Healthcare Armageddon 5: The Crux of the Problem

There’s a central theme running through many of these “Truth About Health Care” posts that I write. Whether it comes to medical centers putting out press releases that are nothing more than thinly veiled advertising, or drug companies trying to get physicians to write more prescriptions, it comes down to the fact that there’s a whole lot of competing interests out there trying to get a bigger slice of a shrinking money-pie. And the pie is about to shrink a whole lot faster. . . Continue reading “Healthcare Armageddon 5: The Crux of the Problem”

A New Staging System for a Terminal Disease.

 strange-hairstyles-11

My dear readers, it is with great regret that I relay the news to you that your author has been diagnosed with a terminal, incurable affliction similar to what you see in the picture above. You may think I’m talking about simple male pattern baldness.  But no, this is much more spontaneous, insidious, and frankly morally shameful. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it appears that I have the early stages of comb-over.

Continue reading “A New Staging System for a Terminal Disease.”

The Medical Press Release

Pass the pills please!

 You may have noticed the rash of medical news spewing from your favorite news outlets with greater frequency. As a medical professional you probably cringe as you envision the calls that are about to flood your office, “Doctor Smith, I heard a report on the news that this drug you prescribed to help me quit smoking is bad for my health!” or,   “I want a referral to The Hoffenheimer Institute to get peduncular ray beam therapy for my hypertension, they are reporting great results!” And, like me, you probably curse the media, as the stream of bogusness is regurgitated in high def.  My advice? Don’t hate the game, hate the players. Continue reading “The Medical Press Release”

Update: Lunch money Pharma spends on physicians

This post at KevinMD has blown up and is generating significant interest.

Since writing it I was contacted by CNN, they talked about wanting to do a series on America’s addiction to medications and what sounded to me like the various excesses of drug companies to try to get people to take those medications. They wanted me to comment on the various excesses of Pharma from a physician’s perspective. They were interested in hearing about all the things the drug companies give us, specifically,  free stuff, give-aways, trips,  golf outings. . . you get the point. I explained that I had no experience with such things, nor did I know of anybody who had, and probably was not the right person to talk to.  

I feel like in this discussion, we private practice physicians are guppies in a big ocean. The occasional office lunch amounts to essentially (excuse the pun) small potatoes compared to the influence that pharma has had on the opinion makers, and subsequently, in the drafting of practice guidelines (such as recent lipid guidelines or the use of activated protein C in sepsis). In this, the influence is insidious; it exists largely in rooms that are closed to the rest of us. The influence is not nearly as extroverted and obvious as CNN (and the rest of us) would like to see.  However, I agree with many of you that having drug reps bringing lunch into the office at the very least gives the impression of influence, and may not be a practice that we as physicians can defend much longer.  In retrospect, I wished I had agreed to the interview with CNN, only for the sweet irony of my interview being followed by a commercial featuring two elderly people sitting in bathtubs on top of a hill.  .  .

Healthcare Armageddon 3: Washington Argues Over Grandma’s New Shoes.

It started with The House of Representatives’ symbolic gesture of their disdain of all things Obama-care. It continues with the current bickering over fiscal policy in Washington D.C. Thus goes a debate that is destined to lead the country nowhere because it does not deal with the core of the problem. Continue reading “Healthcare Armageddon 3: Washington Argues Over Grandma’s New Shoes.”