To me, it seems that if a treatment is going to put you in bankruptcy, beating a terminal disease diagnosis is almost like a Pyrrhic victory. You survive the disease, but you end up in bankruptcy. And that’s not even taking into account any side effects or injuries that you may have sustained from your treatments.
I was looking at some figures for conventional cancer treatments, or mainstream cancer treatments. I say this because there are some newer developments in cancer treatment. One of the most promising from conventional oncology is immunotherapy. They appear to be getting better results from some of them. But unfortunately, there are still some serious side effects from some of them.
But even more perplexing to me was the pricing information I found about a few of them. I didn’t do an exhaustive study of immunotherapy drug pricing, but the little information I found was disconcerting, to say the least. I found that the cost for Keytruda was $150,000 per year(!). And there was also a regimen from Bristol-Myers Squibb for a Opdivo-Yervoy combo that was (on average) $256,000 per year.
Even if we were in a great economy (which we aren’t), this is a boatload of money that most people don’t have stashed away under the mattress or in their safe deposit box. What was infuriating to me was that for that Opdivo-Yervoy combo, the extension of life by using this mix instead of chemo was 90 days of extra life expectancy. I’m sure the chemotherapy prices are similar to these, but 90 extra days of life just doesn’t really sound like a ‘game changer’ to me. Now if they told me I had 10-20 years of extra life expectancy, now that’s something to get more excited about. But I guess that when conventional cancer treatments don’t really do all that good, an extra 90 days of life is a big deal. There’s definitely something wrong with the oncology picture when an extra 90 days of life expectancy is a big deal.
Like I’ve always said, there’s a difference between looking for a cancer cure that works, and looking for a cancer cure that will be extremely profitable for Big Pharma. The current Big Pharma paradigm does not include any cancer treatment that:
a) isn’t highly profitable to Big Pharma,
b) isn’t under Big Pharma control,
c) would jeopardize Big Pharma profits.
So understand these points and you’ll know why they will never find anything that isn’t a pharmaceutical drug that is a treatment (or a cure) for any disease, especially something as profitable as cancer or diabetes.
(NaturalNews) Corruption and greed have been longstanding issues within the healthcare industry. Kickbacks and rewards for doctors, along with industry monopolies, have contributed significantly to this problem. Many people avoid going to the doctor until it’s nearly too late because they are afraid they will go bankrupt just for visiting the hospital or going to their doctor’s office. Many people are not even sure they can trust their doctors to do what is actually best for them anymore.
Many of these financial forces, which are causing an uptick in care costs for everyone, are kept out of the public eye, and doctors may sometimes not even be aware of them. Dr. Cory Michael writes that many doctors in the hospital system lack a critical understanding of the mechanisms by which medical costs are generated, or how those costs get paid for. He states, “Hospitals intentionally keep doctors in the dark about these things.” Doctors within the hospital system may order a battery of tests, but often do not know how much it costs unless they have also been on the receiving end of major illness. In this instance, it is not so much the doctor who is corrupt, but rather the hospital they work for. And, as Dr. Michael pointed out, putting a patient into bankruptcy is hardly in the patient’s best interests.
Beyond that though, insurers, hospital networks and regulatory groups have managed to introduce a system of reward and punishment that can also heavily influence your physician’s decisions. These kinds of contracts “pay for performance” and encourage doctors to meet strict goals for treatment and testing. These targets are generic, population-based goals – there is no room for individual needs in a quota-based healthcare system. Many people are treated needlessly with medications that don’t even work, and they still have to pay for it.
A perfect example of these ridiculous quotas is the fact that doctors are rewarded for keeping their patients’ cholesterol levels down. And of course, one of the top ways to keep cholesterol levels down for doctors is by prescribing statins. Statins come with their own health risks though, such as an increased risk of diabetes, muscle pain and much more. A 2015 study found that the benefits of statins have also been grossly exaggerated through the manipulation of statistics. Dr. David M. Diamond, a professor of psychology, molecular pharmacology and physiology at the University of South Florida, and Dr. Uffe Ravnskov, an independent health researcher and expert in cholesterol and cardiovascular disease, who authored the paper, concluded, “Statin advocates have used statistical deception to create the illusion that statins are ‘wonder drugs,’ when the reality is that their modest benefits are more than offset by their adverse effects.”
Furthermore, a study published in 2016 revealed that cholesterol may not actually be bad for you. A group of international experts conducted an analysis of roughly 70,000 people and found that there was no link between “bad” cholesterol and premature death in individuals over the age of 60. Amazingly enough, they found that 92 percent of people with high cholesterol actually lived longer, prompting the group to suggest that treating high cholesterol with statins is actually a waste of time (and presumably, money).
So, who are doctors really serving when they continue to prescribe questionable treatment modalities without batting an eyelash? And who do you think really creates these so-called “metrics” of treatment and testing? It surely isn’t your doctor – they’re just doing what they’re told to do, so they can make more money off you.
The fact is that doctors who hit their “targets” are paid more money by the insurance companies, and they receive higher rankings on the insurers’ websites. Those who do not meet these arbitrary-at-best quotas are not paid as much money, and they receive poorer ratings on the insurers’ websites. Insurance companies aren’t just dictating how many patients a doctor needs to treat for a given condition, either.
The New York Times reports that WellPoint, a large private-payer healthcare network, has created designated treatment pathways for cancer patients. Doctors who follow these designated pathways are rewarded with $350 extra per month, per patient treated with their protocol. Insurance companies cannot, and should not, decide what the best mode of treatment is for a patient – especially a patient with a life-threatening disease.
There are many faces of corruption within the medical industry: doctors, hospitals and insurance companies. All of these forces collude together to create the most profit for themselves, while jeopardizing patient care, increasing costs and contributing to a growing distrust of the entire system. How can anyone be sure that the treatment their doctor is prescribing to them is actually for their benefit, and not just so their doctor can meet their monthly quota?