Tuesday, November 11, 2008

3 easy steps to lower the cost of healthcare

I'm so appalled by the latest "study" recommending that healthy individuals take cholesterol-lower drugs as a way to avoid future heart attacks. I say "study" because if people read a bit deeper into articles about new drug therapies, they'd discover that the research is funded by the pharmaceutical companies that make the drugs in the studies. Can you say conflict of interest?

I have questions about this latest study that's sure to send people to their doctors seeking this magic pill. Who cares about the side effects--tendon damage, muscle deterioration, increased chance of developing type 2 diabetes--this is a wonder drug and it'll keep you from heart attack! Whoohoo! Forget that the study is on Crestor, a statin drug, that is the most expensive brand on the market. Ignore the fact that the doctor in charge of the study is going to get a kickback for every test preformed qualifying a patient for the drug. Also, what did the folks in the study eat? Did they exercise? Diet and exercise are two key ways to lower your risk of heart disease without drugs.

And we wonder why our health care system is in such a shambles! Let's face it, the drug and insurance companies are running the show and we're paying the high price for tickets. A recent essay in the NY Times summed it up perfectly: preventative care used to be based on common sense lifestyle choices but now is all about testing, drugs and more testing.

Wanna reduce health care costs annoy those pesky drug makers? It's really quite simple. As a nation we need to:
1. Move more
2. Stop eating junk food
3. more fruits and veggies

 It's not rocket science. No one makes a bunch of money off this kind of plan. You can't sex it up or put it in a press release as something new and improved. Doctors don't write prescriptions for it. This comes down to common sense and being self reliant. Not exactly what Madison Ave is selling.

Anyway, that's my rant for the day. If you want to help the healthcare crisis in the country try following steps 1-3 and encourage others to as well.


Gayle said...

Bravo! well stated. I especially like the NY Times comment.

micki said...

Review of scientific journals shows steadily increasing conflict of interest in funding of drug trials

Dr. John Abramson, a clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School and author of the critical 2004 book, "Overdosed America: The Broken Promise of American Medicine," said in an op-ed piece he wrote in January 2006 for the Los Angeles Times: "Before 1980, most medical studies were publicly funded, and most academic researchers scorned industry support. Now, however, the vast majority of clinical trials are commercially funded, and with the financial stakes so high, there is mounting evidence of individual scientists and corporations manipulating their findings."


Cavet emptor!

Personally, I remain rationally skeptical (even cynical) every time I read about ANOTHER MEDICAL BREAKTHROUGH! Usually, the so-called "breakthrough" is nothing more than another scam to sell more drugs.

Just say "no" to Big Pharma's profit-motive scams and TAKE IT OUTSIDE!

m.w. said...

GO HERE for a food guide -- local sustainable

micki said...


It should also be noted that Paul Ridker, the lead investigator who works at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, is listed as a co-inventor on patents for the $20 test that measures CRP, and that the trial was funded by AstraZeneca.

Sal said...

Greetings from your local pharmacist. I also am skeptical of yet another drug company funded study coming along to tell us that everyone should be on MED-X now, and I understand your frustration with the system. The fact that it was paid for by the drug company is reason to give us pause, by not to discount the findings altogether.

Reading the NY Times article, we find that the lead researcher sought federal funding for the study and was turned down. "Like many clinical trials, the Jupiter study was sponsored by a pharmaceutical company company, in this case AstraZeneca."

Believe it or not, most drug studies now are funded by drug companies. This is not news. What we need to ask is whether it was a scientifically run, double-blind, placebo-based study, and what influence the sponsor may have had on the press release of the outcome. From what I read, it was pretty clean as far as these things go.

"Big Pharma" is in business to make money, and many of their practices are sketchy at best. Caveat emptor, indeed.

On the other hand, these companies have produced many amazing, life-saving drugs over the years and continue to do so. Drugs are not necessarily evil.

Diet and exercise: priceless. For everything else there's medicine.

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