Sunday, February 04, 2007

Don't Follow the Drugs; Follow the Drug Money

There is an interesting piece in the Tennessean this morning about the over-medicating of our state. While reporter Jennifer Brooks seems to deal with many of the dynamics that makes our state 47th in the prescription-prone health of its residents, she seems to ignore the dirty details, like the somewhat incestuous cycles between pharmaceutical companies and doctors (anybody who sits in a hospital or doctors' office long enough has seen the pharmaceutical reps dashing in and out with their cases-on-wheels), health lobbyists and state legislators, and the insurance industry with each of the others. Brooks' piece seems to shift blame to demanding patients and the poor, which I'm sure is exactly how the health marketeers want it.

Why Ms. Brooks failed to do some behind-the-scenes dots-connecting, I'll never know. She quotes Republican State Representative Joey Hensley (an MD himself) as saying the drug dump is not such a bad thing because we have a huge amount of sick people relative to other states. Did Brooks even bother to notice that Medical Doctor Hensley received one-third of his 2006 campaign contributions from medical care lobbyists, including some in the pharmaceutical industry? If so, she failed to let on. But if an ordinary stiff like me can find that info, why can't she? Why follow the drugs and not the drug money?

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