Medicine firm earned every penny

In response to Lyle Swallows' letter, "Good Work, But Too Expensive," in the Jan. 9 Opinion page where he stated, "There is simply no justification whatsoever for this level of corporate greed," I see no "shame on Gilead."

They have created a new treatment for hepatitis C at a lower cost. I should think the patients taking this drug will be more than happy to take less medication daily. Also, remember patients will no longer have to take drugs for a lifetime in combinations that cause mild to severe side effects.

I wonder if Lyle would be willing to invest his money in helping others with this or other diseases? If he would, does he expect to get his money back? If so, would he want a return equal to taking the chance his money would be invested for several years with no guarantee of a return because of clinical trial failures, FDA regulations or other changes in therapies? Does Lyle think all the doctors, nurses, pharmacists, researchers and others would do all the training for little or no financial gains?

Does he think all new products make it to market? What does Lyle say to the high prices of new antibiotics, cholesterol lowering agents, MRI's, CT scanners, artificial hearts and so on? Look at the generic prices of these products now and how they have helped millions of people. Would you rather get your medical therapy in Russia, England, China or Africa? What are their recent medical contributions to the world? Left to them we would still be chewing on roots and leaves, but it would be cheaper!

Joe Wilder

Livermore

Remove life support if miracle due

I feel extreme sadness for Jahi McMath. Deceased bodies can move. Have you ever personally witnessed an actual "chicken running around with its head cut off?" I have. However, I estimate that most Americans alive today have not, because we no longer have an agrarian society. Today, we are largely insulated from the realities of death. Many of our political and religious leaders tell us that science has no authority, and facts are just opinions to be negotiated. Our U.S. Congress is dominated by people who believe that the Earth is 6,000 to 9,000 (not 4.54 billion) years old, climate change is a hoax and evolution is a lie "straight from the pit of hell." It is really no surprise that Jahi's grieving family and their misguided attorney are holding out for a divine miracle. I urge them to consider that if God wants to raise a person from the dead, She can do it, regardless of whether the person is on a ventilator or not. Christ did not have one.

Grace Clark, Ph.D.

Livermore

Insurance commercials really dumb

Who else shares my belief that the TV Insurance Commercials (Geico, Progressive, Allstate, State Farm) are forged in the quicksand of stupidity?

Bob Atkinson

Pleasanton

Lower taxes and protect revenue base

In California, total debt is $778 billion, and every one of the 37 million people in our state owes more than $21,000. While it's hard for most people to draw meaning from these figures, the scenario in Greece provides a good lesson.

With debt spiraling out of control years ago and no serious effort to control it, creditors eventually ended the game of permanent non-repayment. The "official" unemployment rate is more than 27 percent, and young people are leaving the country because there are no jobs and no future. In the United States and California, the game of financial chicken will eventually come to an end, and the sooner we figure out now to pay off our debts, the less painful it will be.

We need to recall that one of the techniques that Gov. Brown is using in his debt-reduction plan is raising taxes. California has income, sales and business taxes that are among the highest in the country. Reducing the debt by raising funds from citizens through taxes may help in the short term, but at what price? If businesses and taxpayers, particularly those who provide most of the tax receipts, continue to leave the state, the hollowing out of the tax base will torpedo our long-term future. Mr. Brown should include tax relief in his program as debt is gradually wound down.

Jake Krakauer

Pleasanton

Spare the Air important for ecology

In response to Deborah and Evan Nice, of Concord, who are complaining about the Spare the Air program, I am thankful for Spare the Air; and, this is the first winter in years that I didn't feel deathly ill every single day from the thick carbon-laden air.

You may not be aware of this, but, oxygen levels have steadily decreased on Earth as time has marched on. And this isn't a good thing for life on Earth. With the pumping out of carbon dioxide from cars, industry and fireplace smoke, there just simply aren't enough trees anymore to make the oxygen necessary to keep humans healthy. Furthermore, the combination of rain forest deforestation and increased carbon dioxide through human activities, like fireplace smoke, is gradually turning our atmosphere into a non-life-sustaining habitat.

Spare the Air is just not a yuppie experiment; it's a necessary step in maintaining life as we know it in the Bay Area. It's not a coincidence that people with respiratory and heart disease die during the winter, as their bodies are taxed to the limit from yule logs. With all these humans smashed together in small spaces, there just aren't enough trees to pump back the oxygen necessary to support all of us. Read some science!

Paulette Kenyon

Pleasanton