Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Sicko and Big Pharma, Continued

I recently had two posts on our the inefficiencies of our health care system (Sicko post: and a condemnation of direct to consumer advertising and other underhanded practices by pharmaceutical companies in the U.S. (Big Pharma post:

Here are links to two articles that echo similar concepts. The first is an opinion piece that lays out a very eloquent argument on why free markets have not worked for containing health care costs in the U.S.

An excerpt:

The extreme failure of the United States to contain medical costs results primarily from our unique, pervasive commercialization. The dominance of for-profit insurance and pharmaceutical companies, a new wave of investor-owned specialty hospitals, and profit-maximizing behavior even by nonprofit players raise costs and distort resource allocation. Profits, billing, marketing, and the gratuitous costs of private bureaucracies siphon off $400 billion to $500 billion of the $2.1 trillion spent, but the more serious and less appreciated syndrome is the set of perverse incentives produced by commercial dominance of the system.

Full text:

The second article relates to the "fradulent" Lipitor commercial starring Dr. Robert Jarvick. The commercial shows Dr. Jarvik rowing a boat across a lake in the mountains.

It turns out that Dr. Jarvick is not a cardiologist, is not licensed to practice medicine, and does not even row and it not an outdoorsman! They used a body double for the rowing scenes.

Money quote:

“He’s about as much an outdoorsman as Woody Allen” said a longtime collaborator, Dr. O. H. Frazier of the Texas Heart Institute. “He can’t row.”

Full text:

1 comment:

julie said...

This all sheds even more sinister light on Owen's "Mommy, is this lipitor?" question in reference to his children's chewable aspirn.