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BackPage Online, January 2020

doi: 10.1097/
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Reforming Drug Pricing in the United States Will Require a Costly Trade-Off

The drug-pricing system in the United States is broken. And drug marketers are running amok in the way they are extracting revenue from patients, insurers, and healthcare systems.

A recent editorial in the New York Times described a viable new system that would lower costs and save money for the entire healthcare system. It would come at a cost however. Companies that develop drugs would lose revenue by the billions—and this would crimp the development of new drugs. But this may be an acceptable trade-off.

Here is a link to the editorial:

Powerful Movement to Help Patients Assess, Track, and Act On Their Major Health Priorities

Back pain among the elderly often occurs in a tableau of other illnesses and diseases. As a result, healthcare is often complicated and burdensome. “Patient Priority Care” is a new model of healthcare that is gaining traction in the United States. “Patient Priority Care” aligns care among all clinicians with what matters most to their patients. “It recognizes that patients are the experts in what they want to achieve from their healthcare, while clinicians are the experts in how to get them there,” according to the architects of this program. This approach moves away from the usual medical approach of treating each individual health problem in isolation. It helps tailor care across medical conditions to arrive at treatment approaches that are consistent with patients' goals, preferences, and tolerance for risk. It is an innovative form of shared decision-making. It requires training both patients and physicians in its use. However, preliminary studies suggest that it effectively address patient concerns and improve treatment outcomes.

Here is the address of a website that discusses all aspects of this program in detail:

A Burst of Humor About Low Back Pain

It is hard to find a lot of humor in low back pain. The United States has thrown everything but the kitchen sink at low back pain without much success. Despite a huge wave of treatment—one form of which (opioids) killed roughly 300,000 patients—back pain outcomes in the United States don't appear to have improved one iota over the past quarter century. If anything, disability related to low back pain is still on the increase. But thank heavens for the GomerBlog, a website which satirizes healthcare. In this particular tongue-in-cheek essay, the GomerBlog team proposed increasing patient satisfaction with their medical care by giving them any medicines they want—regardless of safety and effectiveness—in a single pill. One such proposed medication is a combination of opioids and antibiotics for back pain sufferers with respiratory infections.

Here is a link to the Gomer Blog site:

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