Big Pharmaceuticals Aren't Evil Dictators?

In a post about the current regulatory environment around medial care today, In The Pipeline is maintaining the the NYTimes seems to be adopting a conciliatory attitude toward big pharma.

I have no idea.

I personally find this post interesting because of the quotations he digs out of the original NY Times article.

Q. Wouldn’t your solution require a dramatically different regulatory environment?

A. It differs state by state. In Massachusetts, nurses cannot write prescriptions. But in Minnesota, nurse practitioners can. So there has emerged in Minnesota a clinic called the MinuteClinic. These clinics operate in Target stores and CVS drugstores. They are staffed only by nurse practitioners. There’s a big sign on the door that says, “We treat these 16 rules-based disorders.” They include strep throat, pink eye, urinary tract infection, earaches and sinus infections.

These are things for which very unambiguous, “go, no-go” tests exist. You’re in and out in 15 minutes or it’s free, and it’s a $39 flat fee. These things are just booming because high-quality health care at that level is defined by convenience and accessibility. That’s a commoditization of the expertise. . .

Keep in mind that I am a medical industry noob. I know nothing. Yet, this strikes me as emininently reasonable! It doesn’t take a M.D. to diagnose your flu or sinus infection. Even if your horribly deadly disease were something that initially presented “flu-like symptoms” I have reservations that a doctor would be likely to pick it up without first treating you for the flu. Occam’s razor and all that.

I personally would love to see the mentioned clinics, staffed by trained professionals, available to the public without having to go through the rigamarole of a doctor’s office visit or, god forbid, the ER.

This entry was posted in Business, Opinion. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Big Pharmaceuticals Aren't Evil Dictators?

  1. Annie says:

    O.k., but somebody failed to check the facts.

    Yes, a Registered Nurse cannot prescribe meds in MA (and I’d be damn surprised if a RN could prescribe in MN, as well). However, a Nurse Practitioner CAN prescribe in MA.

    Also, a few quick Google skills turned up that MinuteClinic is looking to hire a manager of operations in Boston.

    But aside from the facts issue. I think the current trend of U.S. health care is scary. As one who recently spent (o.k. it was like 10 months ago) 9 hours in the ER (4+ of that time in the waiting area), the fact that the ER is the only place someone who is uninsured can go for any medical ailment just doesn’t work. I realize that I wasn’t dying from my kidney stones, but because I wasn’t “critical”, I had to wait behind every
    sniffle, flu, and earache patient who got there before me.

    Heck, even getting an appiontment with my doctor when I’m sick is a challenge. If I were 90% certain I had a sinus infection or the like, I’d be very tempted to pay out $40 to a NP-run clinic to get my antibiotics.

  2. Bill says:

    That’s exactly the thing! How many people when the feel ill really want to go to the ER? And, of those people who feel ill enough to do so, it’s more likely they also aren’t going to die from whatever they’ve got. Non-emergent, non-clinic care would be perfect for situations like this.

    Of course, I’m sure in the scenario describe, the people running the MinuteClinic wouldn’t step even a toe outside the guidelines (and there would probably be a lot of referrals to ER’s from them) in order to avoid lawsuits.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>