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Health Care & Drug Companies

Date: 05-17-06
Host: George Noory
Guests: Dr. John Abramson, Frosty Wooldridge

Dr. John Abramson of Harvard Medical School addressed issues surrounding health care, medical studies and the pharmaceutical industry. Most drug studies are funded by pharmaceutical companies who have a financial conflict of interest, and there is a five times greater chance that the study will find in favor of the drug, than when an independent study is done, he reported. Pharmaceutical firms have a "virtual monopoly" on new products and face no price controls (as they do in every other country besides the United States). Also, most countries except for the U.S. don't allow direct-to-consumer marketing, such as in TV commercials. Lobbyists who work for the drug companies, outnumber U.S. lawmakers 2-to-1, he added.

We spend twice as much in the U.S. on health costs, yet people don't live as long as they do elsewhere, and 1/3 of American health care is either unnecessary or harmful--that's $650 billion a year on "wasted health care," said Abramson. He argued for the necessity of universal health care, as people without coverage can be financially crippled by trips to the hospital. The "important thing is to get everyone covered" whether through a single-payer system like Medicare or through market options, he commented.

We understand how to prevent about 80% of heart disease, Abramson stated. His suggestions for this were: controlling chronic stress, eating a Mediterranean diet, getting routine exercise, not smoking and drinking in moderation.

Immigration Commentary

First half-hour guest, Frosty Wooldridge offered commentary on illegal immigration. He doesn't think the proposed fence will be enough, and believes the border should be secured with an ongoing military operation. He also suggested that existing laws be enforced, penalizing employers who hire illegals.

Bumper Music

Bumper music from Wednesday May 17, 2006

  • Fever
    Little Willie John

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