Healthcare Canada vs U.S. now big pharma getting involved

I was trying to hold back but now that it looks like the attempts in the U.S. to get meaningful healthcare to those who can't afford it looks like it is seriously being threatened, I have to throw in my two cents. I have worked as sub-specialized ophthalmologist (glaucoma) in both the U.S. and Canada and have seen the system as both practitioner and patient on both sides of the border. Now I fear for healthcare in the U.S.

I totally agree with an article that was published today in the Globe and Mail in which they refute an advertisement playing on TV in the U.S. in which a Canadian patient claims she could not got timely treatment for a lethal brain. It turns out that it was actually a benign tumor, and, as such, higher priority was given to patients with malignant conditions. Rationalized use of resources as opposed to the U.S. where there are perhaps too many resources searching for patients.

Today comes news that 'big pharma' is now entering, or is this continuing their interference with, the debate on healthcare in the U.S. as reported on NPR. are afraid that with 72% of current medications being generic, that the pharmaceutical industry is going to be wiped out as they will not have enough money to conduct the important research. This is the age-old argument that they have used to pretend they are not in the business of making massive profits but merely to save the world. In fact, as discussed in two important publications from former New England Journal of Medicine editors, the money big pharma claims to use for R & D is really almost entirely used for marketing and hidden on their balance sheets under R & D. Also, as discussed in these same two books by Marcia Angell and Jerome Kassirer, big pharma has not made any significant contributions to research in more than a decade. Rather, they buy-up small companies that discover drugs or bring to market drugs developed at academic centers. Even with these, there has really been no drug innovation in more than a decade that has really made ANY difference. Much of the time, big pharma is looking for ways to find new uses for existing drugs to extend their patents in off-label uses and also in suing generic manufacturers just so they can have exclusive rights to their own patented drug, while the case awaits a court date (the generic cannot be released if there is a court-date waiting.)

Please, somebody, talk some sense into the U.S. healthcare debate.