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Attack on Healthcare by Lawyers

January 15, 2015

This is becoming the newest wave in the attack on healthcare by lawyers. The legal community is extracting billions of dollars from the healthcare system through malpractice and the attacks on drug companies. Treatments and drugs have complications and side effects that are described and known. These problems have a certain incidence, yet the legal community has seized on this phenomenon claiming in essence that the medical system must be perfect and when something goes wrong, someone has to pay and pay BIG. The constant stream of TV commercials are evidence of this process. Within weeks of any medical reports reviewing adverse outcomes, a new national commercial comes out looking for cases. While there are a few cases that represent true impropriety, most are simply ways to improve the legal bottom lines, the same thing this article points out the drug companies are doing. This attack on the system does very little to improve and certainly is not providing any much needed healthcare in this country. The legal community is merely extracting money from the system, money that could be invested in more and improved healthcare.
Drug companies in the US must follow the FDA guidelines for new drug approvals, a process that costs 50 – 100 million dollars. If the drug like the one for Hepatitis C has a very narrow market, the company has to raise the price to recoup their up front costs. This is simple economics. This is made most desperate for these companies by the patent period of 7 years that exists before other companies can begin to make cheaper generics without the cost of research and development. If companies lose this ability, they will simply stop working on new drugs and medical treatment breakthroughs will stall out. There is a clear reason that most of the drug breakthroughs come from the US where companies can afford to get a return on their investment. I would propose that reform is desperately needed in the legal system as it relates to healthcare.
It is most interesting to me that the healthcare debate remains eerily quiet in this area, using only direct malpractice premiums to say that this problem represents <1% of all healthcare costs in the US. What it fails to account for though are the massive indirect costs in labs, X-rays, and procedures performed by physicians to protect against liability and the costs to drug and device companies to defend these legal attacks that are constantly ongoing. Equally ignored in the medical system is Nutrition's role in our current healthcare cost debacle. If we could rewrite the nutrition guidelines for the US and deal with tort reform and legal reform, my guess is we could reduce costs by 60% or more!! Just my opinion…... Dr. Michael Fox, MD.

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