U.S. medicine is crazy | Arkansas Blog

Sunday, December 8, 2013

U.S. medicine is crazy

Posted By on Sun, Dec 8, 2013 at 11:22 AM

click to enlarge lucentisavastin_1_.jpg

An article today in the Washington Post is just one more chapter in the book of the screwed up American medical system. It's about two eye drugs, Avastin and Lucentis, virtually the same, both equally effective. One costs $50. The other costs $2,000. Guess which is prescribed a half million times a year?

Genentech, a division of the Roche Group, makes both products but reaps far more profit when it sells the more expensive drug. Although Lucentis is about 40 times as expensive as Avastin to buy, the cost of producing the two drugs is similar, according to scientists familiar with the drugs and the industry.

Doctors, meanwhile, may benefit when they choose the more expensive drug. Under Medicare repayment rules for drugs given by physicians, they are reimbursed for the average price of the drug plus 6 percent. That means a drug with a higher price may be easier to sell to doctors than a cheaper one. In addition, Genentech offers rebates to doctors who use large volumes of the more expensive drug.

The article estimates that the drug is costing Medicare an extra $1 billion a year. 

The story is just the latest in the year's litany of what is wrong with out healthcare system. In February, Time magazine had a story on the illogic of the hospital chargemaster and the wide difference hospitals charge for the same procedure and in November the Journal of the American Medical Association found that despite the fact that Americans pay much more for their medical care than peer nations, they are sicker. 

The Harvard Business Review in October published an opinion piece that the system can be fixed:

We must move away from a supply-driven health care system organized around what physicians do and toward a patient-centered system organized around what patients need. We must shift the focus from the volume and profitability of services provided—physician visits, hospitalizations, procedures, and tests—to the patient outcomes achieved. And we must replace today’s fragmented system, in which every local provider offers a full range of services, with a system in which services for particular medical conditions are concentrated in health-delivery organizations and in the right locations to deliver high-value care.


Tags: , ,


Sign up for the Daily Update email
Favorite

Comments (7)

Showing 1-7 of 7

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-7 of 7

Add a comment

More by Leslie Newell Peacock

  • "Delta Exhibition" winners announced

    The Arkansas Arts Center announced the winners of its 60th annual "Delta Exhibition" last night: A slideshow.
    • May 25, 2018
  • Philip Mann to leave symphony after 2018-19 season

    The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra announced in a press release today that the next season of the symphony will be Maestro Philip Mann's last. The ASO will give Mann the title of "Music Director Laureate" and hopes that "Mann will be able to continue his highly successful relationship with the ASO as he grows his international conducting presence and broadens his role within classical music."
    • May 24, 2018
  • 'The Beyond,' works by O'Keeffe and others, to open at Crystal Bridges

    Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art goes above and into "The Beyond" with an exhibition of 36 works by Georgia O'Keeffe spanning her career and works by contemporary artists whose sensibilities hearken to O'Keeffe's. The show opens Saturday, May 26.
    • May 24, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Women's March planned in Arkansas to mark Trump inauguration

    Speaking of Donald Trump and in answer to a reader's question: There will be a women's march in Arkansas on Jan. 21, the day after inauguration, as well as the national march planned in Washington.
    • Dec 30, 2016
  • Greenbrier's paddling of student protester goes worldwide

    The paddling of Greenbrier High School students who joined in te national school walkout Wednesday has produced headlines worldwide.
    • Mar 17, 2018
  • Trump immigration protest at LR: Quick and fierce

    It was not even 24 hours ago that Sophia Said, director of the Interfaith Center; City Director Kathy Webb and others decided to organize a protest today of Donald Trump's executive order that has left people from Muslim countries languishing in airports or unable to come to the US at all — people with visas, green cards,a  post-doc graduate student en route to Harvard, Google employees abroad, families. I got the message today before noon; others didn't find out until it was going on. But however folks found out, they turned out in huge numbers, more than thousand men, women and children, on the grounds of the state Capitol to listen to speakers from all faiths and many countries.
    • Jan 29, 2017

Most Viewed

  • The Tom Cotton Big Lie open line

    Here’s the Saturday open line with some info on Tom Cotton's attack on Clarke Tucker, apparently viewed as a threat to French Hill's re-election from the 2nd District.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: The Tom Cotton Big Lie open line

    • NVR, I was a pharmacist until recently so I already know about poison. ;-) But…

    • on May 26, 2018
  • Re: The Tom Cotton Big Lie open line

    • "my crackpot musings" Never fear, you're not a Rapert-level crackpot. Perhaps HE'S a simulant who's…

    • on May 26, 2018
  • Re: The Tom Cotton Big Lie open line

    • Olphart--I haven't read that book, but I read one a few years ago on the…

    • on May 26, 2018

Slideshows

 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation