Justinian Lane

Another cause for rising medical costs

The "reform" movement likes to pretend that medical malpractice costs are what's causing our health care costs to rise so dramatically.   Those of us who push the truth instead of corporate propaganda realize that the actual cost of medical malpractice are fully informed about the facts understand that medical malpractice costs make up somewhere from .5 percent to a few percent of our healthcare spending.  So what is behind the increase in healthcare costs?  Perhaps it's the onslaught of expensive new drugs: 

The number of people obtaining a prescription for a statin nearly doubled, from 15.8 milllion to 29.7 million. Looked at another way, the number of outpatient scrips rose to nearly 174 million from about 90 million.

Along with the usage, the register rang innumerable times - spending jumped during that period to $19.7 billion from $7.7 billion. Each individual spent $484 a year, on average, to lower their cholesterol in 2000, and that rose to $661 by 2005. 

Source: The Cholesterol Craze: Statin Use Skyrocketed // Pharmalot

In fact, it appears that the cost of all medical malpractice is only about 1.5 times what we spend on just the statin class of drugs.  And who knows - maybe next year we'll spend more on statins than we do on malpractice. 

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Posted at 4:25 PM, Jun 26, 2008 in Medical Malpractice
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Justinian: They do not tell you this in your criminal cult indoctrination sessions. Torts has an impact on the entire enterprise and not just on misconduct.

1) No one dies for under $200K. Why? Fear of litigation by vengeful family plaintiffs. That raises worthless, tormenting health care by 20%.

2) Defensive medicine is about 10% of the health budget.

3) You are right about the obscenely high cost of drugs. Why? Most the obscenity portion of the price is for ruinous litigation. You have some nerve attacking the high cost of drugs, when it is caused by the lawyer.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | June 26, 2008 6:34 PM

Do you ever wonder if the reason that the pateints were given the prescriptions for the statins was because the doctor thought that if he didn't give them one he might be sued when they had a MI anyway?

You can't seperate the economics of defensive medicine from the whole picture.

Posted by: throckmorton | June 26, 2008 7:36 PM

Justinian: Did you ever think $661 in statins saves $661,000 in heart transplant costs?

What doctors do when allowed to use their clinical judgment returns 10,000% on investment, guaranteed, year after year. What doctors do when bullied by lawyers is worthless and dangerous.

The return on investment for anything the lawyer does is minus 1000%, guaranteed, year after year. Every lawyer breathing costs the nation a $million a year in destroyed value. That does not put a price on the horrible suffering caused by the clients of the lawyer, criminals, feminist predators in divorce, horrible parents bullying schools and teachers.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | June 27, 2008 1:05 AM

Did you consider the costs of the adverse effects of statin therapy? read Dr. Duane Graveline's web site for a listing of the possible side effects of this class of drugs: peripheral neuropathy, ALS, Parkinson's Disease, Transient Global Amnesia, severe cognitive defects, myopathies, myalgias, etc. The costs of statin therapy unfortunately does not end with purchasing the pill...

Posted by: anonymous4 | June 27, 2008 7:11 AM

Another ignorant post from Justinian, who ignores that every economic study on the issue shows that a dollar spent on pharmaceuticals saves several dollars in other medical costs -- and that statins in particular are especially cost-effective.

Posted by: Ted | June 27, 2008 8:20 AM

A4: Go to page 10.

That column with all the minus signs, all the way down? That is worth around $50 bil and a host of lives saved. This is the period during which docs got on the ball, and started prescribing these meds. The drop was despite the explosion of obesity and Type II diabetes.

Every event that takes place during a clinical trial gets reported. So I get a cold, that gets reported. Do statins cause the common cold? It happens by chance that 2% of people on placebo get colds, 4% of those on medication? Now the jackass FDA will put a blackbox warning that the common cold is a risk of statins. They did this with Vioxx and heart disease, with suicidal ideas in anti-depressants. The know nothing lawyer then files a class action. The defense cost has taken out the budget of the development of the next medication. The FDA lawyer generates bogus risks. His good pal, the land pirate destroys research budgets.

In the face of 1000's of positive studies from the 1960's onward, Graveline's position is quite irresponsible. It may deter treatment. If you are accurate about his position, he has the credibility of 9/11 Conspiracy theorists.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | June 27, 2008 9:00 AM

And another personal attack from my good buddy Ted, who misrepresents study findings. Ted, following your logic, if we spent enough on pharmaceutical products, we could eliminate every other cost of medical care! There's a point of diminishing returns, and you know it.

Posted by: Justinian Lane | June 27, 2008 10:24 AM

There is absolutely a point of diminishing returns. The evidence is that statins were underused, however. As you would know if you kept up with the literature, rather than just cherry-picking things to complain about without even beginning to understand the data.

Pointing out that your argument ignores the facts is not a "personal attack."

But I do find it disturbing that it's more important for you to bash pharmaceutical companies than to care about patient health outcomes. That's all too typical of the trial lawyer lobby's putting profits ahead of people.

Posted by: Ted | June 27, 2008 11:29 AM

So, did you put your pinky in your mouth a la Dr. Evil when you came up with accusing trial lawyers of putting profits before people? I ask because it makes you look just as ridiculous. And certainly, that claim is even more outlandish than Dr. Evil's father's claim that he invented the question mark.

I think a good definition of chutzpah is for a guy who defended Merck in the Vioxx cases to suggest he cares about patient outcomes.

Posted by: Justinian Lane | June 27, 2008 12:24 PM

Instead of the constant bashing of drug companies and doctors which seems to be a daily ritual on this site, how about we acknowledge the millions of lives that are improved everyday due to the miracles of modern medicine and pharmaceuticals. One year ago, my close friend Kate was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer, the fourth most deadly cancer in the United States. Kate was given less than three months to live. However, because of the products developed by the very drug companies that Kia and Justinian love to bash, Kate is finishing a chemo protocol that has kept her alive and enabled her to enjoy life with her husband, her friends, and her family. Everyday, hardworking scientists at pharmaceutical companies are doing their best to develop drugs to improve all of our lives and save us from once seemingly incurable diseases. We should encourage their efforts and celebrate their achievements rather than attack them.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 27, 2008 2:08 PM