The healthcare debate the media refuses to acknowledge

  • Drug prices continue to fuel media stories and drive politicians to action but, for the most part, the real driver of high healthcare costs is being ignored.
  • The total percentage of non-elderly people with insurance and affordability problems to 26.2%.
  • The number of US adults with diabetes increased from 21.2 million in 2003-2004 to 30.2 million in 2013-2014, while the prevalence of obesity rose from 31.7% to 37.5% over the same period.
  • Millennials are on track to be the most obese generation.
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About that DTC study on drug pricing…

  • A new study measured the results of including drug prices in DTC ads.
  • For the high-priced drug, the price disclosure significantly reduced the likelihood of participants asking their physician about the drug, asking their insurer about the drug, researching the drug online, and taking the drug.
  • However, results were significantly mitigated when a modifier was included about out-of-pocket costs.
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Fake medical news threatens our lives

  • While misinformation has been the object of great attention in politics, medical misinformation might have an even greater body count.
  • False medical information can also lead to patients’ experiencing greater side effects through the “nocebo effect.”
  • Cancer is another big target for pushers of medical misinformation — many of whom are making money off alternative therapies.
  • Fake news represents a huge opportunity for pharma to lead the conversation.
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Pharma’s inexcusable pricing of insulin

  • A study showing that one in four insulin-treated patients surveyed at an urban US diabetes center were found to be cutting back on insulin use because of cost has been published.
  • The survey results also reveal that cost-related insulin underuse was associated with worse glycemic control and that more than a third of patients did not discuss the insulin underuse with their clinicians.
  • Of those who completed the survey, 25.5% (51) reported cost-related insulin underuse.
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Pharma’s primary customer is Wall Street, not patients

  • The S&P 500 healthcare sector has been on a tear in recent months, on track for its best quarter in five years and surging to an all-time high on Friday.
  • A forensic accounting of available financial data of the pharmaceutical giants Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Merck Sharp & Dohme, and Abbott—shows that from 2013 to 2015, these four multinational drug makers collectively avoided paying about $3.7 billion in taxes.
  • Publishing in JAMA Internal Medicine the median estimated cost of the full range of studies: $19 million to get new drug approval.
  • Pharma’s primary customer continues to be Wall Street.

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It borders on medical malpractice

  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 80 percent of adults and about one-third of children now meet the clinical definition of overweight or obese.
  • The medical community’s primary response to this shift has been to blame fat people for being fat.
  • Medical students receive an average of just 19 hours of nutrition education over four years of instruction—five hours fewer than they got in 2006.

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