I’m NOT going to suck it up

AP News issued a warning to consumers to switch to the new kind of inhalers before the end of the year. In Understatement Of The Year Award-winning fashion, the article states that the new inhalers “tend to cost more.” If you, like me, are appalled at the FDA’s decision to ban generic production of asthma inhalers – and thereby hand a price-gouging sole production agreement (read: brand new patent for the same old drug) to three Big Pharma companies, you may be wondering what you can do with all that frustration. Weed your garden twice as fast? Curl into a victim-ball and hide in the broom closet until hell freezes over drug company execs decide they’re rich enough?

Boycott breathing?

Well, here is a plan for channeling that frustration, because feeling helpless is bad for you – and good for them. Action is the best revenge.

1) Set aside seven standard-sized business envelopes. Put them near the entryway to your home, perhaps where you leave your keys, so that you know where they are, and they’re easy to get to.

2) Write on the front of one envelope the word “inhaler receipts.” For the next twelve months, each time you pay for an inhaler (even if you only pay a co-pay), put your receipt in the receipts envelope. If you do only pay a co-pay, ask the pharmacist how much they’re charging your insurance and write that amount on the receipt before you leave the store. Your inhaler price is higher now than before and (you may notice) will rise dramatically after the start of 2009. The minute you get home, put your inhaler receipt in your labelled receipts envelope. This envelope is documentation for the class-action lawsuit that is undoubtedly coming. You will be able to prove how many inhalers you needed and how much they gouged you cost.

3) Each time you finish an inhaler, put one empty cannister in one of the remaining six business-sized envelopes (it should just fit). Also put inside a printed out, signed copy of the letter located in Doc Gurley pages, titled “I’m Not Going To Suck It Up.” Change (or delete) this letter as you wish prior to printing, or just scribble a rant at the end. All together, one sheet of printed paper and one empty cannister should weigh about 2 ounces. Mail your empty inhaler + letter to the senator in charge of oversight of the FDA, whose address is listed on the same Doc Gurley page.

4) Each cannister/letter combo will cost you (at this time) 0.59$ to mail. If you want to make this as easy as possible for yourself, put two “Forever” 0.42$ stamps on each envelope and address them now, in advance. Then you just shove inhaler cannister and letter inside, seal and put in the outbox. Otherwise, you can take each letter in to the post office and weight/stamp/mail it. If you use more than one inhaler a month, that may be your best alternative.

5) Email a link to this post to everyone you know, asking them to also mail a signed, printed out copy of the Doc Gurley letter. If stamped letters seem like too much effort, encourage an email campaign with the body of the Doc Gurley message pasted inside. Maybe you can get your non-asthmatic friends and family to also mail a printed protest letter a month.

6) When one office in Congress gets swamped with a small portion of the 52 million inhaler cannisters (used by 17 million people) a year, someone might start to notice that people are (ahem) a bit irate about being the victims of this FDA monopolistic decision.

Have more ideas? Ways to make a campaign more effective? Post them in the comments section.

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