The Left Jumps The Shark: Merrill Goozner's Part D Meltdown

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  • 01/14/2007
Merrill Goozner of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (not to be confused with us) is in meltdown mode over the Washington Post editorial warning about government run medicine.

Here's his post on Huffington Post

Fun to watch, but let try to make a couple of serious points here to demonstrate the faulty logic of the left...Clearly a case of their rhetoric on pharma jumping the shark.

Gooz claims that the VA is restrictive because is it not tainted by prescribing guidelines shaped by industry. All the guidelines are written by industry? Let's say that's the case. Fact is, the VA docs follow EVERY specialty association guideline in terms of treatment steps. So I guess that the industry should be given credit for something.. Then again the VA only differs in terms of drug selection and therapeutic approach.

Then again, not all government guidelines meet the Goozner standard. Hypertension guidelines and ALLHAT yes. Cholesterol guidelines that encourage earlier use of statins no. The latter were the tainted in his opinion because the doctors on the committee had industry ties. But so did everyone on the ALLHAT steering committee. What's the the difference? Gooz likes the fact that an ALLHAT rump section spun the results as generic drugs worked just as well as newer meds.

He claims that the VA does a great job weeding out pricey me too drugs...Again, he should thank the industry for creating competition among therapeutic choices based on value otherwise there would only be one in a class drugs which the VA keeps off formulary for at least 1-3 years. What will the VA do in an era of personalized medicine?

I won't even respond to the claim that the VA is doing all this great research. Sorry, it's all process measures.(Who get's what test and when) There are no studies compariing outcomes by drug and other variables. It has the ability to do that research but it never does...instead it supports studies that claim that the likelihood of suffering permanent nerve damage from older schizophhrenia drugs is ok and that old drugs are just as good as new. The fact is comparative effectiveness studies wind up showing that some people always do better on drug A than on drug B or vice versa. So the question is: how do get the right drug to the right patient first time every time? Goozner does not care and neither does the VA for that matter because it restricts formularies to save money on drugs not to improve outcomes.

Meanwhile, the real problem is that consumers are just too stupid or brainwashed to know any better. Or at least they are not as smart as Gooz. Consumers are being reprogrammed into new drug zombies that march into physician offices under the spell of pharmaceutical TV ads demanding inferior and expensive drugs which is why they want open formularies instead of the narrow ones offered by the wise and all-seeing pharmacy boards.

Here is the Gooz, oozing at his most hyperbolic:

"Consumers are going to police the system through their individual choices? Are these the same consumers who are bombarded daily with direct-to-consumer ads touting the latest me-too drug on television, in the pages of their daily newspapers and in weekly magazines? Such poorly informed consumers will likely gravitate over time to the least restrictive formularies precisely because they include drugs that are no better than generics." (Meanwhile consumers in these open formularies are stampeding over to generics.)

Yeah, we are just too stupid and too brainwashed. Teach us Merrill. Show us the light, the truth and the way.

Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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