Affordable Healthcare

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

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…

23 Jul: Why are our medical records still being kept on stone tablets?

From Ezra Klein, political blogger and frequent commentator on healthcare reform: I just called UCI Medical Center where most of my health records are stored to see if I could get a copy to take back to DC and transfer to my doctor there. No humans answer the phone, of course, I have to leave a message and wait for a future call back. I am informed, though, that getting the records will entail a $15 “clerical fee” and a per page fee, which, given how many pages can be in records, could prove substantial. Additionally, the request will take 10-14 days to process, and then an undetermined number more to mail. You’re telling me this wouldn’t be a thousand…

20 Jul: Older diabetes drugs are cheaper, effective and have fewer side effects

It appears someone finally decided to take a look at the effectiveness and benefits of older diabetes drugs (such as metformin) compared with newer, more expensive ones (such as Avandia). Dr. Shari Bolen of Johns Hopkins University studied various medical databases and found 216 relevant studies and two systematic reviews. According to Reuters: Older drugs controlled blood sugar levels about as well as the thiazolidinediones [Avandia] did. There were some differences, however, in other effects. Thiazolidinediones were the only drugs that increased HDL “good” cholesterol levels, but they also increased LDL “bad” cholesterol levels. Metformin reduced LDL cholesterol levels, while the other agents appeared to have no effect on cholesterol levels. With the exception of metformin, the drugs generally increased…

05 Feb: Five Questions with Merrill Goozner

Merrill Goozner is one of our heroes. In fact, his 2004 book, The $800 Million Pill, was one of our inspirations for starting eDrugSearch.com. Obviously, ours is a for-profit venture — but we also think we are doing some good by offering consumers an alternative to Big Pharma’s rigged pricing system in the U.S. We recently asked Merrill about his interest in the pharmaceutical industry, his opinion on Canadian imports, and his predictions for the future of our healthcare system. Cary: You’ve covered many, many stories over the course of your career in journalism. What is it about the pharmaceutical industry that has captured and held your interest? Merrill: While attending the Breaux-Thomas commission hearings on Medicare reform on Capitol Hill…

08 Dec: More than half of uninsured cannot afford private coverage.

The Schwitzer health news blog points out: A study in Health Affairs shows that more than half of the nation’s uninsured are ineligible for public programs such as Medicaid but do not have enough resources to purchase coverage themselves. In a Health Affairs news release, lead author Lisa Dubay, now a research scientist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said, “Sometimes you hear arguments that all but a small minority of the uninsured could either purchase coverage or are already eligible for assistance. But our study shows that the affordability problem is far more serious than that. This study was released more than a week ago and I have seen very little news coverage of it. There…

06 Dec: People forced to go overseas for affordable healthcare

Here’s an interesting story that describes how the rising cost of healthcare forced more than 500,000 Americans last year to seek medical care from overseas. The story talks about three Americans who saved $140,000 (even after travel expenses) by having their surgeries in New Delhi. This same group of uninsured and underinsured has also decided to outsource their prescription medications. As discussed here, many uninsured and underinsured have decided to buy their prescription medications from Canada in order to cut back on their personal healthcare costs. The federal government claims that safety is the reason that they don’t support these options to reduce the cost of personal healthcare. John Terhune — who went to New Delhi to have his hip…