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Medicines backlash
July 1, 2004 5:36 PM   Subscribe

Medicines 'killing 10,000 people'. A year. Only in Great Britain. "According to the researchers, 70% of these reactions could have been avoided". BBC reports.
posted by nandop (33 comments total)

 
having not read the linked article but having read a bit about it:

my understanding is that drugs are purchased in bulk with strained social funding as a large concern. People are thus more likely to recieve a 'pretty good match' rather than a targeted drug. Ive never understood why someone would actually want social medicine. The Man is good at keeping people in line but absolutely crushes anything delicate. Why would anyone want something as important as *medical care* placed in the hands of the government?!

reading the article....
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 6:02 PM on July 1, 2004


Because otherwise people die for want of money? (Something The Man isn't short of)
posted by bonaldi at 6:09 PM on July 1, 2004


Bah. I knew it'd turn into an axe-grind. But check out Statistics: Leading Iatrogenic Causes of Death in the USA. Besides, the type of medical care system isn't going to affect situations where people accidentally (or stupidly) get ill from misuse of unprescribed drugs they bought at the pharmacy or off the Internet.
posted by raygirvan at 6:12 PM on July 1, 2004


Nice knee-jerk reaction, tryp, and uniformed lead, nandop. This has nothing to do with the British Health Service specifically. It's mostly NSAIDs, diuretics, and anti-coagulants, causing people to bleed out. NSAIDs are known to irritate the stomach lining, anti-coagulants make clotting more difficult, and diuretics are known to cause problems with sulfa allergies.

And in this great ol' country I call home, with its capitalist, corporate system, some estimates are 106,000 deaths per year due to medications, plus 18,000 from lack of insurance. The US system is clearly much better.
posted by gramcracker at 6:15 PM on July 1, 2004


Sorry, gramcracker. I just wanted to link to the news in a short post. No intention to make it like knee-jerk or something.
posted by nandop at 6:23 PM on July 1, 2004


gramcracker: well put!
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:26 PM on July 1, 2004


yeah, i recall reading an article about patient deaths in the UK some time ago - aparently of no relation to this article.

bonaldi - the man has no money of his own. You think government officials use their money for all those nice programs? The man's money = my money. And even if i didn't mind paying for those costly surgeries treating inherited cancer & other congenital conditions, or emergency care for accident victims etc etc - the majority of the cost of social health care would be racked up by people whose health problems are their own doing (see: the top two killers in America).
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 6:30 PM on July 1, 2004


"And even if i didn't mind paying for those costly surgeries treating inherited cancer & other congenital conditions, or emergency care for accident victims etc etc - the majority of the cost of social health care would be racked up by people whose health problems are their own doing."

Compassion. UnAmerican. Deal with it.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 6:35 PM on July 1, 2004


I think nandop meant "In great britan alone", meaning the 10k figure was out of a population of 50 million, as opposed to "This could happen only in GB".

Tryptophan-5ht's response was complete conjecture, and quite idiotic.

Personaly, I think everyone should be entitled to some level of medical care, while at the same time rich people should be able to buy care at a level that would simply not be available under a total government system.
posted by delmoi at 6:37 PM on July 1, 2004


I'm glad you've never done anything risky in your life, tryp, like riding a bike without a helmet, or not wearing sunscreen.

Fact is, we all die of something, and not long ago the two major killers were infectious diseases that, thanks to The Man's public health infrastructure, policies, and spending, we've virtually eliminated.

I'd make some arguments about why we have so much heart disease in this country, but that's for another day.
posted by gramcracker at 6:40 PM on July 1, 2004


thatwhichfalls - if someone can't be bothered to stop eating, or quit smoking for the sake of their own health, why should i?

full disclosure: i am a heavy smoker with no health insurance.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 6:41 PM on July 1, 2004


tryp: Unless you're planning a DNR if you collapse on the ground from shortness of breath, or you'll never see a doctor about the awful symptoms of emphysema, chronic bronchitis, or lung cancer, we're all going to end up paying for your health care in one way or another. God forbid The Man encourages healthy behaviors and lifestyles with policies or regulations. That's socialism! (But would save you money in the long run.)

Full disclosure: people without health insurance still get some level of health care when they're very sick. Who pays for those costs? Every one of us, with higher private sector premiums or higher proportions of taxes going to pay for the care.
posted by gramcracker at 6:48 PM on July 1, 2004


Thank you, delmoi. That was exactly what I wanted to say (and that's why I thought it was just an express-link post, not a comment). It is NOT a comment. And I feel saved, because I really didn't get it from the gramcracker comment. I'm sorry if it sounded like offense, I just love UK and would never make such an unfair comment. Again, it should be read like "in Great Britain alone". I'll improve my English before writing any stuff again, promise.
posted by nandop at 6:51 PM on July 1, 2004


"God forbid The Man encourages healthy behaviors and lifestyles with policies or regulations"
that will work! WAR ON FAT! Look how well the war on drugs/poverty/terror is going!!

I don't know how democrats can snark republicans for being so unrealistic about human behavior when they are droning on about abstinence, but can then go drone on about socialism. The only way you will get strangers to care about other strangers is to *make them* and now you're sharing a bed with hitler.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 6:56 PM on July 1, 2004


"The only way you will get strangers to care about other strangers is to *make them* and now you're sharing a bed with hitler."

Ignoring the obvoius temptation to invoke Godwin, I will say that a society in which health care is available only to those who can afford it is a society that is in deep trouble. As has been pointed out above, even in the US the very poorest can get medical treatment (although how easy it is to access and whether it is of as high quality as is available to those with money is another question).

"Why would anyone want something as important as *medical care* placed in the hands of the government?!"

This is an attitude I've come across before since moving to the US, and frankly it makes no sense to me. The available options seem to be to have a health care system run by faceless bureaucrats employed by the government or by faceless bureaucrats employed by your insurance company.
Machine-like decision-making structures tend to be operationally similar regardless of whether they are run by the government or the private sector.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 7:11 PM on July 1, 2004


The Man is good at keeping people in line but absolutely crushes anything delicate.

This is why we in America put medicine in the hands of the business sector. If you can't count on corporations put what's good for society above making the largest profit possible, who can you count on?
posted by 4easypayments at 7:23 PM on July 1, 2004


"Machine-like decision-making structures tend to be operationally similar regardless of whether they are run by the government or the private sector."
more truth there than you know. After a certain point, is there even a difference?

4easy - when i get bad care/service, i go someplace else. Most business are aware of this odd quirk in most of us. The government doesn't give a fuck. You pay your taxes wether you like the service or not.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 7:32 PM on July 1, 2004


The only way you will get strangers to care about other strangers is to *make them* and now you're sharing a bed with hitler.

That's beautiful! "If it has 'socialism' somewhere in the acronym, then it MUST be socialist."

No wonder you're a heavy smoker despite all the warnings-- you're retarded.
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:38 PM on July 1, 2004


"...when i get bad care/service, i go someplace else."

If your health insurance is tied to your employment, no you don't go someplace else. You can't afford it.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 7:40 PM on July 1, 2004


I think that's a valid difference, tryp, but we all pay for and use certain services: roads, fire, police protection, college loans, libraries, CDC statistics that tell us what the top two causes of death in the US are.

If the government hadn't been established to provide the general welfare--that's a different story. But it was founded to do just that, and therefore, it needs money to do so. As citizens, we have all inherently agreed to that, by accepting our constitution, no?
posted by gramcracker at 7:42 PM on July 1, 2004


As citizens, we have all inherently agreed to that, by accepting our constitution, no?

I thought that we agreed to the constitution so that we could have teflon-coated bullets and automatic rifles. If I knew that it included giving vaccines to underserving poor people and the like, I wouldn't have agreed to it.
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:47 PM on July 1, 2004


mayor - the hitler bit was a plum line :) I forget you can't hear the tone im typing in.

thatwhichfalls - IMHO health insurance companies are not exactly a swell alternative to subsidized care.

gram - there are some things that the government should provide. The ideas of 'competition' wouldn't work well when you and your neighbor each call your own police company on each other. Emergency response services, military etc. but health care has been accquired privately in America for quite some time - what went wrong?

also, '*promote* the general welfare'
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 7:53 PM on July 1, 2004


Two important points to remember about pharmaceuticals: the first is that General Practice Physicians, M.D. are not Pharmacists.

They often are woefully inadequate when selecting the right drug for a problem. One of the worst of these problems was highlighted when in the 1980s, dozens of slightly different NSAIDs were marketed at the same time. Many doctors were reduced to trial and error prescriptions--often with terrible side effects. Mostly, though, doctors just get comfortable with a drug with one patient, so try it out on others. MDs are also not pain or addiction specialists.

The other thing you should know about is Pharmaceutical Compounding. These are tailored drugs prepared by a Pharmacist *just for you*. Strongly opposed by the drug companies, there is an effort to outlaw compounding before it becomes too popular. And not just for humans, but veterinary compounding, too.

So if you're curious about compounding and you want the real scoop on how effective it is, ask your veterinarian, where compounding has been popular for years, what they think about having the practice outlawed. (Be ready for a stern lecture.)
posted by kablam at 7:57 PM on July 1, 2004


What went wrong was World War 2 (the Hitler segue!). Wage freezes causes companies to look for other ways to competively attract workers, so they started offering health benefits. HMOs that do not provide actual services are essentially gigantic middlemen; huge bureacratic wastes.
posted by gramcracker at 8:00 PM on July 1, 2004


gramcracker-- I think your assertion misses the point.

I confess that I did not know that WW2 wage freezes were the impetus that started us on the employer-funded healthcare model. That being said, I think most analysts, right and left, agree that the reason we have employer-provided healthcare nowadays has much to do with the tax code.
posted by trharlan at 8:07 PM on July 1, 2004


interesting insights! I had no idea.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 8:21 PM on July 1, 2004


If your health insurance is tied to your employment, no you don't go someplace else. You can't afford it.

I would absolutely love to receive, in cash, what my employer pays to my HMO every week. I'd buy the highest-deductible plan I could find and save the rest.

(GP's) often are woefully inadequate when selecting the right drug for a problem.

I'd love to go to the pharmacist with a diagnosis, discuss with him my pharmaceutical options, and have him both write and fill the prescription. But I can't.

Government is the cause, not the cure, of the two problems highlighted above.
posted by trharlan at 8:26 PM on July 1, 2004


I'd love to go to the pharmacist with a diagnosis, discuss with him my pharmaceutical options, and have him both write and fill the prescription. But I can't.

I agree absolutely.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 8:34 PM on July 1, 2004


I wondered how long this thread would survive before the anti-NHS snarks began. I hoped it would be more than one post.
posted by salmacis at 2:23 AM on July 2, 2004


tharlan & thatwhichfalls: As I understand it that's the system in France. If you have a problem, you see the pharmacist first, unless it's something major, only then do you see a GP or specialist. Of course, the french take more perscription drugs per capita than pretty much anywhere.
posted by leotrotsky at 5:19 AM on July 2, 2004


I'd love to go to the pharmacist with a diagnosis, discuss with him my pharmaceutical options, and have him both write and fill the prescription.

What amuses/amazes me is people's confidence in their ability to self-diagnose.
posted by raygirvan at 8:20 AM on July 2, 2004


I'd love to go to the pharmacist with a diagnosis, discuss with him my pharmaceutical options, and have him both write and fill the prescription.

What amuses/amazes me is people's confidence in their ability to self-diagnose.

What about what you quoted makes you think he was talking about self-diagnosis?
posted by kindall at 8:55 AM on July 2, 2004


I'd love to go to the pharmacist with a diagnosis, discuss with him my pharmaceutical options, and have him both write and fill the prescription. But I can't.

The US is definitely leaning towards that system. Moreso than ever, pharmacists know more about drugs and such than doctors. However, I do not think pharmacists should have straight up prescription ability- maybe a tiered system depending on how visible symptoms are that would require a certain drug. The difference between the two is a doctor is taught how to treat and detect an illness based more on a patient's said symptoms and noticing things a patient doesn't say, whereas a pharmacists doesn't get very much training in how know what drugs to prescribe based on certain symptoms.

Full disclosure: people without health insurance still get some level of health care when they're very sick. Who pays for those costs? Every one of us, with higher private sector premiums or higher proportions of taxes going to pay for the care.
Yea, but the difference is insurance pays 100% of medical bills. Medicare, on the other hand, pays to the tune of 5%- down from 10% that was previously paid out. Medicare pays out more, but not a significant amount. With the combination of medicare and Medicaid, the average hospital only receive 60%, in large part because the government pays them so little for medicare/Medicaid.
Also, if anyone ever does get sick, you can easily just go to the ER for treatment.
A hospital cannot reject anyone for treatment or to be seen when sick. And once treated, most hospitals are very good about deferred payment plans and if you never get the many to pay them, well, not a whole lot they do (this is from family's experience with the health care industry where my mom has overseen the construction of a few hospitals and such).
In the end, I don't like the idea of full national healthcare in regard to treatments, but am in favor of a national prescription payment where the government does help with prescriptions as it is mainly the healthcare industry fault's drugs are so damn expensive (and I am a pharmD student).
posted by jmd82 at 10:04 AM on July 2, 2004


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