Give me your medication list and I’ll tell you your health problems. It happens every day in emergency rooms across the country as confused elderly patients present for an acute problem unable to describe their past medical history, but equipped with a list of medications in their wallet:
Metformin = Type-2 diabetes
Synthroid = Hypothyroidism
Lipitor + Altace + Lasix + Slo-K = Ischemic cardiomyopathy
Lexapro = A little anxious or depressed
Viagra = Well, you know…
I bet I’d be right better than 90 percent of the time. Now, imagine you’re a pharmaceutical company wanting to target people with those chronic diseases. Where might you find them?
No problem. Just pay the insurers to provide you patients’ drug lists. No names need be exchanged in keeping with HIPAA requirements. But the drugs list attached to folks’ cable TV box? Perfect. You’re in — with no legal strings attached. Then, according to the Wall Street Journal, just fire away with that targeted direct-to-consumer advertising on TV, courtesy of your local healthcare insurance provider.
No wonder our healthcare industry movers and shakers love the electronic medical record. Healthcare privacy? What healthcare privacy?
-WesMusings of a cardiologist and cardiac electrophysiologist.
*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Wes*
Cute packaging and product placement in the checkout lane at Duane Reade will get you generic Tylenol for a price equivalent to $50 for 100 tabs, as opposed to $6 per 100 count in the usual package.
*This blog post was originally published at tbtam*
Just five days ago we wrote about an American journalist’s observations of medicalization of one problem sometimes observed after menopause: Vaginal atrophy.
Today we see that this disease-mongering trend has popped up in Australia as well. This should be no surprise. Such campaigns are usually led by multinational pharmaceutical companies and their advertising and public relations agencies.
What caught our eye was an article on a women’s health foundation website — a foundation that posts a pretty thin excuse for why it won’t tell you its source of funding. Its article on vaginal atrophy uses classic disease-mongering language:
“Ask a woman over the age of 50 about the ‘signs of ag[e]ing’ and she’ll most likely lament about grey hairs, wrinkles and certain body parts having lost their youthful perkiness. What she probably won’t mention is that is that things are ageing “downstairs” too; up to 40% of postmenopausal women show signs of vaginal atrophy.”
The silent epidemic that no one talks about. The huge prevalence estimate — where does that 40 percent figure come from? Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Gary Schwitzer's HealthNewsReview Blog*
I used to defend pharmaceutical companies. ”What companies out there have contributed more good? Should care manufacturers make more when all they do is make transportation that breaks after a few years?”
It made sense to me that you should put a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow so that companies are motivated to invent more drugs and innovate. We throw a lot of money to athletes and movie stars who simply entertain us, shouldn’t we do better to those who heal us? I used to say that. I don’t anymore.
No, I don’t think the drug companies are “evil.” People who say that are thinking way to simplistic. These companies are doing exactly what their shareholders want them to do: make as much money as possible for as long as possible. That’s what all companies do, right? They are simply working within the system as it is and trying to accomplish the goal of making money. To say that they should “sacrifice” is foolish. They are simply playing by the rules that have been set out there. Those rules are the thing that has to change. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Musings of a Distractible Mind*
Patients are the new darling of the medical-industrial complex. If you look around you will see patients advocating for one another. If you click a little closer you’ll find some with relationships to industry.
It makes perfect sense that the manufacturer of a drug or medical device would want the blessings of our nascent cybercelebs. Some want genuine patient input. Some, however, want to curry their favor. Chock up influence of the patient population as evidence of social health’s evolving maturity.
A couple of questions:
- Will industry be required to publicly list monies used for sponsorship, travel and swag support of high profile patients in the social sphere?
- Should high visibility patients who serve as stewards and advocates disavow themselves of contact with pharma just as many academic medical centers have begun?
As is often the case, I don’t have an answer. I’m just raising the questions. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at 33 Charts*