“Fighting Custom Drug Prices”

An article in the Los Angeles Times Tuesday, December 28, 2010 describes how a coalition of corporations, insurance companies and labor groups are “pushing for legislation that would put restrictions on the customized medicines known as compounded drugs.”  They assert that this prescribing has been abused.  I cannot speak to abuse, but I can speak for the benefits provided by compounded pharmacies.  

 Compounded pharmacies provide individualized prescriptions customized for the person’s needs that standard pharmaceutcals do not provide.  Additionally, the compounders very thoughtfully can prepare the medication without the usual fillers that can cause allergies in many people.

So what is the problem here?  It seems to me the problem is fear of competition and attempts to restrict availability to a select group of providers. 

There is another and broader problem.  This is the increasing narrowing of medicine’s focus.  Instead of keeping in mind how different each of us individuals is, medicine is moving to “standardize” everyone.  Each of us is becoming a statistic.  If you have “x” complaint, that means you need “y” drug.  Doctors no longer have time to determine the cause of a problem. 

I find what is happening to medicine, and thus to our so-called health care system, tragic.  We need, more than ever, to acknowledge the uniqueness of each individual.  This means we have to be ready to provide supports that fit each individual. 

We are not statistics.  We are complex beings who cannot be simplified to the average without losing what makes each of us special.

My hope is that 2011 will see an outpouring of appreciation for our individual unique qualities and, thus, for the supports we can provide for each other.

About Cathie Lippman, M.D.

I invite you to visit my website: http://www.cathielippmanmd.com/
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