- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 20, 2000


Al Gore's contempt for the truth and for the voters he lies to almost constantly was in evidence Monday, when he manufactured a confection of flapdoodle about the cost of prescription drugs and served it up to an audience in Florida.
Mr. Gore, as reported by this newspaper's Dave Boyer and Sean Scully, made up not just an isolated factoid or two but rather a whole story about an arthritis medication called Lodine, its costs, how his poor sainted mother-in-law uses and pays for the drug even an utterly bogus comparative aside about arthritis medicine costing less per dose for his dog than for his mother-in-law, Margaret Ann Aitcheson.
The vice president has a well-deserved reputation for spinning good yarns, having previously claimed to have invented the Internet, discovered the toxic waste problem at Love Canal, and served with wife Tipper as role models for Erich Segal's book, "Love Story." Mr. Segal has said several times he has no idea what in the world Mr. Gore is talking about and Mr. Gore's claims about Love Canal and the Internet have fared no better.
"This certainly underscores the fact that the vice president will say anything to get elected," Bush campaign spokesman Karen Hughes said. Gore spokesman Jano Cabrera responded, "The only one who's inventing facts here are the Bush campaign. The facts are that Miss Aitcheson is prescribed Lodine." Of course, that one solitary fact is not what's in dispute. Mr. Cabrera did not address the truthfulness of the vice president's outlying story whether his mother-in-law does, in fact, pay for the drug herself or whether insurance takes care of the bill; how much the drug actually costs and whether the dog's medicine really costs less.
The Gores' black Labrador retriever, Shiloh, takes a canine version of Lodine, but the cost of the medication appears to have been pulled out of thin air. The figures cited by Mr. Gore $108 monthly for his mother-in-law, $37.80 for the Lab did not reflect the actual costs borne by the Gores but were instead numbers "borrowed" from a House Democratic study on rising prescription drug prices. Messrs. Boyer and Scully quoted Mr. Cabrera, the Gore spokesman, as conceding that neither he, nor Mr. Gore, apparently, know what the actual costs are for either the dog or Mr. Gore's mother-in-law. "I'm not sure exactly what levels she takes or Shiloh takes," he admitted.
Another significant fact left aside by Mr. Gore is that any comparison of the costs of human vs. animal medications is inherently stilted because of the much more complex testing and clinical trials required of drugs for humans as opposed to those used on animals. As reported by Messrs. Boyer and Scully, it takes between 12 and 15 years and about $500 million to develop and bring to market a drug for humans, whereas animal-only drugs require a mere $20 million in research and development costs.
But hey, these are only piddly little facts, and those are of secondary importance when you "care" about the health care costs of seniors and have a "plan" to help them.

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