BENEFICIAL, FAILURE, OR BOTH?
“Prevention” is one of those things that has been so oft-repeated for so many decades that it simply must be true. It’s not. And in many cases, even though the medical community does its level best to bury it, research has been providing the evidence against prevention SINCE I WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL. But because a whole host of ‘preventative’ services are mandated through the oxymoronically named ACA, the medical community (in cahoots with BIG PHARMA) clamors to add things to the list. Although I am not going to go over the list in its entirety, you are already aware of at least some of what’s on it. What you might not be aware of is that some of the things on this list not only don’t help with a person’s health, they actually have great potential for doing harm via something called OVERDIAGNOSIS & OVERTREATMENT.
Some of these include FLU SHOTS, cancer screenings such as MAMMOGRAMS and COLONOSCOPIES — both of which have evidence showing that they don’t do what people are led to believe they do. FLUORIDE SUPPLEMENTS for children (in this day and age, really?). DEPRESSION SCREENING for every age group, including children — especially troubling once you know the truth about ANTIDEPRESSANT MEDICATION USE IN CHILDREN. Enter the USPSTF.
The USPSTF (United States Preventative Service Task Force) is made up of sixteen (practicing) health care experts who, although not paid (at least not directly), get together periodically to create healthcare guidelines. Never forget that the USPSTF disregards cost or cost-effectiveness in their recommendations. The only criteria they use to make their recommendations is “Best Evidence” — no matter the cost or the reality of the situation (HERE). According to the government’s Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research……
“Created in 1984, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF or Task Force) is an independent group of national experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine that works to improve the health of all Americans by making evidence-based recommendations about clinical preventive services such as screenings, counseling services, or preventive medications.”
Do you see the emphasis on evidence here? The problem is that in similar fashion to our nation’s politicians, such groups have both proven themselves to be anything but ‘independent‘ while frequently revealing themselves to be extremely susceptible to lobbying efforts. In other words, our nation’s so-called “best-evidence” is being bought and sold on the open market. Thus, the reason for the article (Is It Time for the USPSTF to Inform—But Not Determine—Coverage?) in the current issue of The Annals of Internal Medicine. In this article the three authors (MD’s with masters degrees in public health) wrote…..
“….The company is nonetheless attempting to lobby the USPSTF by claiming that its product meets the stated criteria. To legitimize this goal, the company has written an article, found a willing physician to attach his name to it, and published it in a medical journal. The physician, listed as the sole author of the article, did not write it; as stated in the publication, it was drafted and revised by a paid consultant, “based on input from the author”. As stated by the Chief Executive Officer of [the company], influencing government policies is part of their “unconventional approach to growing this franchise”.”
I would have to argue a couple of points here. I’ve shown you in the past how HEALTHCARE GUIDELINES are for sale to the highest bidder. In fact, GHOST-WRITING STUDIES is so common that the conduct described in the above paragraph has been named as such. The cold, hard reality is that, “influencing government policies” via BRIBES is no more “unconventional” than you or I doing the laundry, taking out the trash, or filling up the car with gas. It’s simply a part of everyday life. Necessities if you will. That is, if your goal is, “growing the franchise“. Of course the authors of the piece from the Annals try and show that the people who create guidelines are above corruption. “The Task Force uses rigorous assessments of conflict of interest to ensure unbiased decisions, and members may not receive remuneration for services with respect to transactions involving parties with a financial interest in the outcome of a USPSTF decision.” The amusing this is, they don’t believe their own words.
In the very next paragraph, in the last sentence of the paper, the authors reveal what they really think should happen to the USPSTF’s recommendations. They want the Task Force’s cozy relationship with industry completely removed from the equation. In other words, they want insurance companies to be the ones to determine what’s covered and what’s not. “Perhaps it is time for the USPSTF to inform, but not determine, coverage.” The problem with this approach is that insurance companies are no less corrupt that the pharmaceutical and medical device industries or THE GOVERNMENT ITSELF. As long as people have little or no interest (financial or otherwise) in their health or the health of their families, MEANINGFUL HEALTHCARE REFORM AND SUSTAINABLE HEALTHCARE ARE A PIPE-DREAM. It’s also why EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE is often anything but.
As is always the case, whether you are dealing with CHRONIC PAIN, CHRONIC INFLAMMATORY DEGENERATIVE ILLNESSES, or AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES, the only way you are ever going to truly solve your problem is to step outside of the box and create your own EXIT STRATEGY. And as far as “PREVENTATIVE CARE” is concerned, click the link to see why it’s so much more than what you’ve been led to believe it is.