It's A Little Sad Opening Up The Mailbag These Days.

Of course these days "opening up the mailbag" means "checking your email" which means "glancing down at your Blackberry." And ever since my latest column in Drug Topics about Walgreen's POWER program appeared a few days ago, it seems like every time I glance down at the Blackberry there's another message from a Walgreen's pharmacist telling the same story.

We're too rushed.

I can't keep up.

They're breaking me.

It's not safe.

It's getting worse.

I read a tale today that absolutely made my hair curl, but I won't share it with you. Walgreen's is big and bad and has all the resources a multi billion dollar cash flow can put at their disposal you see, and while I'm not particularly worried about what they could do to me, I decided it's not worth risking what they might do to some poor schlep who's just trying to feed his family and needed a shoulder to cry on. Walgreen's was not amused at the appearance of the letter from one of their pharmacists that started all this, and I'm still not sure of the exact contents of the conversation they had with Drug Topics' editor.

So words that would have appeared on this page never will. Perhaps if I really wanted to share them I would go to your doctor and buy his prescription records.

That last sentence wasn't the nightly scotch kicking in. It seems as if we have a little different definition of free speech rights these days than you might remember from civics class. From yesterday's Los Angeles Times:

A Vermont law bans pharmacies from selling doctors' confidential prescription records to drug makers. Firms say they have a free-speech right to buy and sell information to market their products.

At issue is whether states can forbid pharmacies from selling to drug makers the confidential prescription records of physicians. Armed with this information, drug company salesmen have targeted doctors who are not prescribing new and costly brand-name drugs. 
A Vermont state lawyer, backed by the Obama administration, argued that no one had a 1st Amendment right to this "inside information." 
But Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said the state was "censoring" the message of the drug company salespeople.

Thank God. If only someone would have stopped Hitler when he cut off Bayer's access to medical records in the Third Reich. I basked in the glow that surely must have been the smiles of the founding fathers beaming down from heaven as I read this story.

Then I deleted what was going to be my original post about Walgreen's. That is the state of free speech in turn of the 21st century America. Words are stopped and your prescription records are sold. And although the words "freedom of speech" appear clearly in the Constitution and the word "corporation" never does, it doesn't matter.

Because they are breaking you.

And it's getting worse.
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It's A Little Sad Opening Up The Mailbag These Days.
It's A Little Sad Opening Up The Mailbag These Days.
Reviewed by malaria
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