Last week while reading a medical journal I came across a statement that stopped me in my tracks. It read, “The US, which has less than five percent of the world’s population, accounts for 50% of pharmaceutical sales.” And it was only last night while watching Nightline that the head of the US general accounting office was expressing grave concern that the new Medicare drug benefits will bankrupt the US government.
Our medical system is in need of an overhaul. Probably the first place to start would be with the pharmaceutical industry. It is only in the US and New Zealand that direct-to-consumer advertising is permitted. Surveys have shown that doctors accede to the request of the patient 45% to 85% of the time.
The power of pharmaceutical companies to affect health care extends beyond their advertising propaganda . In 2004, the industry employed 1274 lobbyists to influence federal legislation, according to USA Today: ” more lobbyists than members of Congress.”
The obvious question is who really is benefiting from all these drug prescriptions?