Are we broken?
All signs point to yes: the obesity “problem”, the diabetes epidemic, Sicko at the box office. Yet we risk developing psychological immunity to the spiraling health care problems we face, if for no other reason than saturation. Let’s put our health care problems in perspective.
10. The pharmaceutical industry’s profit margin is six times greater than the average profit margin for all other industries.
The average Fortune 500 company can expect profit margins hovering around 3 per cent. Heck, if national growth beats 3 per cent it’s considered a swimmingly good economy. The pharmaceutical industry, however, consistently posts upwards of 18 per cent profit.
9. Twice as much money is spent on marketing drugs as developing and testing them.
Pharmaceutical companies spend over 15 billion dollars each year marketing their drugs (about half of that is in the form of free samples to doctors). About 7 billion a year is spent on R&D. It gets better: roughly one-fifth of employees work in R&D; two-fifths work in marketing.
8. The AMA is a sell-out organization.
The American Medical Association earns about 20 million dollars a year by selling information about doctors to the pharmaceutical industry.
7. Half of personal bankruptcies are due to unmanageable health care costs.
And three-fourths of those are with individuals who have existing health care coverage. Fortunately, our government has made it much harder to declare bankruptcy, so that totally fixes everything! Hooray!
6. America is one of the only industrialized nations that does not have nationalized health care.
Contrary to popular opinion that nationalized health care would create a wild ‘n crazy bureaucracy, this is patently and demonstrably false. Nationalized health care has already been successfully and efficiently implemented in most industrialized nations. In fact, single-payer national systems cost half as much as our glorious version. No more million-dollar salaries to CEOs or oceans of paperwork to deal with all the deductibles, HMOs, and premiums. In fact, 15 cents of every American health care dollar goes to simply handling all the paperwork of our patchwork system.
5. America is one of the sickest nations on earth.
Contrary to popular opinion that American health care is the best and Americans enjoy relatively long lives and good health, we are among the very sickest, fattest, shortest-lived of industrialized nations. In fact, our life spans and infant mortality statistics more closely resemble that of many developing nations. We spend the most money on drugs, the most money on surgeries, the most money on total health care, the most money on health insurance premiums, and we have the highest lost productivity costs of any nation. Period. You know who we beat? Latvia.
4. 18,000 Americans die every year because they do not have health insurance coverage.
50 million Americans have no health insurance. At least that many more are under-insured. We exacerbate our health care costs: Americans who do not have adequate care wait until routine health problems become severe, thereby greatly increasing both deaths and costs.
3. The pharmaceutical industry spends hundreds of millions of dollars lobbying Congress every year.
Make no mistake: the pharmaceutical industry is a business. If your business could reap profit margins five or six times greater than any other industry, you’d fight for power, too. Through brilliant tactics like direct-to-consumer advertising, billions in free drug samples, and aggressive manipulation of medical practitioners, the pharmaceutical industry is an incredibly successful one. Big Pharma spends more on marketing than Budweiser and Pepsi.
2. The pharmaceutical industry works aggressively to let people die in order to protect profits.
Through furious lobbying and litigation, the pharmaceutical industry keeps generic drugs out of the hands of impoverished seniors and lifesaving drugs out of the mouths of millions of Africans and Asians desperately in need of care. The pharmaceutical industry does not care about you. The industry cares about introducing new blockbuster drugs – which do not even have to be compared against prior drugs that treat the same health issue – for profits. This is a business, like any other business, and drug companies are simply protecting and promoting their interests.
1. The pharmaceutical industry creates illnesses and corresponding drugs to treat those illnesses.
Watch this incredible video: Big Bucks, Big Pharma.
The pharmaceutical industry markets and advertises and lobbies and sues because it works. We are a pill-popping culture being successfully manipulated by emotional, irrational marketing.
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