As we head into the heart of the political campaign season, both the Democrats and Republicans are spewing political rhetoric about the high costs of prescription drugs.
While we take heart knowing that at least Washington has noticed the problem, we aren't convinced that our leaders really want to find a cure.
Instead of tackling the disease, politicians are too busy looking to soothe our symptoms, in hopes of luring us to their side as we head to the polls on Nov. 7.
Despite repeated attempts to pass meaningful legislation, the two sides have not done anything to help solve the situation.
We can only hope that when the election season finally passes, there will be leadership to tackle the issues that combine to create ridiculously priced prescription drugs.
It will take bold leadership, because it is a very complex problem that will require a multi-pronged solution.
While consumers have every right to be upset by the current situation, we can't lose sight that we are benefiting from many new and wondrous advances in drug research. We must continue to encourage that development while we find a way to make these drugs affordable to all.
Updating the antiquated Medicare problem to provide economic relief to our seniors in need of prescriptions is just one major step.
But to truly solve the problem, our leaders will need to turn their backs on the powerful, money-laden drug industry lobby that has been pumping in record amounts of campaign contributions, as well as spending money on other lobbying efforts.
How deep are the drug companies' pockets?
According to Fortune Magazine, drug companies had pure profits of $20.2 billion in 1999, more than auto companies, oil companies, airline companies and entertainment companies.
The Center for Responsive Politics reports that drug companies gave $6.6 million to politicians in 1999. The 10 largest companies spent more than $15 million in 1999 to fight price containment and drug benefits for seniors. And between 1997 and 1998, the drug industry spent more than $150 million on lobbying efforts.
Even more amazing is that while drug companies have money to spend on lobbying efforts, they still receive tax credits and federal grants to encourage research and development.
It's time our leaders stop treating this illness with sugar pills.
Just don't expect the cure before Nov. 7.