This is personal. You all know by now my struggles with both cataracts and glaucoma, and the miracle that occurred once I got early entry to Medicare and was able to get them treated. And that personal experience has infuriated me by an action taken by a Big Pharma company making a move to do nothing more than rip people off.

When I had the surgery, I had two choices. I could either choose to tighten up my far vision, allowing me to make out images more than 8 feet away, or I could opt to tighten my close in vision, to make reading and television watching easier. I like to walk whenever possible, and ride quite a bit in the car with Teri, so we chose to tighten up the far vision.

It was a miracle. I can walk with more confidence, and when I ride in the car, I can look out the window and clearly discern trees, fences and walls, buildings, doors and windows, and other cars. I wouldn’t change my choice for the world.

And so, it was with great interest a couple of months ago, when both Teri and I saw an ad on television for a prescription drug called Truity. The drug claims to tighten the close in vision for patients with one drop a day in each eye. This sounded like pennies from heaven to me. After all, my far vision was as good as it’s going to get, and I’m happy. Nut a prescription eye drop that taken once a day would tighten my near vision? Where do I sign up?

A few weeks ago, I had an appointment with my ophthalmologist for my six month check up after surgery. And after the tests and the examination were complete, I asked him about it. And while he was too polite to interrupt me, from the moment Dr K heard the name of the medication, he started shaking his head. And when I finished speaking, he said something that astounded me. It went something like;

I know the medication you’re talking about, and I’m sorry, but it won’t work. It’s meant for people in their mid 30’s to mid 40’s who are noticing a normal degeneration in their near vision, but for whatever personal reasons don’t want to wear glasses or cheaters. Vuity has been on the market for more than 40 years now, with a 1% active ingredient, you could get it off the shelf for about $3 a bottle. But the pharma company raised the rate of the active ingredient to 1.5%, and that made it a prescription drug, which allows them to charge $60-80 a bottle for the same stuff.

And my mouth hung open in shock. In what parallel universe does a drug company spend 40 years marketing an over the counter drug, and then turn around, raise the active ingredient by 0.25%, and then charge a 300-400% markup for the same goddamn medication! This is absolutely ridiculous!

Elizabeth Warren is right, it is far past time for congress to completely overhaul how Big Pharma is regulated. Go ahead, call me stupid, but I can’t help but feel that Vuity is the first former over-the-counter drug whose manufacturer made a couture change to turn it into  a prescription drug, and then jack the shit out of the price of it in order to take advantage of Medicare and health insurance payments for the same lame shit. This is out of control.


In the article, I accidentally misnamed the medication as Truity. In fact, the correct spelling of the product is Vuity. My apologies for the error.


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