Advertising and Health Care–What’s a lay person to think?

Our opposition party health care plan, if you can find it, seems to favor free market approaches and free emergency room access.

Such a vague “plan” leaves moot the issue of the influence of Madison Avenue on patient decisions. Drug companies, for example, spend tens of billions of dollars on advertisements to influence patients. They must have a significant effect, how else to explain their continuing and increasing prevalence.

It’s therefore concerning, particularly if you think markets are the answer, that physicians and institutions use ads to overstate their capabilities and results.

Medicynical Note: We live in a manipulated world. There is really no free and open market. In health care. Most people cannot hope to be fully informed and understand their medical problems, treatments and options. The internet has sources of widely varying quality. To understand this, simply Google (or Bing) a diagnosis, and try to sort through and find the evidence based information.

Ineffective and modestly effective approaches are being actively marketed for use at horrific cost to the individual and the system. Hopefully this will be reformed.


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