Monday, December 21, 2009

Cost vs Care: An Osteo-Conundrum

As we've frequently stated here at IB, health care costs drive health insurance costs; and we've chronicled various examples of how this plays out in the real world. Sometimes, the lessons are readily observable, but sometimes, the conclusions aren't so obvious.

Case in point: Fosomax and Osteoporosis/penia. Does increasing consumers' awareness of a potential problem lead to unreasonably expensive, and perhaps unnecessary, treatment? Does Big Pharma wear a white hat or a black one? Is there necessarily a conflict between ethics and profit motive?

NPR has a fascinating look at how a well-known, and frequently prescribed, medication came to be ubiquitous, and offers insights into how DTC (direct to consumer) advertising can run up demand. It's a little disturbing but, I think, not entirely unfair to either side of the debate (such as it is).

I'd be very interested in our readers' take on this.
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