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Yet another "see, I told you so"....

An important new medical study finds that chemotherapy does not extend life for end-stage, terminal cancer patients. What's more, those who received chemotherapy treatment near the end of their disease had a worse quality of life than those who didn't.

Got that one?

If you have a terminal cancer diagnosis -- that is, you have a metastatic or otherwise inoperable cancer chemo not only fails to extend your life it damages the quality of life in the time you have left.

Why would anyone go through such a regime?  

Simple: You're offered false hope and those pushing said false hope make a hell of a lot of money if they can con you into damaging or destroying your enjoyment of the time you have left.

Nobody wants to face the fact that we're all mortal and we will die some day of something.  When that death comes quickly and without warning there's little opportunity for anyone to play on our fears.  But all too often you find out a few weeks or months before the end comes that the reaper is on the way, and then the medical machinery goes to work selling you false hope and carefully-couched misleading statistical claims.

I wrote several articles when Provenge was originally developed by Dendreon and faced review.  The clinical data showed that it had a median improvement of time-to-live of about 4 months and cost roughly $100,000.  Note that there was zero evidence that it produced a durable remission; that is, that the drug actually reversed the progress the cancer was making -- it simply slowed it down somewhat, but at horrific cost.

Dendreon went as high as $57.67 on this hype machine before collapsing with the firm filing Chapter 11 with the wreckage being acquired.  Why?  Simple: There was no cost-benefit analysis that favored the drug under any reasonable circumstance except when you could force others (e.g. Medicare) to pay for it.

This was obvious at the inception of approval and the expected pricing, but nobody picked up on it.  And while Dendreon blew up the fact remains that huge parts of our medical industry run on this same crap on a daily basis, and nowhere is it more-evident than when it comes to metastatic cancer of virtually every sort.

Will this finding change the debate?  It ought to -- but you can bet the drug pushers will line up the usual arguments on the other side; "you're trying to kill Grandma!" being one of the most-common.

No, folks, I'm not trying to kill Grandma.  Rather, when it is evident that Grandma is going to die I would prefer that she have the facts in front of her on a clean basis without hype or misrepresentation because the time she has remaining is unlikely to be materially extended by these drugs, but the misery of those last months will be increased if she chooses to take them, while the drug companies, doctors and hospitals will be materially enriched at the same time.

Monster (n):

1. Making money by increasing human misery in the last weeks and months of a person's life by peddling false hope and intentionally misleading claims, all for the purpose of selling high-priced drugs at an obscene profit.

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As I've repeatedly reported, yep...

Oklahoma City has become a medical tourist destination, according to an industry expert, leading the charge for a different method of healthcare delivery, specifically one that embraces the principles and fundamentals of the free market.

Dr. Keith Smith is a local physician who believes in a free market healthcare system. He is a strong advocate for transparent pricing.

“Oklahoma City has become a major medical tourist destination because of entrepreneurial physicians committed to quality and value,” said Dr. Smith. “People have been flying in all over the country and outside to get their care in Oklahoma.”

I've profiled The Surgery Center of Oklahoma several times on this page for it's embrace of the free market and price transparency.

As a consumer I'm allegedly protected by a wide body of law at both state and federal levels that is supposed to prohibit back-room deals to restrain trade and boost prices through obfuscation, lies, and simple refusal to quote a price.  I'm also supposed to be protected by Federal Law against monopolistic practices no matter who is involved in creating and maintaining them.

Both of these bodies of law are filled with strong civil and criminal penalties for violators -- but to my knowledge these laws are simply never investigated, say much less enforced, when it comes to medical providers, pharmaceutical and insurance companies.  Yet if I was to have attempted any of what is done literally daily in this "industry" when I ran my ISP I'd probably still be rotting in a "PMITA" federal prison.

Note the prices posted on the above page.  That's an "all-in" quoted price.  Now try to get one from your local hospital, in writing, on the same terms.

The blanket refusal of most providers to do so should be more than sufficient to trigger investigation and prosecution under the consumer protection laws of the states, say much less federal racketeering and price-fixing statutes, given that prices actually charged and funds collected vary wildly (by as much as 5x or more!) for the exact same procedure performed for the same indications.

But.... it isn't and won't be until we demand that it is, backed up with whatever means of enforcement by we, the people, is necessary.

Until that day comes (and it may never given how willing it appears Americans are to be financially sexed without calling it "rape") this may be the best and most-reasonable option available unless you're willing to get on a plane and go overseas.

PS: If you can get a price you'll note that the prices on that page are within the ability of most people to afford, even if with difficulty.  You'll also note that most hospitals will try to bill you at 3, 5 or even 10x or more those posted prices -- for the exact same procedure.

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So here we have another article on pharmaceutical industry pricing practices:

Drug makers are even not above scaring the populace if it sells drugs for rare diseases. Your back pain may not be from working out at all but from a disease called ankylosing spondylitis, says AbbVie, a condition that can be treated with its biologic drug Humira for as much as $20,000 a year. (Injectable “biologic” drugs are a new drug industry push because they are so expensive and less susceptible to generic competition than pills.)

The drug industry is also trying to stay a Wall Street darling with new, uber priced drugs—notably hepatitis C drugs. Gilead Sciences sold $12.4 billion worth of Sovaldi at $1000 a pill last year, reports theNew York Times “straining the budgets of insurance companies and Medicaid programs.”

While drug company representatives initially tried to cast the outrageous prices as recouping their research and development costs they quickly back pedaled into admitting the drugs are priced on “value”—what they are “worth” for the patient’s health. Needless to say such valuations come pretty close to the definition of extortion—or offers you “can’t refuse.”

So let's put this sort of thing into a context that's easier for you to understand.

You walk into a grocery store.  You get to the checkout counter and present your basket of groceries.  The checkstand operator asks you to swipe your card first, before ringing them up, and the store's computer checks both your available credit line and bank balance.

It then decides what the basket of groceries on the belt is "worth" to you and what you can afford, setting a multiplier that results, if you happen to have a lot of money (or credit) in a price that is 10x as much as the person behind you pays.

Oh, and to keep you from figuring it out the checkstand doesn't display any prices either; you find out how much your card was hit for your groceries only after you leave the store.

How long would this sort of thing last in the grocery store, the auto repair shop or the coffee shop?

It would take less than five minutes, I suspect, before the police showed up and led the store manager out in handcuffs.

Note that this is not just a pharama practice -- it is true across the board when it comes to medical goods and services in the United States today.

So why, given that one dollar in five spent in this country (that is, one dollar in five of your money!) winds up subject to this sort of outrageous practice are you not right now taking legal but forceful action to stop it -- such as either cutting your income to the point that you pay an effective zero tax rate, refusing to provide any sort of service to anyone in the medical field and picketing everyone involved in this "industry" along with "occupying" your state legislatures?

Do you like being financially "sexed" and thus you declare, on a daily basis, that these practices are not rape?

Apparently so.

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Yep.... here you go.

There's a fair bit of discussion going on here:

This sort of outrageous and extortionate pricing up and down the line could never happen if there was no "medical insurance" because absolutely nobody could pay that amount of money -- or anything close to it.

In other words you would see the price of such treatment collapse by some 90% or more if there was no "health insurance" precisely because that which nobody can pay won't be paid, and thus won't be charged.

It is only through the imposition of such an "insurance" system that such a bill could ever be generated.

This is not an accident; it is an intentional act by everyone involved.

Further, if there was any enforcement whatsoever of 15 USC (collectively the Sherman, Clayton and Robinson-Patman acts) any health provider who submitted such a "bill" to someone would be immediately brought under indictment as I am willing to bet my last nickel that such, along with other bills including those to the government for similar or identical goods would be at a lower price.

Robinson-Patman makes illegal price discrimination among like kind and quantity purchasers.  Since the consumer of the commodity in question (rattlesnake antivenom) is the person who got bit (irrespective of how he or she pays) that appears facially to be a violation of said federal law.

The Sherman and Clayton Acts make any organized act to restrain trade or fix prices a federal felony carrying both criminal and (very large) civil penalties.  By design the "health insurance" system fixes prices when on a statistical basis nobody could possibly pay the asking price without said "insurance."


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Yeah, right...

A shocking video showing a top Planned Parenthood official casually discussing the shipment of aborted fetus body parts to research labs is fueling calls in Washington and state capitals for investigations and hearings.

The video, shot last July, was released by the Center for Medical Progress on Tuesday. It shows two undercover CMP activists posing as employees from a biotech company having lunch with Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood's senior director of medical research, and chatting about which body parts are in demand.

Planned Parenthood claims that they only charge for "shipping" services; that is, the cost of processing.

But wait..... is the point who makes money or that this sort of "trade" is done at all?

There's a similar problem with so-called "organ donation."  Yes, you can't sell livers.  But you can make a hell of a lot of money transporting and "installing" the so-called "donated" livers, never mind the potential to game the system aka Steve Jobs.

When I first got my driver license a long time ago I was asked if I wanted to be an organ donor.  I said yes, at the time.  But over the years I've come to realize a few things about these so-called "donor" programs, with the most-important part of it being that a hell of a people and companies make a hell of a lot of money off so-called donations of this sort.

In a word, not just no but **** no, and the Jobs case was the last straw for me; when I last had to renew my driver license I explicitly withdrew from the donor program and will never allow it again.

I understand people argue for things like blood donations and that folks who are undergoing surgery do need it.  But the current model is extraordinarily exploitive of this "free" resource that various parts of the medical provider system obtain and then make a ton of money from, none of which goes back to the so-called "donors."

I have no problem with capitalism but I refuse to be someone else's "free seed capital" for their levered-up, outrageously overpriced profiteering operations -- whether it's the hundreds of dollars per pint of blood that someone gets (that cost the collector zero) or the hundreds of thousands of dollars that everyone involved gets if I meet my demise earlier than would otherwise be the case and I let them have my (properly-working) liver to transplant into someone else.

I'm very interested in what is developed in this regard with Planned Parenthood and whether procedures are altered to get the desired fetal parts which has nothing to do with the best way to perform a given procedure but rather is done to fill an order for pieces of an unborn baby or worse, if there is an actual sale of said parts going on either in effect or in fact (which is illegal, incidentally.)

But irrespective of what develops there I refuse to participate in the trade of body parts and fluids where everyone makes a damn fortune except for the person who gave up the pieces.  That is, in my view, pure exploitation and I want no part of it.

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