We’re Talkin’ Real Money
Elizabeth Marro’s article (“Hi, Connie. We’re Ready for You,” Cover Story, November 13) is interesting for me as she earlier worked in pharmaceutical marketing. The article reports the figure of $55,000,000 spent by the pharmaceutical industry in 2006 on research and development. She suggests that the amount has grown in recent years as the pharmaceutical companies have taken on more R&D. May the reader be informed that $55,000,000 in the pharms budget is a mere pittance.
Secondly, be aware that PhRMA, the national association of pharmaceutical companies, spends the bulk of their funds on marketing. For the most part they market drugs while academia and the NIH do the R&D.
Thirdly, in recent years PhRMA and associates provided $53,000,000,000 worth of free drug samples to physicians! Yes, billions! That figure does not include the $5,500,000,000 paid a year to the drug salespeople who deliver those samples. Now that is real money. One major result of their marketing practices is the continued excessively high cost of prescription drugs.
R. Larry Schmitt, M.D.
Elizabeth Marro responds: The article should have said that the pharmaceutical industry spends a reported $55 billion per year on research and development.
A New F-Word Record
Thank you but no thank you for Mr. Duncan Shepherd’s review of Pride and Glory (November 13). I counted 19 F-words in that review. He’s a journalist? Give me a break.
Hello. Hello? Hello?
Can you tell me a little bit more about the 700-7000 telephone number that you mentioned in the article “The Border Wait, and Wait, and Wait,” by Dorian Hargrove (“City Lights,” November 13). I do research that often involves trying to determine border-wait times and have not heard of this number before. I tried calling it, but I’m thinking it may be a Baja number. The 619 area code doesn’t seem to work with it. Any info you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
Tracy L. Manzo
Dorian Hargrove responds: San Diegans can hear the Customs and Border Protection’s advisory on current traffic at the San Ysidro Port of Entry by calling 619-690-8999.
The Epoxy Solution
This is regarding the November 13 issue. Ollie (“Remote Control King”), our coffee table is one side of an old cable spool epoxied onto half of a fish barrel that exactly fits into the spool top’s groove. After 40 years of the top flipping off, I finally got the bright idea of the epoxy. It never did wobble, and now it doesn’t fall apart either.
Second half is to John Brizzolara (“T.G.I.F.”). Stuff is just stuff, no matter how dear. We’ll all be dust soon enough or glorious beings of energy. I love your writing and hope you continue to write for many years.
Dale Anne Thompson
Just a note of approval for the delightful weekly comic strip from Ben Katchor (Shoehorn Technique). My fingers are crossed as I flip through the back pages, and then, lo and behold, there is yet another episode. Bless you for sharing my sense of humor.