Don’t demonize drug companies

After reading the recent article published in the BDN on what lawmakers in Augusta are doing to lower the price of drugs, I would simply urge legislators to keep in mind that, while the treatments can be expensive, these are the cures that provide hope to people like me and tens of thousands of Mainers who live with chronic diseases. They literally keep us alive.

They also keep us productive, working, and able to care for our families. When I read quotes like those from Sen. Troy Jackson calling drug companies “the anti-Christ,” my hopes disappear. It seems that Jackson and others are on a mission to punish those who research and bring new treatments to market. In the end, that will punish constituents and no one else.

There are easy ways lawmakers can lower drug costs. They need look no further than pharmacy benefit managers and the insurers they work with. Since their inception, they have made billions of dollars by pocketing money from drug company discounts instead of passing along those savings to patients.

Bringing the hammer down on drug companies will stifle innovation. That’s something we can’t afford.

My sons are in excellent health because of innovation. Family members in my life are still alive because of innovation. I feel hopeful that we have a strongly sustainable future because of the innovations found in bioscience. Other structures outside of biotechnology don’t have the current capacity to address this level of research. We must work together on the problems, not separate ourselves further.

Jill Sallade-Packard


Keep the Electoral College

When the Constitution was drafted, the Founding Fathers created the Electoral College in order to protect the small states and give them an equal say in the election of a president. In the 2016 elections, you had a candidate visit the state of Maine five times to try and get one electoral vote. Now our Legislature wants to scrape those advantages, do away with the Electoral College and go to a popular vote.

Consider this: Maine has less than a million registered voters. New York has more than 10 million and California has nearly 20 million. Do we really want Maine to have virtually no say or influence in a national election?

Let’s face the truth here. Only twice since 1900 has a candidate for president won the popular vote and lost the election because of the Electoral College. In both cases the losers were the Democrats, so now we want to change the rules. In the case of the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton’s win in the popular vote can be boiled down to an overwhelming win in the five boroughs of New York City. Do you really want Maines choice for president decided by New York City? I think not.

The Constitution and the Electoral College have served this country well for more than 250 years. There is no need to change it to fix a non-existent problem. Even if it does need to be changed, it should be done with very careful thought and deliberation, not in a rush to judgment because one side lost an election two years ago.

Timothy Grant


Honorary degrees

Some educators in Maine have been concerned that former Gov. Paul LePage might find it difficult to teach college courses in Maine or Florida because of various controversial comments and policies. A governor associated with hostility toward immigrants, especially people of color, might find his applications for jobs rejected. So, too, might a governor who dismisses teachers overall as ” a dime a dozen.”

Thankfully, the University of Maine System has strengthened LePage’s case by awarding him an honorary degree from the University of Maine at Fort Kent and by praising his contributions to public education in northern Maine. Maybe the University of Pennsylvania, President Donald Trump’s alma mater, will consider granting him an honorary degree for his contributions to education throughout the land.

Howard Segal