Part Two: What is Wrong With Healthcare in the US? A Physician Perspective

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The pharmaceutical industry makes me feel like a dirty, cheap whore.

Why?

Read this fantastic article by the New York Times “The Soaring Cost of a Simple Breath” and then come back so we can continue our discussion.

Then read this article by the LA Times “When a Drug Costs Thirty Times What it Once Did”.

So when the Barbie and Ken types show up at my office to push their drugs, it makes me terribly frustrated. Many of them truly do not understand why. The plight of the average patient does not matter since it is just a paycheck.

Having to endure getting detailed (listening to drug reps try to explain why their drug is so much better than everyone else’s) so that I can receive free drugs to “help” my patients feels like prostitution.

You know what would help my patients? Affordable prescription drugs.

The industry argues that profit drives innovation. Sure. I get that. But how much profit is enough? And why does the US have to pay the price when the rest of the world does not?

Because we allow it.

So if you come to my office, you will see that drug reps are not allowed in the back to disrupt clinic flow. I will sign your pad only. Don’t talk to me. I don’t talk to them at lunches. I do not attend their dinners. I will write cheap generic prescriptions first whenever possible. If you are on a brand name medication that I have samples of, I will fill up a grocery sack of freebies so you don’t have to pay.

Because the pharmaceutical company pimps don’t have me yet.

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21 thoughts on “Part Two: What is Wrong With Healthcare in the US? A Physician Perspective

    • Truthfully, the power lies more with the patients. Call your elected officials. Tell them what you think. Ask your doctor to prescribe generic whenever possible, or provide your physician with your pharmacy plan formulary so they can help find the least expensive choice (stabbing in the dark at hundreds of different plans is frustrating, I hug my patients who bring their formularies to office visits). šŸ™‚

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  1. And this feeds the conspiracy nuts and the homeopaths who believe all drugs are bad, diseases are manufactured by the pharmacutical industry to create profit, vaccinations will cause your child to be a hermaphadite, and on and on. The drug companies and their reps don’t help elleviating people of these myths.

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  2. I can’t believe the prices! Far, far higher than in Australia and here in North Cyprus the cost of drugs is half the cost of Australia. I have had on a couple of occasions needed to take antibiotics and they cost $10. In Australia my Nasonex cost A$65. And here? $20.

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    • And in the US Nasonex without insurance would cost an average of $170. And to get it covered on an insurance plan your physician has to complete “Prior Authorization” forms and submit record to prove each year that you have tried and failed cheaper alternatives.

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  3. Yes to all the above. And then there’s the beach scenes with golden retrievers and other works from central casting we endure in between innings of the ball game to hear about the drugs on patent. Shameless.

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  4. Under my insurance plan, Asacol HD, which I was using for my ulcerative colitis, just went into the third tier, meaning the co-pay is $450 a month! I can’t afford that, and there’s no generic equivalent. The drug company offers a coupon of – wait for it – $50 a month discount. What a huge help that is. Fortunately my doctor was able to find a similar drug that seems to be working and carries a $15 a month copay. And how, exactly do the drug company and insurance company justify a $2300 co-pay for each 8-week Remicade treatment? I don’t know which I hate more – the drug companies, or the insurance companies.

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