Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Pill for an Ill

Sustainability is a buzzword that is being bandied about quite a bit recently, especially in my world.

What got me thinking about this was a short film that a client sent me a link to called The Story of Stuff. . "You cannot operate a linear system on a finite planet." Good stuff.

There is no more unsustainable a system than the current healthcare mess. Of the mind boggling numbers that most people have heard so often that they're becoming numb to them, the one that tweaked my, admittedly, eclectic sense of humor, was that two of the top ten drugs in terms of sales in 2005 were Zyprexa and Resperdal, two drugs for schizophrenia. Almost 9 Billion dollars in scripts for schizophrenia in one year. Come on!!! You can't tell me that there's 9 Billion dollars worth of schizo's out there, not even in New York. (Oh, learn to laugh, already. Life's too short.)

All kidding aside, 13 billion for Lipitor, when any practitioner with half a brain knows that cholesterol is way down the list on risk factors for heart disease? Years ago, on his radio show, Ronald Hoffman reported that he had been called on the carpet by the AMA once for not prescribing a statin for a patient with high cholesterol, preferring to use more natural means, quite successfully, as I recall.

Strongarming doctors to overprescribe. Sounds more like an episode of the Sopranos.

The good news is that the tipping point should, finally, be near. There's 30 years of good science now that demonstrates to the insurance companies beyond any doubt that it is in their best interests to pay for prevention. Institutional change is slow, but steady.

But it still starts with each of you. You have to get involved. Right now, only 14 states license Naturopathic doctors. The bill in New York has been languishing in the legislature since 2005. I work with four Naturopaths. They did three years of pre-med and four years of medical school, all the residency and interning that any allopathic med student does, and the ones I know are better diagnosticians, and would be better primary care physicians than 90% of the allopaths I know. You should have the choice. The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians website is very easy to navigate. Even I could figure it out. Click on the legislation link and it will guide you.