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Simitian's proposed law seeks to boost medicine donations

Original post made on Feb 24, 2012

Hospitals, psychiatric-care facilities and other health care centers would have greater leeway to donate unused medicine and medical supplies to residents who can't afford them under legislation proposed this week by Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, February 24, 2012, 3:31 PM

Comments (11)

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Posted by Not-So-Fast-Joe!
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 24, 2012 at 5:23 pm


Since there is a cost to everything, what are doctors/hospitals doing with the medicines that expire now? Book dealers often have agreements with distributors to allpw them to sell back books that sit on the shelf too long, and reach their "expiration date". It's up to the distributors/publishers as to what to do with the returns. So, do doctors/hospitals have a similar arrangement with their suppliers? If not, why not?

The point to this question is clear: if doctors/hospitals are throwing away expired medicines, then these costs are being passed along to those actually paying the bills (which not everyone does). The proposal of Simitian's seems to be a similar pass-thru from the paying customers to those who don't want to pay.

While only the pharmaceutical companies can provide any insight into whether the returns might have any value to them, without that input—this seems like another way for the government to effectively help to hide the true costs of health care.

And if these medicines are truly expired, how can they legally be given to people? And if something goes wrong, and someone ends up injured/dead because of mishandling of these medicines after they leave the doctors' offices/hospitals—who is going to be legally responsible? You can make certain Simitian won't be responsible—and it's very likely he will be one of the first people to blame the doctors/hospitals that have given away these medicines because of his interference in the health care system.

Maybe this is a good idea, and maybe it isn't. However, Joe Simitian is the last person people should trust with their health issues.


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Posted by what the
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Feb 24, 2012 at 6:12 pm

"Maybe this is a good idea, and maybe it isn't. However, Joe Simitian is the last person people should trust with their health issues."

And maybe, with all your questions showing the depth of ignorance of many facets of your discussion, I don't have a clue what you are suggesting.

Try researching your questions before calling b******* on our eleccted officials.

"what are doctors/hospitals doing with the medicines that expire now?So, do doctors/hospitals have a similar arrangement with their suppliers? If not, why not?And if these medicines are truly expired, how can they legally be given to people?And if something goes wrong, and someone ends up injured/dead because of mishandling of these medicines after they leave the doctors' offices/hospitals—who is going to be legally responsible?"

Maybe this is a good idea, and maybe it isn't. Maybe you have a clue, maybe you don't.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 24, 2012 at 6:14 pm

When will Joe Simitian take some leadership on the big issues:

- Killing High Speed Rail
- The ridiculous ABAG housing allocations
- Government work pensions
- State Budget Deficit

He's had 12 years in Sacramento.


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Posted by Not-So-Fast-Joe!
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 24, 2012 at 9:54 pm

> And maybe, with all your questions showing the depth of ignorance
> of many facets of your discussion, I don't have a clue what you
> are suggesting.

This poster is correct.. there are a lot of questions about this Simitian proposed plan..and they need answering.

The Weekly didn't seem to have any idea that these sorts of questions needed to be asked, and neither did the person who also didn't seem to understand the need, or have any information to add... other than to repeat the questions.

> According to Simitian, more than $9 billion in unused
> medicine and supplies is wasted annually in the United States
> even as more Americans find it difficult to afford
> prescription drugs.

Let's start with this claim of Simitian's. How does a hack politician have the slightest idea how much medicine is unused in the US? Why didn't he at least reveal his source? Or is he making this up?

According to any number of sources, there is a high amount of waste in medical spending in the US--perhaps as much as $150-$250B a year:

Web Link

So .. reducing this $8B number significantly would be a good start on reducing this scandalous situation that has developed with the Federal Government's being involved in medical funding.

But what about locally? Does Simitian have any idea how much waste there is in the disposal of "unused" medicines? What good is a nation-wide estimate to California taxpayers?

The question arises, of course, why is all of this medicine being ordered, without a clear use--particularly if it has a limited life time? Better to be rethinking the ordering of medicines, rather than trying to figure out how to give the unused materials away.

And what knowledge does Simitian have that medicines are being poured in the water supply? There "oughta be a law" about that, shouldn't there?

All-in-all .. there are a lot of questions to be answered here!

Oh .. and by-the-way .. elected officials are not beyond the realm of criticism. Particularly this guy, who has voted year after year in such a way that California has an almost perpetual deficit of $20B-$25B, and he has yet to say anything other than "More Taxes, More Taxes!"


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Posted by Stan
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Feb 24, 2012 at 10:03 pm

common sense is spot on, this is yet another bit of Simitian nanny legislation that makes for a nice PR puff piece, and little else. Compared to the hundreds of billions at stake with HSR, ridiculous costly mandates from ABAG, billions in underfunded pension liabilities, and many other costly problems Sacramento is supposed to be dealing with, this is what we get from our veteran Senator?


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Posted by what the
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Feb 24, 2012 at 10:05 pm

Give me a break: "a hack politician"

No bias here. Hah!

"Let's start with this claim of Simitian's. How does a hack politician have the slightest idea how much medicine is unused in the US? Why didn't he at least reveal his source?"

I found it in (0.32 seconds)

About 57,000 results

There's this thing called Google. I know a third of a second is too long for you. You'd rather ask a bunch of inanely worded questions rather than search for an answer.

"Supporting Initiatives to Redistribute Unused Medicine (SIRUM) is a social enterprise started by Stanford University students to decrease the amount of medicine and medical supplies that go to waste by redistributing unused, non-expired drugs to free and low cost medical clinics. The organization is founded on the fact that over $9 billion worth of usable medicine goes to waste each year in the United States,[1] yet many clinics that provide care to underserved communities depend on medical donations."

Is the SIRUM wiki credible? Don't know. But credible enough to start with, rather than going around calling someone a hack.

Why don't you call his office on Monday?

Be sure to remind them you said that Joe's a hack.

Or call SIRUM.

Or keep posting questions hoping someone else will do your research for you.

Seriously, try it yourself.

It's spelled g-o-o-g-l-e

don't forget the ".com"


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 24, 2012 at 10:14 pm

This sounds like a great idea, but verifying and managing all that medicine knowing the dates on them, making sure they were not put in the wrong containers, stuff like that and legal liability, I don't think this would work. I am open to being convinced, but right now I just do not see it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by what the
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Feb 24, 2012 at 10:24 pm

Anon:

I actually thought that as well. Would have been much more difficult a decade ago, but today's inventory and supply chain models make a lot of things like this more feasible than ever.

Spending the third of a second to find the basics for not-so-likable, it seems like a noble effort.

Web Link

Web Link

The other posters who seem to think there are more important issues, well, perhaps they're correct about that. I'm sure Joe and his staff are capable of working more than one thing at a time. I'm not so sure those posters are going to be in favor of his politics on those listed issues, however. Just a guess.

From the hints given: hack, nanny, etc...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by what the
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Feb 24, 2012 at 10:26 pm

"nice PR puff piece"

Unless you happen to be someone benefiting from otherwise unaffordable medicine.

Ever walk a mile in another man's shoes?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by observer
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 25, 2012 at 10:45 am

I believe the frustration with Simitian, and most of his Sacramento colleagues, has nothing to do with trying help people who can't afford prescription drugs. I don't think any posters wish needy people ill will. However, it seems that the only legislation coming out of Sacramento are small bills, which in the grand scheme of the myriad of problems in California, do nothing to address these larger problems. High Speed rail, underfunded pensions, neglected infrastructure are but a few of the problems confronting this state that Scaramento either can not, or will not, deal with, and for better or worse, that reflects directly on Simitian. These smaller bills seem to be just about the only things the slip through. A sad state of affairs.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 26, 2012 at 3:50 am

This is so unreal it's pathetic. It is certainly a good thing to dicuss and kick around, but when my Mother moved from one nursing home to another they had to toss all the medication that she had paid for because they cannot verify it.

If something was bad, ineffective, label wrong it would be up to them to be liable.

It is a nice pipe dream, but once something leaves the original pharmacy there is no information on what happens to it.

The problem is that a lot of medication is making it into water and landfills so the immediate answer is to have a medical waste drop-off location like a battery drop-off center.

Another possiblity is to individually wrap and label every single pill and how much would that cost?


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