Saturday, April 25, 2009

Constricting Growth of Healthcare Stakeholders : A "Simple Formula" for Mismanaged Care

The US managed care industry proposes a "simple formula" for health care reform that hinges on the reduction by 1% of the annual growth of "all stakeholders in the debate" and indicates it has already started working on trimming its own growth (Source: BioPharma Today). Should BioPharma follow suit?

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The ultimate (and noble) mission of BioPharma tech industries is to create products that diminish human suffering. Growth of these industries is mainly achieved by the production and marketing of successful therapeutic products. If you forcefully cut down by 1% the annual growth of Bio-Pharma technology you jeopardize cures of chronic disease in the same proportion and perpetuate the costs of many chronic illnesses. Such a "solution" is not only economically counterproductive (chronic illness is ultimately more costly than cure) it is also immoral insofar as it favors human suffering. As for the managed care industry's vows to reduce its own growth by 1% : one can suspect that this will be achieved by incremental rationing of care and restricting access to cure; a seasoned way of passing on the costs of irresponsible "simple solutions" to suffering patients.

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Patients are the central stakeholders in the health care debate (although for obvious reasons, their voice is not a loud one). Reducing the "annual growth" of the number of patients by 1% can be done in two ways: by curing more patients through growth of Bio-pharma innovation; or conversely by killing more patients by restricting innovation or rationing access to cure. The US managed care cartel seems to have made its choice!

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