Does Medicine Have Any Incentive to Keep Citizens Healthy? Not Much

“Each year 30,000,000 men undergo PSA exams at a cost of $30,000,000.000.  Yet the test is hardly more effective than a coin toss. I never dreamed that my discovery four decades ago would lead to such a profit-driven public health disaster. The medical community must confront reality and stop the inappropriate use of P.S.A. screening. Doing so would save billions of dollars and rescue millions of men from unnecessary, debilitating treatments. (Richard J. Ablin, who discovered the PSA Antigen)

________________

The primary purpose of most business is to make money. In the world of ‘healthcare’ pharmaceutical giants pay doctors to prescribe their products and surgical supply companies pay surgeons to use their wares instead of the other guys’. So if you think Goodyear paying gas stations to sell tires is much different – you are naively mistaken.  In the make-believe world of good-faith medicine so many of us cling to, the arrangements between the drug makers and the drug dealers ought to be a win-win-win – for physicians, drug companies and patients alike. After all, if we can’t trust healthcare, who can we trust?

Unfortunately, the equation is a lethally flawed triad because of the three components, only the patients get regularly . . . you know, dead.

an American Embarrassment

an American Embarrassment

We were not employed in the Twilight Zone of modern medicine for very long at all, before we recognized that millions of pills are prescribed by thousands of doctors every single day – whether needed or not. And even when specific chemical compounds are needed, far less expensive generics are routinely not prescribed. Why? Because in the patient/doctor/drug cartel relationship, big-named brands earn more cash, which benefits only two of the three players in the shell game.

We can promise you that this perversion-for-profit relationship does not make for “good medicine” for the folks. In fact, in a world of appropriate sensibilities, this blatant scam on the citizenry would be criminal. Hippocrates would be justifiably appalled at the prostitution of his once proud profession.

So lets get back to our question: “What incentive does the medical profession have in keeping citizens healthy without drugs or surgery?” The short answer is, in the macro, precious little. In fact, a reasonably bright adult could make an impressive argument in court that the medical/pharmaceutical juggernaut has an unrelenting drive to keep every human being as unhealthy as possible.

Let’s consider two procedures which are as common as a Starbuck’s latte:

CT Scans: A single scan can dump a thousand times the radiation of an ordinary x-ray into your body and no rocket science brain-pan is necessary to guess this is a truly bad idea. So on the friendly streets of the USA, what do we tolerate?  Well, one nifty idea of a business model is for groups of MDs to pool their dollars to buy CT machines and keep them as busy as they can. Then – since CT scans are now as common as Band Aids – people in lab coats can irradiate the hell out of their patients (ka-ching!) for no medical reason; drive insurance costs through the ozone layer; earn truly serious cash, and – and this is the really cool part – generate repeat customers with a whole new slew of maladies that then require a referral to their country club buddies – cancer specialists. Presto! Capitalism trumps care.

Mammograms: Practically every woman over 40 has been brainwashed into irradiating her breasts on a yearly basis. In the U.S. 10,000 mammograms are performed each day at a cost of about $100 each. 75% of women over the age of 40 report they have had a mammogram in the past year. No need to be a math whiz to suspect these dubious – and frequently treacherous – exams generate stunning volumes of cash.

Mammograms generally do not detect anything until cancer is already present, yet after decades of doctor-encouraged radiation,  the United States always tends to remain in the top 10 breast cancer nations on the planet. And the more we radiate, the more breast cancer our women get. Kind of odd, wouldn’t you say?

One of the largest and most meticulous studies of mammography ever done – involving 90,000 women and lasting 25 years –  has added powerful new doubts about the value of the screening test for women of any age.

The study found that death rates from breast cancer were the same in women who got mammograms as those who did not. The study reaffirmed what we already knew anyway, namely that the screening has serious side effects. At least 20% of cancers found with mammography were no threat to the women’s health and did not need treatment such as chemotherapy, surgery or radiation. But they underwent those procedures anyway.

Doctor Peter Juni, a member of the Swiss Medical Board until recently, states that his concern is  mammography does not reduce the overall death rate from the disease. What it does do is increase over-diagnosis and leads to false findings and unnecessary surgeries. Thus, the study summary:

“It is easy to promote mammography screening if the majority of women believe that it prevents or reduces the risk of getting breast cancer and saves many lives through early detection of aggressive tumors. We would be in favor of mammography screening if these beliefs were valid. Unfortunately, they are not, and we believe that women need to be told so. From an ethical perspective, a public health program that does not clearly produce more benefits than harms is hard to justify. Providing clear, unbiased information, promoting appropriate care, and preventing over-diagnosis and overtreatment would be a better choice.”

Here’s another look:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/health/study-casting-doubt-on-mammograms-effectiveness-is-no-cause-for-panic/article16833250/

*          *          *

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s