Their way is not our way

A visitor preparing to head back home after the NCAA Tournament took time to call the newspaper. “I was prepared for the beauty of the area, the pleasant weather, the vivid night life, and the friendliness of the people,” he said, “but I had no idea the people of Central Arkansas could be so tolerant and forgiving of the Texas Longhorns and their obnoxious fans, especially after that jerk of a coach popped off. I figured you’d be letting the air out of their tires, throwing stuff at them … treating them like they deserved.”


We had to smile. “Little Rock is not Austin,” we told him.

Had the Razorbacks been playing in Texas, they and their fans would indeed have been subjected to insults and harassment. That is Texans’ nature, just as it is Arkansans’ nature to repay evil with good. We are all as God made us, and no doubt the NCAA took the qualities of the natives into account when choosing sites for tournament games.


The NCAA will come back to Central Arkansas one day, and Central Arkansas will again welcome players and fans warmly, even Texas if they’re in the field. Though we wouldn’t object if some other part of the country was allowed to make the Longhorns’ acquaintance.

Marketing over research


Every time we turn on the television, we’re hammered by commercials saying what swell fellows the drug companies are, and how grateful Americans should be for all the money the companies spend on research. Now two Canadian physicians have done some research of their own, and found that the U.S. pharmaceutical industry spends almost twice as much on promotion of drugs (including those TV commercials) as on research and development. Using 2004 data, the latest available, the researchers estimated that the pharmaceutical industry spent $57.5 billion that year on marketing, including direct-to-consumer advertising, drug samples given to physicians, and medical meetings sponsored by the drug companies. And the research didn’t even cover other marketing activities (because of lack of data), such as the payments made to journalists to ghost-write drug-favorable articles that are published under the names of real researchers. That same year, the companies spent $31.5 billion on research and development of drugs.

The pharmaceutical industry says that negotiated or controlled drug prices would stifle their research. And so the companies are protected from competition, Medicare is not allowed to sign a contract with a low bidder — not allowed, in other words, to follow a business practice that works quite well for Wal-Mart. The new study shows that it’s not research that the drug companies spend the most money on. Far from it.