Another reason patients die in a “me”-based healthcare system

Categories: Affordable Healthcare, Drug Safety, FDA | Tags: , , | Posted On:

Maggie Mahar, author of Money-Driven Medicine: The Real Reason Health Care Costs So Much, argues at TPMCafe that our “me”-oriented healthcare system makes it difficult to permit terminal patients to purchase potentially life-saving drugs that have not yet been approved by the FDA.

Writes Mahar:

A recent study shows that fully 42% of the products that make it to the third, and final phase of FDA trials ultimately fail because they prove ineffective and/or unsafe.

How do so many lemons get so far? The study suggests that once a drug company has invested a certain amount of money “and reserachers have invested a certain amount of time and ego” it becomes difficult to admit failure. Moreover, as long as investors think a drugmaker has a new product in the pipeline, the stock will stay afloat.

Meanwhile, Wall Street hype about a “life-saving drug” tends to spill over into the media where it fans faith in the miracle drug, a phenomenon I’ve written about here in a story about a prostate cancer vaccine…

So physicians … have reason to fear that if patients could buy the drug, it could become difficult to mount the full-scale randomized trials needed to establish firm evidence of a drug’s efficacy and safety.

eDrugSearch - save on medication costs and get free drug coupons

If drug-makers are allowed to sell experimental products at a profit, who will buy cancer drugs at $50,000 a pop? Wealthy patients. Others will have to wait for FDA approval.

Meanwhile, if an individual who uses the drug outside of carefully monitored trials dies, there is a real risk, as a drugmaker in this WSJ story points out, that the FDA will halt randomized trials until the company can investigate what happened. This means more delay for the less affluent.

In the end, the questions the debate raises remind me of the point Michael Moore made in “Sicko”: In other countries, people think about healthcare collectively, in terms of “we.” In the U.S. we think of healthcare individually “in terms of me”. This is one reason why our heatlhcare system is broken.

About Cary Byrd

eDrugSearch founder, Cary Byrd, has been called an “e-health innovator” by MarketIntellNow, interviewed by top pharmaceutical industry journalists, invited to Matthew Holt’s Health 2.0 Conference and a Consumer Report's health summit, and highlighted on numerous health blogs. - Search. Compare. Save.

0 thoughts on “Another reason patients die in a “me”-based healthcare system

  • Which is broken more, this health care system or our own society?

    Read the book by this lady you mentioned. And reasons remained unknown for lack of approval, but the maker probably had something to do with it.

Leave a Reply

Join Our Free Newsletter

Please enter email id

Get a weekly dose of money-saving tips on your medications, drug side effects alerts, drug interaction warnings, free prescription coupons, late-breaking safety information and much, much more!

Share via
Copy link