Dr. Marc regularly answers readers’ questions on matters relating to medicine, healthcare and politics. To send a query, click here.
My right eyelid twitches on an irregular but steady basis. Is this anything to worry about? Or is it just age and the worries of the world?
EDEN ROSS LIPSON
New York City
It sounds like too much worry and too much coffee. Age is not really a factor, though I suppose the loosening of tissue makes it slightly more prone to twitch. Eyelid twitching is a very common stress-related feature, frequently induced by caffeine.
Prescription drugs cost more in the United States than elsewhere. Why then, are pharmaceutical companies allowed to advertise prescription drugs on television? The federal government has banned tobacco-product advertising on television, and networks have maintained their own ban on distilled spirits. Is the pharmaceutical-industry lobby just too strong?
Yes, the lobby is strong, and the industry tries to hide info about its true costs under the banner of research and development. In reality though, much of the justification for R&D costs is generated by the needs entailed in corporate competition (see “Fighting the Drug (Ad) Wars,” The Nation, June 17, 2002). I agree that this sort of advertising should be restricted, especially as it provides distorted information and is the basis for an outrageous price-scale. And even more important, we need a nationwide grassroots movement that can put pressure on politicians to curb the drug industry’s ability to influence federal legislation.
Why are the people who are against letting us keep our own money constantly distorting the facts about the tax cut? Everybody who pays taxes gets the same percent tax cut. If I make $60,000 and you make $500,000, then obviously you’re going get back more than me, but that’s because you paid in more than me. I’m a psychologist, and my diagnosis of these people who keep saying the tax cut is for the rich is either that they’re habitual liars or they have no clue what they’re talking about. Which do you think it is?
The exact economics may be beyond me, but I suspect neither one of us will be saving a dime on this tax cut. I guess that’s a way of saying I disagree with you. In the way I learned mathematics, which was then applied to my physics courses and later to medicine, if you spend $100 billion or more in an unnecessary war, and then you cut taxes, there is going to be very little money left for your budget. I think your type of thinking is why our healthcare system is also in such profoundly bad shape. And that’s a subject I’m prepared and qualified to talk about.