Even if ALL prescription drugs were free we’re still in trouble

KEY IDEA: America’s expanding waistlines are causing health spending to spiral out of control. Obesity-related illnesses consume nearly a third of the nation’s health-care dollars An obese adult uses 42 percent more health care than a healthy-weight adult, and a morbidly obese adult uses a staggering 81 percent more, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Until we start fighting this epidemic, the nations’ healthcare costs are going to continue to climb.

It’s bad enough that most fast food is high in fat and salt but now couch potatoes can get it delivered. In face you can get a deliver from any restaurant you want because of services like Bite Squad. It’s not good and progress against heart disease, diabetes and strokes is grinding to a halt, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. This means that healthcare costs are going to continue to climb.

Overeating and unhealthy food choices cause most obesity and obesity is linked to heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, colon and breast cancer, gallbladder disease and sleep apnea, for starters. Already a staggering 40 percent of the nation is obese or morbidly obese, double the problem in 1980.

Health costs are a top issue in the 2020 elections, and every candidate claims to have “a plan” to make health care affordable. These plans are shell games, shifting the costs from one group of people to another but not dealing with the biggest driver of costs — America’s growing girth.

Politicians and the media are right to blame drug companies for putting profits ahead of people but until we accept responsibility for eating too much and eating the wrong foods prescription drugs are keeping us alive. Who knows how many heart attacks were avoided because of statins?

I can’t believe that a nation that was able to tackle the smoking problem can’t tackle obesity. It’s simple; if you’re overweight, you pay more for health insurance. If you’re overweight, you should be required to meet with a registered dietician. Companies that promote employee wellness should receive credit on health insurance costs.

What can pharma do?

As an industry we need to include wellness information on ALL our sites. We need to talk about the cost of obesity and not exercising and share stories of people who are making the time and effort to fight bulging waistlines. Until we do our healthcare costs are going to continue to climb.