From AARP’s perspective, ageism is the scourge of youthful, millennial to pre-middle aged folks. Often in advertising, TV programming, human resources or supervisory/managerial roles the younger ones assume boomers and beyond are of no value. They mock their elders’ supposed lack of understanding of technology with ads like the one about the woman putting up her photos on her actual, not virtual, wall. They expect that the older folks’ creative juices have evaporated, that the boomers and up are set in their ways and should be let go as soon as possible or at least not promoted. But it came to me the other day, looking at Ronan Farrow on MSNBC, that ageism can run in the opposite direction. He just looks WAY TOO young to know anything of consequence or be capable of passing along any sensible information. Oh sure, he no doubt has a good grasp of the newest apps for smart phones and tablets. Probably has the scoop on what’s trending on Twitter and other social media, knows the best clubs to hit, etc. But anchor his own show on MSNBC? Seriously! In fact, it does seem he is well educated and intelligent—graduating from Bard College at 15, getting a Yale Law degree and attended Magdalen College of Oxford—all before his current age of 26. I won’t hold it against him that he is the son of Mia Farrow and either Woody Allen or Frank Sinatra; nobody, including his mother apparently knows for sure. Of course, I knew plenty when I was 26—just not enough to know what I wanted to do with myself until five years later. Oh well. Still, education is no substitute for life experience. Ronan is STILL too young to have his own show; even if he does have a pretty face, I change the channel when he shows up.
In an article in May AARP Bulletin, two professors detail the overpricing of cancer drugs (11 of 12 new drugs approved in 2012 costing over $100,000 annually) and debunk specious claims made by drug companies to justify the cost. According to the authors [see below for their names and bios],
“Why are companies charging so much? In one breath they say high prices reflect high research costs, and in the next they say prices reflect the added benefits of curing or controlling cancer.”
As to added benefits, the article notes that only 1 of the 12 drugs helps patients survive more than two months longer. The writers go on to painstakingly slice and dice the research cost claims ($1.3 billion to develop a new drug and get it approved) winding up with the conclusion,
“Removing that inflated estimate for basic research costs brings the net, median corporate research costs down to just $125 million developing drugs.”
Given that this reduced estimate is less than 10% of the inflated cost claim that the pharmaceutical industry claims, it seems obvious, if the article writer’s analysis is sound, patients, insurers (including Medicare) are being vastly overcharged. Which the authors point out is an overwhelming justification to permit Medicare to negotiate prices for drugs–rather than the industry protecting prohibition that Congress has imposed.
The article writers are: Donald Light, network fellow at Harvard University’s E.J. Safra Center for Ethics and a professor at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine and Hagop Kantarjian, professor and chair of the Department of Leukemia at MD Anderson Cancer Center.