Medicine Information

Are Drug Companies Destroying The U.S. Health Care System?


The U.S. government's annual bill for healthcare spending - $3,925 per person - significantly exceeds that of all other nations. Despite this, our current health care system is increasingly failing both patients and medical practitioners. Of 13 nations, the U.S. is last for neonatal and infant mortality, last for years of potential life lost, 10th for age-adjusted mortality, 11th and 12th for female and male life expectancy respectively. Chronic degenerative diseases - heart disease, cancer, arthritis, obesity, etc. - are at epidemic levels and create the ideal long-term customers to grow the medical industry.

Looking for a culprit? Consider that pharmaceutical company profits are so large they outstrip every other American industry by far. Americans spend over $500 billion on drugs. The drug companies claim that they need large earnings ($124,835,595,000 in 1999, for example) to conduct their research, but just one of every five dollars the drug industry collects actually goes to drug research. Some drug companies spend twice as much annually for marketing and advertising. From the years 1996 to 2001, pharmaceutical companies spent $3 billion on consumer advertising. Many of the advertised pharmaceuticals are not (contrary to popular belief) FDA-approved, and the information contained in the advertisements is often misleading and not entirely accurate. Now there is even a new wave of drugs being marketed to alleviate the side effects of other drugs being marketed (e.g. NexiumTM to relieve digestive problems created by pain killers).

Pharmaceutical companies have enormous influence on physicians through the billions of dollars of marketing resources. Drug companies in the U.S. spend, on average, $10,000 each year per physician to influence their behavior through subsidizing studies in major journals, aggressive marketing by drug reps (in some instances trained exactly how long to shake a doctor's hand), advertisements and sponsorship of medical education programs for doctors and medical residents. (Such support of education and science subtly brainwashes physicians into thinking symptom-based medicine is sound knowledge and science as well.) Is it any surprise that two thirds of visits to doctors' offices result in a drug being prescribed? Some patients may be on numerous medications prescribed by various specialists while not one of them knows, or could even predict, the health consequences of the interactions. (I recently discovered that my elderly mother, suffering from a variety of ailments, including dementia, was on 17 different medications. Not only did she not know what she was taking or when she did, neither did any of her physicians.) Little wonder pharmaceutical toxicity is one of the major factors contributing to medical care being the leading cause of death in the U.S. (Why Modern Medicine is the Greatest Threat to Health, http://www.wysong.net/health/post_77_061902.shtml)

Aside from profiteering and marketing, the most fundamental flaw in the system is philosophical. Doctors and pharmaceutical companies think about names of diseases and removal of symptoms, not cure or prevention. They chase, but the race is rigged so they never catch.

Enabling such a system to prosper and flourish is a public that also has a flawed philosophy. They want to live life as they choose, carpe diem, thinking only of momentary relief, pleasure and convenience. When something goes wrong with their health they don't want instruction on how to change lifestyle, but rather want to use the power of money (preferably the government's) to buy their way out with a silver drug bullet that immediately takes the problem away. We spend much for dying, little for living.

American health will continue to slip and our economy will continue to be drained by a failing healthcare system until the underlying flawed philosophies are changed. Medicine must change from naming diseases and treating symptoms to prevention and cure. Yes, that means the medical care system should be trying to put itself out of business, not create a growth industry of illness.

On the other hand, people must change by taking the responsibility for controlling their own health destiny. As it stands, the public has become a pawn of commercial medical interests.

Ultimately health is something we do to ourselves, not something others do to us. When that fact is faced, the medical-pharmaceutical complex will shrivel to a cottage industry and the public will be the better for it.

(Br Med J, 2003; 326:416 http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/326/7386/416/b. N Engl J Med, 2002; 346:498-505, 524-531 http://content.nejm.org/content/vol346/issue7/index.shtml.)

Dr. Wysong is a former veterinary clinician and surgeon, college instructor in human anatomy, physiology and the origin of life, inventor of numerous medical, surgical, nutritional, athletic and fitness products and devices, research director for the present company by his name and founder of the philanthropic Wysong Institute. He is author of The Creation-Evolution Controversy now in its eleventh printing, a new two volume set on philosophy for living entitled Thinking Matters: 1-Living Life... As If Thinking Matters; 2-The Big Questions...As If Thinking Matters, several books on nutrition, prevention and health for people and animals and over 15 years of monthly health newsletters. He may be contacted at Wysong@Wysong.net and a free subscription to his e-Health Letter is available at http://www.wysong.net


MORE RESOURCES:
This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news


The Guardian

Adam Kay: 'If I had kids I would put them off studying medicine'
The Guardian
Kay had enjoyed a longstanding interest in comedy, performing in medical student revues, and later in corporate gigs for pharmaceutical companies. He'd also been on Radio 4 and performed at the Edinburgh festival, so comedy was the obvious way to go ...



Florida Flambeau

FSU College of Medicine hosts World AIDS Day vigil
Florida Flambeau
From 2008 to 2010, there were about 32 new HIV cases and 19 new AIDS cases in Leon County. During this time period, Leon County reported 1,392 cases of gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis. Gonorrhea and syphilis rates are higher in this county than ...

and more »


Salt Lake Tribune

Commentary: The Tribune was wrong. Medicine often involves a risk to the patient.
Salt Lake Tribune
(Courtesy of the Utah Department of Health) A health department initiative called Talk to Your Pharmacist placed stickers on bottles to prompt prescribers to talk to their pharmacist about the risk of using opioids. By Lynn Webster | For The Tribune ...



The Hindu

'Exciting careers beyond engineering and medicine'
The Hindu
In a State where a huge chunk of student population go towards engineering and medicine, choosing a course other than the two requires a certain aptitude. It's the aptitude that matters when choosing a career, experts from various fields advised ...



KFSN-TV

New Treatment for Neuropathy: Medicine's Next Big Thing?
KFSN-TV
Thirty percent of all Americans will be affected by peripheral neuropathy, a condition that impacts nerves leading to the arms and legs. (KFSN). KFSN. By Margot Kim. Saturday, December 09, 2017 11:48PM. Thirty percent of all Americans will be affected ...



Rethink Healthcare: Government hospitals must provide quality, affordable medicine
Economic Times (blog)
Delhi government's decision to cancel the licence of Max hospital, Shalimar Bagh, for negligence resulting in the death of a premature newborn – the baby was declared dead by the hospital even though he was alive at the time he was given to his parents ...

and more »


New York Times

What Doctors Should Ignore
New York Times
Those variants are enriched in people of African ancestry. Girish N. Nadkarni, a kidney specialist at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, explained to me that scientists think this may be because those variants protect against the ...



EurekAlert (press release)

Landmark CAR-T cancer study published in the New England Journal of Medicine
EurekAlert (press release)
IMAGE: This is how CAR-T cell therapy harnesses a patient's immune system to fight cancer. view more. Credit: Loyola Medicine. MAYWOOD, IL - Loyola University Medical Center is the only Chicago center that participated in the pivotal clinical trial of ...
Loyola Medicine Oncologist Patrick Stiff, MD, Co-Author of Landmark @NEJM CAR-T Study, Offers Measured ...Newswise (press release)

all 5 news articles »


HuffPost

Medicine And Why Net Neutrality Matters
HuffPost
Recently, the library at Einstein, where I work as a medical librarian, experienced a momentary internet outage. In that instant, everything seemed to stop in its tracks. Medical students preparing to take their STEP 1 Board exams couldn't finish their ...

and more »


Daily Mail

HEALTH: Nature's medicine for sore joints
Daily Mail
When financier John Carey, then 35, woke up one night in 2002 with a searing pain in the ball of his left foot, the last thing on his mind was gout. 'I'd been training hard the day before – I practise judo and ran marathons – and thought I must have ...


Google News

home | site map | Dr. Thad Thomas
© 2006