Marketing Disguised As “education” Driving Up the Costs of Health Care

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If you still need convincing that our health care system needs a public option, take a look at some of the testimony coming out of the Senate congressional hearing:

Drug company funding of continuing medical education for doctors has become one of the most lucrative ways for pharmaceutical firms to promote and sell their products, adding to the enormous cost of health care in the United States, according to testimony Wednesday before a U.S. Senate hearing.

“CME (continuing medical education) has become an insidious vehicle for aggressive promotion of drugs and medical devices,” said Steven Nissen, chairman of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic. “CME has largely evolved into marketing, cleverly disguised as education.”

Nissen was one of several experts to testify on conflicts of interest in doctor education activity before the Senate Special Committee on Aging, led by Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.). In questioning from Kohl, Nissen said the U.S. spends, on a per capita basis, $90 billion a year more than other industrialized countries, largely as a result of prescribing habits promoted by doctor education activities. If those costs were eliminated, it could fund a major portion of health care reform, he said.

PHARMA has a death grip on our current system, and if Congress doesn’t pass a public option to help break that death grip, no reform will work.

The primary goal of PHARMA and private insurance companies is to make MONEY. And until the primary goal of our health care system is actually for people to be, you know, healthy, we need government involvement through a public option to both ensure everyone has coverage, and to rein in drug costs and poor practices by doctors that drive up costs.

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