Medicare isn’t about Medicine

December 24th, 2003

To the Editor,

This “business” article debates the rights of doctors to determine which brands of drugs are necessary to their treatment plans. Differences between generic and original formulations are frequently detectable to sensitive individuals. The fact that special laws must be passed to enable doctors to consider such factors at all is an abrogation of the Hippocratic oath.

We also know that drugs are basically ineffective for a large portion of the population due to genetic and constitutional variables. Dr. Roses, a vice president of genetics at GSK pharmaceuticals, reported in the UK’s Independent Portfolio (12/8/03), that “…fewer than half of the patients prescribed some of the most expensive drugs, actually derived any benefit from them.” Evidently, an inexpensive blood test is able to determine who is genetically compatible with the intended actions of prescribed drugs. Yet, drug companies make a great deal of money out of the “trial and error” format of medical experimentation.

Given the huge numbers of adverse drug reactions reported annually, one would wonder why Medicare does not sponsor screenings to determine drug efficacy for a given patient in advance of prescription.

I guess Medicare is not about medicine and these discussions belong in the business sections of our newspapers.

Barbara Rubin

Categories: NY Times

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