A Letter To Anyone Who Needs Motivation In The New Year

A Letter To Anyone Who Needs Motivation In The New Year

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”–Winston Churchill

Dear Everyone Who Has Ever Existed,

(Because we all need a boost at some point in our lives...)

With the New Year rapidly approaching, we are all suddenly very aware of all the little and big things we have to overcome with the start of a new year. We make plans, resolutions to revolutionize ourselves, and aspire to do all of those big and little things we glossed over last year. We make Pinterest boards with diets to get healthier, pay for gym memberships to get thinner, and make promises to our loved ones we know – somewhere deep down, we will not be able to keep. It is, unfortunately, the nature of the beast. We try harder to come up with ways to better ourselves and our lives within the next year than we do to actually keep up with those promises we made for ourselves. How can we call these new paths for ourselves resolutions if we do not truly work to keep them?

It is not our fault, really. As we all have heard a million times before, too often, life gets in the way. Even if we resolve to slow down and not take part in the rat race of society, we get caught up in the hustle and bustle. The giving sensation and feeling of wanting to start over from the season past thaws along with the fallen snow. Shamefully, we forget this feeling as we do keeping up with our resolutions. I find that the busier and more hectic our lives get, the less motivated we feel to do those things we wanted so badly a few months earlier. We check up on ourselves less, when really, if we want to make a change, we have to make a conscious effort to ensure we are doing all we can to make it happen.

However, you should also know that there are ways to fix your conundrum; there are ways to keep that motivation with you, not just for 2016, but for years to come. You have to be reasonable with your expectations. For instance, instead of trying to get out of debt all at once, as your New Year’s Resolution, try it in small increments. Instead of trying to lose sixty pounds within the month of January, and being disappointed all throughout February, work towards your goal in small doses. Check-off these small goals as you accomplish them – be it on paper, on your phone, or in your mind – and you won’t feel as though the larger goals are so out of reach. Do not overwork yourself. Remember the cliché about Rome not being built in a day. If you take on too much at once, only to find out it can’t all be done, of course you are going to wind up disappointed and unmotivated. Keep the inspiration going by taking on what you can, and leaving the rest up to the luck of the draw. We cannot control every little thing in our lives, and it would be impossible for anyone to expect that of us. Surround yourself with people you can touch and inspire and who can do the same for you; with people who love and admire you, and want to see you succeed. Tasks are much easier to take on when you have a caring support system behind you.

So, my unmotivated friend, I wish to tell you that you are not alone. We all experience burn-out, a lack of incentive. Anyone who says they maintained their New Year’s resolution for the entire three hundred sixty-five days is either lying to you or themselves. We are human, and it is much easier for us to put things off than it is to follow through. Do not ever feel as though you are a failure, or lazy, or like everyone else is doing so much better than you are. You have the capability of succeeding in all you do, as long as you try. Take comfort in knowing that even if you don’t, you always have someone who believes in you.

And above all else, remember:

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Drug Prices Are Higher In The United States Than Any Other Country, It's Time For The Trump Administration To Do Something About It

Where are these costs coming from?

If you have ever needed to go to the pharmacy, you may have noticed that drug prices are a big problem. If you have, you wouldn't be the only one. An analysis from Bloomberg shows that 7 of 8 top-selling drugs are more expensive in the US than in other countries, even after you take discounts into account.

So the obvious question is "where do these costs come from?" Well, many will point to the research and development of these drugs, but a quick look into that shows that idea doesn't really pan out. Looking at below chart, put together by the BBC using data from GlobalData, you can see that for many companies their profits are comparable, or even larger than their R&D spending.

World's largest pharmaceutical firms
Company Total revenue ($bn) R&D spend ($bn) Sales and marketing spend($bn) Profit ($bn) Profit margin (%)
Johnson & Johnson (US) 71.3 8.2 17.5 13.8 19
Novartis (Swiss) 58.8 9.9 14.6 9.2 16
Pfizer (US) 51.6 6.6 11.4 22.0 43
Hoffmann-La Roche (Swiss) 50.3 9.3 9.0 12.0 24
Sanofi (France) 44.4 6.3 9.1 8.5 11
Merck (US) 44.0 7.5 9.5 4.4 10
GSK (UK) 41.4 5.3 9.9 8.5 21
AstraZeneca (UK) 25.7 4.3 7.3 2.6 10
Eli Lilly (US) 23.1 5.5 5.7 4.7 20
AbbVie (US) 18.8 2.9 4.3 4.1 22
Source: GlobalData

Another contender, PBMs, or pharmacy benefits managers, never heard of them? Neither had I until I read this Washington Post article which said:

"PBMs are for-profit companies that negotiate drug price discounts on behalf of insurers and employers. They include giant companies like Express Scripts Holding and CVS Health. They make money from fees paid by insurers and employers and by taking a cut of the rebates they negotiate. Drug companies have argued that the need to give larger and larger rebates to PBMs is what’s driving up the list prices of drugs. "

The article continues with "PBMs say they typically pass along 90 percent of the savings they negotiate to customers " but then they provide this paper to show that the rebates PBMs argue for have 0 effects on drug prices.

So essentially, PBMs are middlemen, that do nothing more than bog down an already complex system, and take in money that could be passed on to the consumer, or go to making better drugs.

The Washington Post article goes on to say how the whole debate gets skewed since two people could spend very different prices on the same drug depending on their insurance plans.

And by-and-large, it is a mess, but that shouldn't stop us from trying to fix it. What it really comes down to is the fact that America's way of getting medicine to people is not as efficient as it is in other countries. In other countries, the government can negotiate with pharmaceutical companies, and if the country doesn't get a good deal, the company loses out on selling to that entire nation. But that isn't true in the US. Let alone all of the various PBMs and insurance companies, Medicare is bound by law not to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies. This, along with the all of the other players such as PBMs and all of the different insurance companies, which makes it so hard for Americans to get good drug prices.

That is without even mentioning the power pharmaceutical companies have to get consumers to spend money on their most expensive drugs. Since generic brand rugs are cheaper and equally effective, many people would prefer to use them, but of course, many people just use whatever their doctor rights in the prescription. This is why it is a big deal that pharmaceutical companies give doctors "gifts, educational grants and sponsor[ed] lectures" which the BBC describes as still "commonplace in the US". They then point to this research paper to show that "doctors in the US receiving payments from pharma companies were twice as likely to prescribe their drugs."

This would be another problem that could vanish if the government was a bigger player in buying drugs for the US.

Other solutions could be having US-made drugs which are exported to other countries (where they are sold much cheaper) be bought by Americans (something that is currently outlawed). Or have a price-cap on certain drugs. Ideas both presented in this Los Angeles Times article.

Either way, we need a solution, and since this is something that Trump has said he is going to tackle then now seems like a perfect time for something to be done.

Cover Image Credit: rawpixel.com on Unsplash

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6 books you need to read in 2018

If one of your New Year's resolutions for 2018 is to read more, check out this list for some great books.

1. The Charlotte Holmes series by Brittany Cavallaro

These books were easily 2 of my favorites that I read in 2017. Remember The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes books that you read as a kid? This series is a modern-day spin on the beloved books but with Charlotte Holmes and Jamie Watson as the great-great-great grandchildren of the original Holmes and Watson. When the 2 finally meet at their Connecticut boarding school, chaos begins to follow them as the 2 teens solve mysteries. With 2 books already in the series and the third and final one coming in March, the Charlotte Holmes series will have you wishing that you had Charlotte's wit and a best friend like Jamie.

2. Turtles All The Way Down by John Green

John Green. Need I say more? I got this book for Christmas this year and can't wait to start reading it. With reviews saying that it is one of the most accurate depictions of mental illness, this book is so important if you too are struggling and need to know that you're not alone.

3. You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero

I was 2 pages into the introduction of this book when I realized that it was modeling my life completely. If you want 2018 to be a goal setting year or if you are a human being who wants to be a better person, you need to read this book. This book is so important and helps you realize your goals and how to accomplish them effectively. Such a great read.

4. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

If you're looking for an easy-read, romance novel with a twist, My Life Next Door is definitely a book you should pick up. Unlike most romance novels that are about some impossible relationship, this book actually depicts a realistic one. Samantha and Jase are such a cute couple and Jase may be one of the best boyfriends ever depicted in a book. There's also a major twist near the end of the book that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

5. Yes Please by Amy Poehler

If you haven't already read this book yet, you definitely need to in 2018. Her life story is so relatable and honest. Plus you'll be laughing throughout every chapter of this book. All hail to Queen Leslie Knope.

6. Commencement by J Courtney Sullivan

I read this book my sophomore year of high school but after re-reading it as a freshman in college, I was able to relate so much more to it. Commencement is a story of 4 unlikely friends who meet their freshman year at Smith College and is told from their 4 different viewpoints as they continue throughout college and into the real world. I was able to recognize parts of myself in all of the main characters, especially Celia because of my Catholic upbringing. Although considered "chick-lit" this book is a great read for any girl currently trying to find themselves in college.

Cover Image Credit: marykate Mclaughlin

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