QUICKLINKS AND VIEW OPITONS
Dr. Anchors’ TV Interview
Thursday, September 06, 2012 9:38 am Email this article
Here are my planned concluding remarks for "Forward Motion" with Karen Allyn, being taped September 11. I will post dates, times and channels as soon as I know them. If you miss the show, don't worry--MCTV re-runs everything many times . . .
The crisis in healthcare is a big issue in this year’s election. The average American family pays more than 17% of its income for healthcare, far more than any other nation. And the burden is poorly distributed––many young people pay nothing except their Medicare contribution while many sick and old people pay everything they have. It is a disgrace, but no one knows what to do. The cost of covering everyone is said to be too high, even though the United States is the richest nation in the world.
Every other rich nation has managed this problem better. The World Health Organization ranks our healthcare number #37, behind countries like Costa Rica. Some people blame Obama, others the Republicans, the insurance companies, and the pharmaceutical industry. No one thinks of blaming the chief architects of the mess––American doctors. They give medicines that don’t work, use expensive meds when cheap ones would do, order unnecessary tests, and treat things that shouldn’t be treated.
No wonder. For most doctors, their only source of new information is the daily visits of the drug reps. The information these people bring is selective and often misleading or wrong. There is no counterweight to their influence. American doctors don’t read for themselves, even though on the Internet, the world’s medical literature is open to everyone. American doctors aren’t taught to read, aren’t paid to read, and they are never tested after medical school. CME credits here are a voluntary system. In France, #1 in the world, doctors must show their approved credits to the government, and drug companies don’t write the test questions. Cuba ranks #10 in the world for healthcare. Their doctors are trained in Europe, and no doctor can get rich in Cuba. Think about what that means. Think deeply about it.
Only 0.5% of the federal budget goes to the N.I.H., so most medical research is a collaboration between the N.I.H. and private industry. Data doesn’t get out unless it’s favorable to industry, and only ideas leading to a quick profit are tried. Basic research and real innovation go wanting.
Dr. Anchors’ new book Medical Myths Doctors Believe describes many important myths. Heart disease has nothing to do with cholesterol; drugs to lower cholesterol hurt people. Lowering blood pressure, sugar and sodium doesn’t help. Early detection of cancer doesn’t change the date of the patient’s death. Mammograms and PSA tests don’t work. Kidney stones are caused by bacteria, not milk. Obesity by sugar, not fat. Vitamin pills are a waste.
Dr. Anchors is not the only one making these claims. Some myths, such as the PSA test fallacy, were broadcast this year while Dr. Anchors’ book was still getting to market. Other myths appeared on radio and in magazines. Some of Dr. Anchors’ claims are new to the public, but all are based on published scientific research. Dr. Anchors’ book is an easy-to-read starting point for learning. He trains readers to understand the evidence, the kind of training American doctors need. Belief and habit are no substitute for real knowledge.
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