There was a time when a family doctor really managed the care of an entire family. Today, patients are rushed in and out and at the time of scheduling, the appointment desk wants to know the nature of your need to see the doctor. Don’t think you can kill 2 birds with one stone because – at least locally in 2022, one issue per appointment is what I have been told. We absolutely have to have a health advocate looking out for our interests or hire one. Many hospitals today have “patient advocates” but let’s face it: They are employed by the hospital so, how objective can they truly be?
According to statista.com, in 2018, 33% of doctors spent 17 to 24 minutes with a patient, 29% spent 13 to 16 minutes with a patient, and 22% spent 9 to 12 minutes per patient. For more detail, take a look at the chart at this link. In my area, I was once advised by an individual in the large medical group that took over (assumed) all physicians at a local hospital that they allow 10 minutes for a regular appointment and 30 minutes for a physical. Wow. That reinforced my opinion that we are rushed in and out of the doctor’s office.
Next, let’s look at how many patients per day physicians see. According to statista.com and per image shown, the largest percentage of physicians over these 6 years saw an average of 11 to 20 patients per day while, in contrast, just 1.3% of doctors saw between 51 and 60 patients per day. There is a lot of other data in between these figures. Interesting information.
Now, most of us know how many pharmaceutical ads we see on television on a given day. My wildest guess is they represent 65 – 75% of all ads aired but it is a wild guess. I am not taking the time now to research this. According to an article in US News titled Do Drug Company Payments to Doctors influence Which Drugs They Prescribe? by Elaine K. Howley dated 8/31/2018, prior to 2002, the 1980s and 1990s saw a wild west atmosphere of anything goes when it came to influencing physicians from fancy restaurant dinners to vacations. In those days, a doctor that prescribed a drug repeatedly, might find themselves the recipient of a sweet retainer for prescribing the drug.
However, in 2002, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America developed the Code on Interactions with Health Care Professionals which limits gifts to $100 or less. Retainers are OUT now but in 2018, it was estimated that TV ads represented just 20% of a pharma giants marketing budget with the bulk of it doing to marketing to physicians, or “detailing” – a visit where the pharma rep explains to the doctor about the drug, may give samples, and brochures, and perhaps a small gift (that now must be valued at $100 or less. (I laughed when I read the sentence referring to the half dozen pharmaceutical ads on TV during the evening BUT it was written in 2018!) Although this code prohibits “retainers” as they were previously known, doctors are still operating as consultants and money is still being exchanged. Since conflict of interest is at the heart of the decision to create the code, we patients can obtain information regarding how much money a doctor accepts from pharmaceutical companies in order to make an informed choice, at this site:
Prior to choosing a new physician, I am interested to know how much money they have accepted from pharmaceutical companies so, I love this resource.
I am in constant search of lifestyle changes and supplementation to utilize so I can eliminate unnecessary drugs.
Several years ago, I started having allergy symptoms and sinus infections so, my primary doctor referred me to an allergist. Last month, I went back in time to review my lists of medications and supplements from that allergist. He tested me and claimed I was allergic to trees, grass, leaves, cats, and dogs. I had 2 cats and 2 dogs at the time, and I love being in nature. Not only did I get weekly allergy shots but also was REQUIRED to have a current EPI Pen which I had to prove to the staff had not expired. A friend who also visited this DR balked at spending over $100 on an EPI Pen she never needed and asked him if she could find a cheaper alternative. He insisted she must have an EPI pan if she continued to get allergy shots. She found another allergist. My medication list from back then showed he had prescribed 6 different drugs in addition to the weekly shots I was given for over 3 years. In hindsight, I wonder if he wasn’t “on retainer” with the company that charged exorbitant prices for the EPI pen and maybe more manufacturers. I left him years ago myself.
I stopped taking all but one of the drugs he prescribed. (Ten to fifteen years ago I was not as vigilant as I am today about pharmaceuticals and their unwanted side effects.) As a kid, I had asthma but not one episode as an adult. The drug I continued to take was, at first Advair and he later switched that to a low-dose BREO inhaler. Recently, I looked at the insert in the box BREO comes in and read it word for word. (Keep in mind, I was now taking supplements to address the allergy symptoms I was experiencing.) Here are the “Common side effects of BREO ELLIPTA include: (there is a list for COPD patients) and the following is for ASTHMA patients:
- Runny nose and sore throat
- Respiratory tract infection
- Thrush in your mouth or throat
- Inflammation of the sinuses
- Mouth and throat pain
- Hoarseness and voice changes
With the additional sentence: These are not all the possible side effects of BREO ELLIPTA. Oh, goodie. Wonder what else is in store?
Over the past 8 months I have had two upper respiratory tract infections and a sinus infection. I am done taking BREO. I feel much better since stopping the drug which I did over a period of time. It is critical to wean oneself off a drug or get assistance from your doctor or advocate. It is never wise to stop a drug “cold turkey.” I will use a Spirometer if I feel the need to do breathing exercises; my meditation app has a breathing program included, and I use a steam spa where I practice diaphragmatic breathing for the 10 minutes of stillness I spend there. I won’t miss that drug one bit.
I will share other personal experiences I have had with drugs and physicians throughout this blog. It is my goal to persuade as many people as possible that they need to become their own health advocate or hire one to represent them. I’ve included links in this post so you can do your own research. To optimal health my friend. Thanks for reading!