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Listen with Windows Player
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NOTE: We'll discontinue our Windows Media Audio in August 2015. Subscribers will still be able to listen to the show through our Coast Player in the link above.
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Pharmaceutical Costs

Professor of creative writing at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Marjorie Sandor, will talk about her latest work compiling stories from the deeply unsettling to the possibly supernatural and why we love tales that delve into our increasingly unstable sense of self, home, and planet. In the first hour, bestselling author and global authority on the economic and political impact of life sciences, Juan Enriquez, will discuss how man is now the primary driver of change and how we will directly and indirectly determine what lives and what dies as well as where and when.

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Pharmaceutical Costs

Show Archive
Date: Wednesday - May 18, 2005
Host: George Noory
Guests: Merrill Goozner, Robert Zimmerman

Merrill Goozner, the author of The 800 Million Dollar Pill, presented a critical look at the medical and pharmaceutical industry. Americans pay the highest price for drugs, because most other countries have national health plans which are able to negotiate with the suppliers. Because in America there is a highly fragmented system of numerous health care providers, the suppliers are in a "better bargaining position" to name their prices, he explained.

Goozner detailed how Cox-2 Inhibitor drugs such as Vioxx were advertised as breakthrough pain killers, when actually they were no more effective than over-the-counter medications like aspirin. This occurred around the time that direct consumer advertising for pharmaceuticals became legal, so many patients were blanketed by TV commercials touting the new drugs. Not only did the prescriptions cost much much more than the over-the-counter pain killers, it was later revealed that the Cox-2 drugs were associated with heart attack risk, a fact that had been kept from the public for years. "That's not health care, it's business," declared Goozner.

The doctors themselves are also saturated with marketing, with an army of 70 to 80,000 pharmaceutical reps descending upon their offices, pushing the latest and most expensive drugs, he said. Because of the constant talk about symptoms by the reps, physicians sometimes overlook the underlying causes of patients' problems, Goozner suggested. The relationship between doctors and drug companies is further entwined by the companies' providing "continuing medical education," for the doctors, often in desirable locations, he added.

Space Weapons

First hour guest, space historian Robert Zimmerman offered commentary on the US Air Force's new space weaponry proposal. He said he was puzzled by the some of the press reaction that portrayed these technologies in a "Darth Vader" light, as he believed such capacities would be employed by America to "defend freedom."

Bumper Music

Bumper music from Wednesday May 18, 2005

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