama Shell’s in May 2018. Smith’s involvement in the oversight of Mama Shell’s is unknown. Her employer, the Oregon Department of Education, placed her on leave immediately following her indictment in October 2018 and released the following statement: “We are concerned by these developments, are deeply committed to child safety and have started our own personal investigation into this matter.” The trial date for Debra Jones and Donna Pilcher is currently set for 11:30 a.m. on July 8.
 
Birds at Morrison Park
 
Early Saturday morning, I joined other members of The Larks, a Gorge-wide birding group, at Morrison Park to do a bird survey. The crisp morning air carried bird sounds such as a pair of downy woodpeckers doing a drum roll on a stunning snag, and the splash of a pair of mallards who found the water supply critical for nesting. A tiny Anna’s hummingbird perched atop another tree like an ornament. Our eyes feasted on the uniqueness of the old-growth oak habitat enhanced by a stream that provide a home for wildlife.
 
It was also with a sense of sadness that we walked the park that day. The park is on the endangered list as well, given the plan to develop it for housing. I’m saddened that folks who would ordinarily be allies find themselves in opposition here. I admire and count John Boonstra as a friend and know his deep commitment to caring for people — especially those who are marginalized and know he is a man who believes our planet is endangered. Morrison Park contains lungs breathing to help support us, lungs the size and shape of those massive and rare oak trees. If these are cut down for development, they are irreplaceable in our lifetimes and perhaps the lifetime of the planet. Is there not a table where committed and passionate people can sit together and talk about real compromise?
 
Given the county is closing parks due to lack of funds for upkeep, these urban spaces become even more important. I agree with Polly Wood in supporting Jeff Hunter, Mike McCarthy and Peter Cornelison for the parks department. 
I will end with a partial list of birds seen there Saturday or in the last three years: Mallard, California Quail, Vaux’s Swift, Anna’s Hummingbird , Downy Woodpecker pair, Northern Flicker, Western Wood-Pewee, Violet-green Swallow, Western Tanager, Spotted Towhee, Warbling vireo, Nashville Warbler, Black-capped Chickadee, Bullock’s Oriole, Red-tailed hawk, American Goldfinch, Yellow-rumped warbler, Red-breasted nuthatch, White-breasted nuthatch, Ruby-crowned kinglet, Dark-eyed junco, Cooper’s hawk, Violet-green swallow, American Robins (nesting), Song sparrow, House sparrow.
 
Shannon Perry
Hood River
 
Breach Snake River dams
 
Can we save Snake River salmon runs? That question is linked to this one: Can we save Bonneville Power Administration? And: Does it make sense to breach the Lower Snake River (LSR) dams to save both?
Under average river flows, the Pacific Northwest has an estimated 24 percent energy surplus. Under what Bonneville Power Administration considers “critical water conditions,” that is, the past 100-years’ lowest water levels. Surplus
Pacific Northwest energy sits at 17 percent.
 
In part due to having to sell that surplus power at ever lower prices, even at a loss, BPA Administrator Elliot Mainzer has recently acknowledged that BPA is financially in crisis.
 
The Corps of Engineers says the lower Snake dam turbines have a life expectancy of 35 to 45 years. By 2030, nine of the LSR turbines will be over 60 years old, and 12 others 50-60 years old. Cost of rehabs of all the turbines: Over $1 billion. Since the LSR dams only produce 3 to 4 percent of total Pacific Northwest energy, midst a surplus of at least 17 to 24 percent, the LSR dam’s 3-4 percent is already unneeded — it’s surplus energy.
Shedding itself of these four dams could very well save, not only fish, but BPA from “extinction.”
 
Luan Pinson
Vancouver
 
Approval ratings
 
Last week, it was reported that President Trump’s approval rating was at 46 percent, his high point to date. Then they pulled some number regarding President Bush and President Obama showing higher numbers. Doing my own fact checking, Gallup showed President Trump’s approval number at 46 percent on day 830 into his presidency (which is now). Looking back at President Obama (same Gallup polling), his approval rating two years into his first term (day 831) was 44 percent. Huh?
 
Reviewing the news one would think no one likes any of the things he (Trump) has been doing. One year into the presidency, President Obama was at 50 percent approval (day 362) and President Trump was at 39 percent (day 345). President Obama trended down; President Trump is trending up. Maybe some recognition that there have been accomplishments.
 
It was also reported that unemployment through April is 3.6 percent, the lowest in 50 years; yes, business has been good, but it certainly making it harder to find staff. Initially, I never was much of a Trump supporter. I view myself as fiscally conservative and culturally liberal. But the hypocrisy of the left and Democrats in general has really been a disappointment. Like it or not, at least President Trump is working to complete his campaign promises. Can
you say that about your congressional representative?
 
Meanwhile, at the Congressional level, approval is at 20 percent. This tells me where we really should be protesting. I played this game called “kick the can” when I was a kid. It seems that many in Washington have not out-grown it and must still enjoy it.
 
Steven Nybroten
White Salmon
 
Editor’s note: The referenced Gallup poll showed President Obama’s approval rating was both consistently higher month-month and on average. The following weeks for each president, day 842, showed Obama’s approval rise to 49 percent and Trump’s fall to 42 percent.

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