Hi, everybody. Dr. Cobb back with you.
Hope you’re having a fantastic week.
This week we’re going to do a little bit of a public service announcement.
If you just want to jump directly to the article I’m providing, go right to the end of the video. You can click on the link and go read. Basically I’m not talking about Ebola today. I’m actually talking about pharmaceutical companies and their interaction with the medical profession.
Now to set this in place, I need you to understand that I am not in any way trying to focus derogatory attention toward the medical profession or the chiropractic professional or any professional. I believe that the vast majority of practitioners out there are doing their absolute best to serve their patients and clients. I also want us to realize that at times we have to look at the big picture around the world. I don’t do this often, but the information that was just released a couple of days ago I think should make you think. I want you to read it and then I’m going to give you some ideas about how to take that information and use it practically to keep your family and yourself healthier in your interactions with your doctor.
As a result of the Health Care Reform Act, I believe of 2010, the U.S. government just released a big report detailing pharmaceutical companies and how much they are paying to individual physicians and teaching hospitals. Now the report covers the last 5 months. Now I want you to put this into perspective. It covers the last 5 months of 2013. In the last 5 months of 2013 pharmaceutical companies paid physicians and research hospitals around 3.4 billion with a ‘B’ dollars. 3.4 billion dollars in 5 months. If you go and read the report, there’s a lot of great stuff in there. Meaning a lot of the money went to research drugs. It helped fund research trials.
When you start to look at it, that 3.4 billion was split out around 550,000 doctors and about 1350, 1360 teaching hospitals. It’s still a lot of money. Now the reason this is of concern to me is that over the years I’ve always wondered how advertising influences the health of our nation. We know that food companies spend billions of dollars a year. Figuring the United States I believe, last statistic I read was around 30 to 35 billion dollars a year was spent by fast food advertisers. The reason that companies spend money on advertising is obviously it helps sell their stuff.
Whenever you see vast amounts of money being spent, I think to some degree honestly you have to look at it and go “Is that influencing the buying process around the world?” In the United States we have lots of pharmaceutical companies spending money. Not only talking to doctors and hospitals but also speaking to the general public. When you look at research around this it does seem to have an influence on buying behavior. If a patient comes in to see a doctor. Again, you can look these statistics up. Doctors are actually often twice as likely to prescribe a drug if a client or patient has looked at a TV commercial and said “Hey, do you think this is for me?” Now that may sound a little bit crazy, but again it’s just this vast market influence on all of us because doctors are people too.
Whenever you see this report, like I said, I want you to read it. I just want you to think about it in the grand scheme of things. My advice in what to do with this information is give yourself permission that when you go to see your physician, to ask questions. Doctors are really rushed these days and I know it’s often tough, but write down your questions before you go in. Maybe you’re being prescribe a certain medication or something. It’s completely appropriate to ask “Hey, Doc, is there an alternative? Is there any that you would like better or is this one just top of mind for you?” I think that’s a really reasonable question to ask because ultimately you want your doctor to work with you in the way that he would work with himself or his family and so I think again, reasonable to consider.
Another thing. If you have elderly parents or if you’re a professional, you work with a lot of elderly clients. One of the things that I always recommended whenever I was in practice and working that population, was take a list of all of your medications into the doctor periodically. Maybe schedule an appointment once a year or something. Go in and say “Listen, this is all the stuff that I’m taking. Do these all seem reasonable to you? Are there other alternatives and what would be the advantage?”
Those are just a couple ideas I want you to take away from this because, like I said, whenever you look at where moneys being spent, you know it’s influencing buying and selling behavior. Read the report, take it for what it’s worth. As I said, use it hopefully as a catalyst to think a little bit more intently about what you’re being given, why you may be given it and are you really prepared to ask the questions that you need to, to protect your own health and the health of your family. That’s it. I hope you have a great week. If you have any questions or comments about this, let us know. Thanks.