Hereâ€™s the link:
The editorial supports planned legislation by Senators Herb Kohl, Democrat of Wisconsin, and Richard Durbin, Democrat of Illinois that would authorize federal grants to prepare â€œobjectiveâ€ educational materials designed to provide physicians with â€œunbiasedâ€ guidance on the safety and effectiveness of drugs. Such materials, along with a government-funded â€œcounter-detailingâ€ force are meant to offset the one-sided sales pitches Americaâ€™s physicians get from pharmaceutical company representatives. The Times believes that, â€œThe end result should be better care, quite often at lower cost.â€
The Times shares the hope of Senators Kohl and Durbin that this government-funded scheme â€œwould pay for itself by lowering drug costs to federal programs.â€
Perhaps, but at what cost to patient care? And what about the fact that â€œunbiasedâ€ and â€œobjectiveâ€ are in the eyes of the beholder?
Clearly pharmaceutical companies detail because they believe it is in the interest of both the public health and their own commercial imperatives. Nothing wrong with that. Self-interest and public interest are not mutually exclusive.
But itâ€™s only honest to point out that the government has significant self-interest too â€“ Uncle Sam is the largest â€œpayerâ€ in the nation. So the more drugs these government-funded workers classify as "wasteful," the more money the government saves. Such a conflict is hardly" unbiased.â€
Ultimately, as the European model has shown time and again, budget analysts and Big Brother-funded anti-pharmaceutical â€œtruth squadsâ€ will deliver the findings their â€œfundersâ€ wants to see -- that newer, pricier pills are no more effective than their older, cheaper counterparts. And the result will be the same as well -- Medicare, Medicaid, and the Department of Veterans Affairs will stop covering these more innovative medicines, forcing physicians to prescribe only the drugs that the government will pay for, not the ones that are best for patients.
Thatâ€™s what â€œgovernmentâ€ care really delivers.