I used to really enjoy going to the kind of tiny circuses that tour the small towns in rural areas. Much of my adult life has been as a wandering gypsy doctor through such areas and it seems that many of the little towns had little to offer and went wild when the circus came to town – no matter how modest the offerings were.
Of course I had experience with the really big shows. When I was a kid my folks took me once to the Greatest Show On Earth — Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey — where I think now the plethora of amusements in three rings is probably best suited for those who really enjoy their attention deficit disorder.
But it was in a tiny field in France by a beach on the English Channel that I saw a lovely one ring circus. I was most impressed with the lion tamer — a person of African descent, large and muscled and handsome — but I was close enough to see each time he put his head in the lion’s mouth, and he did it multiple times.
The old, indifferent lion had no teeth, but the effect was still thrilling.
The image was vivid, and I have not thought of it for many years.
I think of it when I hear talk about the Food and Drug administration (FDA).
The FDA has no teeth, and as you can tell from the interview below, is simply
I used to say I was not a political animal. Pharmacology has become political. Not my fault; that’s for sure.
Marijuana has suffered a legal setback. This has not been covered by a lot of the media. I had a heck of a time finding it. Read more on Rescheduling of Marijuana Suffers Legal Setback…
I’ve got my outrage in motion and I’m blowing the whistle on one of the dirtiest tricks the big pharmaceutical companies play on us.
They have a technique called “Seeding Trials” that masquerade as drug testing (clinical trials) but are really nothing more than marketing surveys they can use to get around government regulations about promoting their drugs for alternative uses (also know as “off-label” uses).
But I’m printing this news in my private newsletter — not in my public blog.
The good news, you can read this for free. All you need to do is sign up for my free newsletter (that means “free of charge” as well as “Spam-Free”).
Just type your name and email address in that little box in the upper right hand corner of this page to opt-in. Of course, you can opt-out at any time also.
But I’m hoping that you find me so fascinating that you will continue to read.
The news I print in this blog is pretty general and the items in the newsletter are more personal and specific.
I think you will find it fascinating to see into the world of medicine, science, politics, government and even culture.
The newsletter will go out by email in a day or two … so please sign on now and take this journey with me. I promise to make it worth your time.
Take care and be happy!
Have you been told that you have high cholesterol? Or at least that you have to watch what you eat so you don’t get high cholesterol?
Of course you have! This is like a mantra – every health care professional and the writers who cover healthcare join in the party line. Everywhere you turn, it seems like everybody is on the “low-cholesterol” bandwagon.
Everybody? Hmm … (looking around) Well, there are exceptions.
Pardon me while I clear my throat and say in a loud, confident voice (and – might I add – a well-informed, scientifically and medically educated voice) – Bunk. Read more on ‘Tis The Season For Bad Dietary Advice…
Why would a pharmaceutical manufacturer want to change a drug from prescription to over the counter (OTC)?
Well, one thing I’ve learned in my lifetime is – When the Question is “WHY?” then the answer is “MONEY.”
Oh, sure – in our economically-ignorant country, many people think – “Whee! I can buy any drug I want without spending money on a doctor’s appointment and without having to get a prescription! ”
These people are prime candidates for the Darwin Awards.
Yes, believe it or not, the “RX to OTC Switch” can actually HURT patients.
Drug patents expire relatively quickly, competitors are waiting at the gates with generic equivalents, and when a drug becomes OTC, there is a chance that insurance does not cover it.
This makes insurance companies and government programs (Medicare, Medicaid/Medi-Cal, etc.) very happy. They are so strapped for cash that even paying for a cheaper generic is a strain on the budget. When this kind of money is involved, you can bet that lobbyists are pressuring the government to ease their restrictions so that drugs once considered risky enough to warrant a prescription so that not just anybody can have access will be available to anyone who can walk into a drug store or click on a shopping cart on the web.
Patients will have to pay for OTC meds in cash money and doctors usually do not bother prescribing an equivalent drug. If they do not already know of an equivalent, they will probably — and generally do — just tell a patient to go buy it over the counter.
A patient who cannot afford the drug will go off it.
OK – so what’s the big deal if a cold medicine, allergy remedy or hair-restoring pill is no longer a prescription drug?
I used to be the darling of the pharmaceutical industry. They gave me contracts to test their new drugs. They hired me to travel the country and speak at meetings of medical groups. I don’t think their current opinion is quite so flattering. I’m often asked, “Why do you hate prescription drugs? Why are you against drug companies?” And the answer is, “I’m NOT!” I strongly believe in using prescription drugs made by legitimate pharmaceutical companies in certain cases. In fact, I insist on it. If a patient who is aware of my facility in using natural treatments could do better with a prescription, that’s what I advise. If they refuse, I may decide to work with them on a second-best treatment, if it doesn’t run risk of serious illness or death. Otherwise, I tell them to find somebody else to give them natural treatments. I won’t risk their health or life. What I oppose is the politics involved with pharmaceutical companies and some of the things they have done. Read more on Why Big Pharma Gets A Bad Reputation…
“Innovative Health Care Programs?”
This seems to be the era of backwards-definitions. “No Child Left Behind” means a diminished budget and fewer programs for child education. “Compassionate Conservatism” means cutting programs for the unemployed, the medical indigent and the hungry. “Strategic Defense” means a full-speed-ahead attack.
The “Innovative Programs” article talks about are mostly supplied by The Greenfield group, where improved medical care is provided if people fork in some cash to get it. Also “Harvard Vanguard,” who loves to be the first to do things.
Since there is nothing but Harvard hospitals on the reality TV show Boston Med, I wonder if the Harvard Public relations people have descended to some all-invasive biological state, to infiltrate all media, and to try to get us to believe that they do things medically and surgically that are more advanced than other providers. Read more on Walls and Barriers To Providing Health Care…
I’m often asked for my opinion of and reaction to our new healthcare reform.
My immediate reaction is to correct the concept that this legislation has anything to do with healthcare. It is more properly insurance reform.
I stopped accepting insurance payments in 1996. In the intervening years, I’ve successfully operated a cash-only practice and in the past few years have been drawn into coaching other doctors in how to operate such a practice and consulting with people who are tired of insurance tyranny.
The term bandied about in the recent debates about healthcare reform is “access.”
The talking heads — both media and governmental — claimed a large number of people were uninsured. I recall numbers in the range of 40 million, and I’ve heard such numbers debunked.
Read more on Access Is A Null And Void Concept…
There was one woman who gave me a bad time and to my knowledge, never did anything I recommended, although she came to see me for many months. As a matter of fact, I do not think that I ever figured out why she continued to see me for many months. It was back in my very first practice after I left academics, for I had left the “honor” that went with a University professorship thinking I could actually make some money.
I had walked into someone else’s insurance practice, and I was on all their panels, and I knew the patients would love me at least as much as they had loved her, for she was nowhere near as charming as I was.
Read more on Healthcare reform — Blame the doctors…