To the Editor: (431 words)
Re: Sunday Dialogue: Curing the Health System
Sunday Review, page 2, August 28, 2011
Please publish as an OpEd:
To fully understand why the costs of medical care in the US are twice those of Western Europe and Canada leaving 50 million uninsured, uncared for, one must figure-in the costs of the “selling sickness”–of inventing diseases and whole epidemics out of thin air, which incidentally, is the title of a 2005 book by Ray Moynihan and Alan Cassels (Selling Sickness—How the World’s Biggest Pharmaceutical Companies are Turning Us All Into Patients, Nation Books). Moynihan and Cassels give examples aplenty but cannot keep up with the industry’s disease-inventors and neglect to drive home the point that US psychiatry reigns supreme with none of the 374 ‘disorders,’ ‘chemical imbalances’ described in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-IV, (published by the American Psychiatric Association) being actual physical abnormalities—diseases, the rightful target of diagnosis and treatment of ethical, scientific physicians. Consider that as of 2007 we had 5.4 million children said to have the wholly fictitious, fraudulent, disease ADHD, up an astounding 22% from 2003 to 2007, to nearly one in ten school age children. Using the 2005 prevalence rate of 5%, the Center for Disease Control estimated that the annual societal ‘‘cost of illness’’ for ADHD was between $36 and $52 billion, in 2005 dollars–between $12,005 and $17,458 annually per individual—this for just one invented disease—a small part of the cost of allowing ourselves to be decieved. What must be factored in is the costs of all of psychiatry’s 374 invented diseases, bound to rise astronomically again with the coming, 2013, publication of their much “fatter” by far DSM-V. In 1976, Henry Gadsden, CEO of pharmaceutical giant, Merck, told Fortune magazine of his distress that their potential markets had been limited to sick people—people proved to have a disease. Suggesting he’d rather Merck be more like chewing gum maker Wrigley’s, Gadsden said it had long been his dream to make drugs for healthy people. Because then, Merck would be able to “sell to everyone.” This is what we pay for today—collectively a fraud. If we are ever to have affordable health for all we must recognize and expunge all invented, fraudulent, never-necessary diagnosis and treatment.
Fred A. Baughman Jr., MD