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“We’ve had an opportunity in oncology analytics to review hospital pricing, from various hospital pricing systems around the country. It’s amazing how much variation there is. We’ve seen hundred dollar drugs priced at $10,000. We’ve seen $500 drugs priced at $40,000. The difference is extraordinary. It seams the hospital systems can determine whatever price they want,” says Big Pharma: Market Failure a documentary film by Vince Mondillo, Richard Master, Wendell Potter and Henry Nevison.


Richard Master is the CEO of MCS Industries, a company he built  in the past 35 years from the ground up, going from zero to over a million dollars in sales. They deal in picture frames and mirrors, something everyone uses. The skyrocketing cost of health care led him to begin a series of documentaries, exposing what is happening. His business has many employees, some of which have been working for him for over 30 years. As healthcare has changed over the last 10 years, his business has tightened their belt, reduced production costs, and streamlined the company but the rising healthcare costs have hurt them so much that it is costing him $4 an hour per employee more for the same healthcare they received 10 years ago. They have been brought to their knees, watching every penny of overhead costs to accommodate. When they try to raise their product prices to absorb their increasing expenses on healthcare costs, their customers reject the product. He put his story in the documentary Fix It: Healthcare at the Tipping Point, one of a three documentary series explaining the problems and profits of healthcare costs which are crippling the nation, and his own business.  

The rates keep increasing with the profits going to the pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies. The pinch is being felt in a painful way. “Insurance companies are able to charge older people three times as much as younger people for the exact same policy,” they say

 They found, “If a company has a monopoly, a patent, on a drug, if they choose to put an $84,000 price tag on it and to not budge at all, that’s their rite.”

The situation can be seen clearly through specific drugs. The Oxford Journal reported June 6, 2014, Gilead’s manufacturing cost of  Sovaldi was $135 yet it was priced at $84,000. Walter Tsou, MD, Professor of Health Policy from the University of Pennsylvania says Sovaldi is a drug used for Hepatitis C, and can actually provide a cure for Hepatitis C. The problem is, people can’t afford it. 

The mark-up on the medicines are creating a black hole, sucking in small businesses and individual people who are going bankrupt and losing their homes due to the cost of healthcare. “Of a million bankruptcies in the United States, over 60 percent are associated with medical conditions. The great majority of those are people who have health insurance,” for example.

In Tricks of the Pharma Industry, they had patients each go to five different doctors telling the doctor the same symptoms and issues. Every time the same person received different path of treatment. They said, “The preparations prescribed by the doctors are not cheap. What patients probably don’t suspect is doctors get a cut from the sale of the products they prescribe. During the course of this test we found the doctors issued a kind of prescription that gives them a share in profits. The doctor gets a percentage of the proceeds. The amounts were quite considerable, between 15 and 25 percent. The figures are even higher when the product is sold in the surgery itself. Margins of 40 percent are common.”

In 1971 healthcare costs were 7 percent of the economy. In 2015 health care costs were 18 percent of the economy. This effects spending. “There has been a reduction in consumer purchasing power that can be directly associated to the increase in medical costs in the country,” they say.

Marketplace said, “Health care premiums for 2018 (were) set to go up by as much as 50 percent. Topping the list is Georgia, with rates that are 57 percent higher than last year.”

The bigger concern is many of the courses of treatment don’t offer the results we think. Gerald Gartlehner was the epidemiologist who was the main author of a meta analysis comparing the effectiveness of second generation antidepressants. He found, “None of them are actually very effective. Antidepressants are not efficacious drugs. Nearly one in two patients doesn’t respond at all to the first course of treatment.” Yet these medicines have very serious side effects including suicide.

Meta analysis itself isn’t solid. They say, “The studies they cover are very tendentious. They have an agenda in favor of one therapy or another. Ultimately many meta analysis are supported, even sponsored, by special interest groups pursuing these objectives.”

First responders are seeing the situation first hand. More and more people are taking opiates to ease their stress and pain. “All over our nation first responders are strained with crimes linked to opioid addiction,” says Do No Harm, a documentary on the dirty side of medical profits and drugs regarding opiates.

Minor Allen, Chief of Police in Hazard, Kentucky says, “The majority of our cases are all related to narcotics in some way or another.” He further says, “People have it in their head that there’s a pill for something. Regardless of whatever my pain is, there’s something else out there that’s going to help me.”

We have grown up with the understanding that doctors are always right. We trust them. With the inundation of advertisements for drugs we have the feeling that we can not be healthy unless we are on something. The truth is, pharmaceuticals are a business – sales are imperative for the business to survive. We are living in a time where there are two pharmaceutical company lobbyists for every congressman.

Peter C. Whybrow, MD is the Director of Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior says, “Prescriptions drugs are now causing more deaths than car accidents.”

Joel Hale, PhD, Professor, Pharmaceutical Economics and Ploicy, USC says, “Big pharma is one of the most powerful lobby groups in Washington. They have armies of lobbiests that they use to reward congresspeople, to reward senators. Most of it is done legally and above board. There’s also dark money from political action committees and other organizations that we really don’t know about.”

It’s no surprise the suicide rate of doctors is the highest of any profession, says WebMD.

 

*Nourishing Plot is written by Becky Plotner, ND, traditional naturopath, CGP, D.PSc. who sees clients in Rossville, Georgia. She is a Board Certified Naturopathic Doctor, through The American Naturopathic Medical Association and works as a Certified GAPS Practitioner who sees clients in her office, Skype and phone. She has been published in Wise Traditions, spoken at two Weston A. Price Conferences, Certified GAPS Practitioner Trainings, has been on many radio shows, television shows and writes for Nourishing Plot. Since her son was delivered from the effects of autism (Asperger’s syndrome), ADHD, bipolar disorder/manic depression, hypoglycemia and dyslexia, through food, she continued her education specializing in Leaky Gut and parasitology through Duke University, finishing with distinction. She is a Chapter Leader for The Weston A. Price Foundation. becky.nourishingplot@hotmail.com

“GAPS™ and Gut and Psychology Syndrome™ are the trademark and copyright of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. The right of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Patent and Designs Act 1988.

 

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