More Conflicts of Interest in health care–The Health Care Bubble demands attention

The report that Dr. Frederick Goodwin has received financial support (money) from a drug company for touting their products is not shocking or for that matter the most onerous of conflicts of interest in our health care system. Consider practitioner’s tendency to do procedures for which they benefit financially; insurers declining to cover services thereby increasing profits; deceptive advertising that doesn’t fully reveal the risks benefits and costs of a product; technological innovators (drug companies included) who tout marginal advances and then charge a fortune for them.

In regard to Dr. Goodwin, we’re not talking small amounts of money. He is reported to have received $329,000 for promoting the drug Lamictal and probably more for his “other” valuable services. The article also noted that “Dr. Charles B. Nemeroff of Emory University, an influential psychiatric researcher, earned more than $2.8 million in consulting arrangements with drug makers from 2000 to 2007, failed to report at least $1.2 million of that income to his university and violated federal research rules.” Guess who pays?

Using the analogy of our current financial mess, we have a bubble in health care caused by the deregulation. Each player in the health care system is corrupted (i.e.has a major conflict of interest). Deceptive practices promote ridiculously priced products, often with marginal efficacy, that the health care non system cannot afford. These conflicts of interest drive utilization and inefficiency without significantly improving outcomes. Pricing of products and services have increased exponentially while health care statistics, compared to other industrialized countries, are mediocre. The goal of the health care industrial complex appears to be to assure profit, not wide access to quality affordable health care.

In summary, the industry has lost interest in prudent management, value and efficiency in order to increase short term profits. Sound familiar?

We need more than disclosure of conflicts of interest to correct the system.

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