July 29, 2009

WHAT DOES NEED HAVE TO DO WITH HEALTH CARE?:

Health Care in Crisis: Overmedicating America: In the U.S. today, doctors are too quick to prescribe drugs that their patients don't really need and often can't afford (Ed Wallace, 7/28/09, Business Week)

[T]he expensive overmedication of America really began 12 years ago, when the Federal Drug Administration allowed drug companies to advertise their products on TV. Americans could now diagnose themselves during commercial breaks, and then "ask their doctor" to prescribe the most expensive, no-generic-available wonder drugs.

The U.S. is the only industrialized country in the world that allows this practice, and it's not without controversy here. The pro argument is that some individuals who have been quietly suffering from one malady or another can be motivated to find a doctor and obtain medical help. The con argument is that many individuals with only one symptom—which might not necessarily indicate the problem the drug in the TV ad is for—may demand that medication from a physician, who in turn may see no harm in prescribing it.

Today, TV ads encourage consumers to self-diagnose and treat potentially serious medical problems as easily as they rid themselves of dandruff with the right shampoo. Sleepless nights, diabetes, seizures, allergies, depression, chronic bronchitis, high cholesterol, dry eyes, overactive bladders, tingling in your legs, baldness, and the list goes on and on. In some cases, the commercial even suggests that the drug's manufacturer will help you find a physician to gladly write the prescription for you.


Actually, the "problem" is that we can afford them and they're just another consumer good, like chips or soda.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 29, 2009 6:33 AM
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