Opinion | Drug Companies Will Make a Killing From Coronavirus – The New York Times – By Mariana Mazzucato and Azzi Momenghalibaf – March 18, 2020
Unless we fix the system, American taxpayers will get gouged on a vaccine they paid to produce.
The search for treatments and vaccines to curb transmission of the new coronavirus is in overdrive. Fortunately, there are a number of promising candidates thanks to the U.S. government’s investment in biomedical research and development.
As the world’s leader in public financing of biomedical research, the U.S. government has the opportunity to set a precedent to ensure that medicines developed with public funding are accessible and affordable to the public; this will have enormous implications not only how for we deal with the coronavirus, but also for the crisis of unaffordable medicines in America. Continue reading
The Role of Private Equity in Driving Up Health Care Prices | Harvard Business Review – By Lovisa Gustafsson, Shanoor Seervai, and David Blumenthal – Oct 2019
Private investment in U.S. health care has grown significantly over the past decade thanks to investors who have been keen on getting into a large, rapidly growing, and recession-proof market with historically high returns.
It scares me when the healthcare system I depend on is evaluated merely on its ability to generate a profit for corporate officers and stockholders.
This corporate “vision” regards healthcare workers like any other expenses, a cost to be cut wherever possible. Managing healthcare as a financial enterprise denies its humanitarian purpose and the societal benefit it provides for all. Continue reading
Will Big Pharma Fleece Us On A COVID Treatment That We Helped Fund? – Too Much Information – by David Sirota – June 2020
Usually, it’s people with chronic illnesses that suffer the most from high drug prices, but now even the healthy are forced to look at the corrupted state of our pharmaceutical industry (and the whole healthcare system.)
The pharmaceutical industry and its political allies are trying to use the COVID crisis to portray drug companies as modern-day Jonas Salks — the hero from history who refused to patent and profit off the polio vaccine.
It’s a nice tale, but it can obscure the other story of pharmaceutical price gouging and the laws that may help corporations unduly profit off public health crises. Continue reading
As a nurse, my hospital’s leaders frighten me more than Covid-19 – STAT – By Jaclyn O’Halloran – May 6, 2020
This situation is the result of the financial takeover of our healthcare. When every action must be justified in terms of the “bottom line”, patients are only important as long as they need profitable medical services.
When I started the shift, a trained intensive care unit nurse was crying in the supply closet. She was overwhelmed and anxious, hadn’t worked on her familiar unit in weeks, and had been told that her next shift would be an overnight one — and she had no choice in the matter.
Most shifts start with nurses crying. Most shifts end that way too. Continue reading
Private gain must no longer be allowed to elbow out the public good | Aeon Ideas – by Dirk Philipsen – Apr 2020
This country has been operating on the richly arrogant and simplistic idea that “market forces” can manage our economy and society better (more efficiently) than “government”. For our healthcare, this has been a total disaster.
Adam Smith had an elegant idea when addressing the notorious difficulty that humans face in trying to be smart, efficient and moral. In TheWealth of Nations (1776), he maintained that the baker bakes bread not out of benevolence, but out of self-interest.
No doubt, public benefits can result when people pursue what comes easiest: self-interest.
And yet:the logic of private interest – the notion that we should just ‘let the market handle it’ – has serious limitations. Continue reading
I keep reading about studies that show opioids to be no more effective for pain than non-opioid medications or other therapies. I still cannot believe that.
At first, I was convinced the studies had been corrupted, then I thought that the statistics were improperly manipulated, then I thought the patients had been poorly selected, but now I’m running out of excuses to insist those studies are wrong.
Still, it makes no sense to me that the only medication or treatment or therapy that has reliably reduced my pain for decades can be “proven” to be no better than drugstore pills (NSAIDs). Continue reading
Doctors fume at government response to coronavirus pandemic – STAT – By Meghana Keshavan @megkesh – April 9, 2020
STAT interviewed more than a dozen physicians and scientists around the country, and one after another, they leveled strikingly similar critiques at both the federal and local levels:
Eric Topol, a cardiologist and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in San Diego, said, “The American public doesn’t know that a large portion of this catastrophe was preventable, if not for the sinful incompetence of our leaders.”
Most physicians would agree to speak to STAT only on the condition of anonymity, citing fears that they’d face retaliation from their health systems — who are chastising, or even firing, desperately needed health workers for speaking out.
This is the outcome of the corporate takeover of our medical system. Physicians ceded control of health care, and it’s time to take it back. Continue reading
Study: CT Scan Prior to Spine Fusion Surgery Finds Significant Number of Patients Had Undiagnosed Osteoporosis – Mar 2019
For patients contemplating spinal fusion surgery to alleviate pain, bone health is an important consideration.
If a patient is found to have low bone density prior to surgery, it could affect the treatment plan before, during and after the procedure. A study at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York City found that a CT scan of the lumbar spine prior to surgery indicated that a significant number of patients had low bone density that was previously undiagnosed.
And I assume they then had the surgery in spite of it. Continue reading
How Big Medicine is Putting Small Practices Out of Business – MedPage Today – by John Machata, MD – Apr 2019
Recently, the CEO of a large health care network stated: “Market forces don’t apply to healthcare.”
What an idiotic statement! If this were true, CEOs wouldn’t be receiving astronomical salaries while their cost-cutting leaves everyone doing the real work broke.
These CEOs manipulate their corporations to generate the maximum profit (which is actually their job) and their calculations definitely depend on market forces to raise prices by eliminating competition. Continue reading
Elite Hospitals Plunge Into Unproven Stem Cell Treatments – By Liz Szabo – Apr 2019
The online video seems to promise everything an arthritis patient could want. Dr. Adam Pourcho extols the benefits of stem cells and “regenerative medicine” for healing joints without surgery.
It sickens me when some doctors go rogue like this – especially when it involves money and pain. That combination is the perfect engine for profit in our medical system:
- medical procedures can cost as much as the “market” can bear and
- the “market” consists of desperate pain patients who are no longer allowed their previously effective medications
In their suicidal desperation, these patients will agree to pay almost any amount to get relief from their unrelenting pain. Continue reading