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The problems with healthcare in the U.S., following the disinformation playbook – Grant Dec 2017

The problems with healthcare in the U.S. - 2017

By William B. Grant, PhD.    December 14, 2017

Elisabeth Rosenthal, MD, spoke at the Commonwealth Club on December 13, 2017. Her new book is An American Sickness; How healthcare became big business and how you can take it back. Penguin Press, 2017.

Her main message is that healthcare in the U.S. has morphed from one based on care to one based on business principles of maximizing income and profit. She gave examples of receiving emergency care in other countries for a fraction of what similar care would cost in the U.S.

She also discussed how the healthcare industry has gamed the system, such as by obtaining patents for drugs that slightly extend the capabilities of existing drugs. Turns out that drug approvals by the FDA only consider effectiveness and safety, not cost or comparison with other drugs or approaches. An example she gave was Vanda's new sleep drug, which is just a modified form of melatonin, but is very expensive. (see below).

She also pointed out that insurance companies do not contest charges although they may negotiate them down. One reason they give is that to contest them, they may have to go to court. Another reason is that if the charge is from a large hospital or treatment system, they do not want to anger them and lose their business. Also, insurance companies know they can pass on the costs to the insured.

Not mentioned by her but discussed with another member of the audience is that physicians only recommend standard treatments. In his case, he was diagnosed with 80% arterial blockage and underwent triple bypass surgery at Stanford Medical Hospital. The bill was $500k, which the insurance company "negotiated down" to $300k. However, Dean Ornish, Caldwell Esselstyn, John McDougall, and others have shown that switching to a low-fat vegan diet can clear blocked arteries quickly and without surgery or a large pile of money.

The Disinformation Playbook

Vitamin D does not fit into the business model of health care in the U.S. I recently heard a program at the Commonwealth Club on how tobacco and oil and coal interests and the National Football League cast doubt on evidence that their product was causing great harm. They all followed The Disinformation Playbook Union of Concerned Scientists – Dec 2017

1) The Fake

Conduct counterfeit science and try to pass it off as legitimate research


  • How Georgia-Pacific Knowingly Published Fake Science on the Safety of Asbestos
  • Industry Groups Used Cherry-Picked Science to Avoid Regulation of Chromium
  • Merck Manipulated the Science about the Drug Vioxx
  • Fossil Fuel Companies Distorted the Science about the Dangers of Benzene

2) The Blitz

Harass scientists who speak out with results or views inconvenient for industry


  • The NFL Tried to Intimidate Scientists Studying the Link between Pro Football and Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Syngenta Harassed the Scientist Who Exposed Risks of its Herbicide Atrazine
  • How the Fossil Fuel Industry Harassed Climate Scientist Michael Mann
  • GlaxoSmithKline Tried to Silence the Scientist Who Exposed the Dangers of its Drug Avand

3) The Diversion

Manufacture uncertainty about science where little or none exists


  • How Fossil Fuel Lobbyists Used “Astroturf” Front Groups to Confuse the Public
  • The Corn Refiners Association Used Front Groups to Spread Disinformation about Sugar and Health
  • The Indoor Tanning Association Used Misleading Ad Campaigns to Distort Skin Cancer Science
  • How the American Chemistry Council Sowed Uncertainty about Formaldehyde Risks

4) The Screen

Buy credibility through alliances with academia or professional societies


  • How Coca-Cola Disguised Its Influence on Science about Sugar and Health
  • The Fossil Fuel Industry Hid the Truth about Its Funding of Fracking Research
  • Philip Morris Funds University Research—with Strings Attached
  • The Case of ExxonMobil and the American Geophysical Union

5) The Fix

Manipulate government officials or processes to inappropriately influence policy


  • How Dow Chemical Influenced the EPA to Ignore the Scientific Evidence on Chlorpyrifos**
  • Pfizer Pressured the FDA to Downplay the Risks of Its Arsenical Animal Drug
  • How the NRA Suppressed Gun Violence Research
  • BP and Other Companies Exploited a Regulatory Agency to Continue Negligent Offshore Drilling

I looked at the evidence to see whether that is being done for vitamin D and the answer is an emphatic yes.

Vanda's Sleep Disorder Drug Is A Nightmare - TheStreet – June 2013
Jun 19, 2013 - Vanda's Sleep Disorder Drug Is A Nightmare. ... Tasimelteon belongs to the melatonin family of compounds which helps regulate the 24-hour sleep-wake cycle, also known as circadian rhythm.
Why a drug maker is spending big on TV ads aimed at the blind - May 2016
May 4, 2016 - Vanda's drug, sold as Hetlioz, costs $148,000 a year, 76 percent more than when it was first introduced in 2014, according to the research firm Truven ... Non-24 sleep-wake disorder 5, often called “non-24,” is a circadian rhythm disorder in which the body clock is out of sync 6 with the 24-hour cycle of night ...
Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder - VANDA Pharmaceuticals
A misalignment between an individual's body clock and their sleep-wake schedule may result in a Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder (CRSD). Examples of CRSDs include Shift Work Sleep Disorder, Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder, Jet Lag, and Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder.

Henry Lahore, founder of VitaminDWiki, sees 3) The Diversion, frequently

Vitamin D Studies which appear to intentionally confuse the public are frequently wrong - in 5 to 12 ways
I was confused about net neutrality - then found that was confusion was strategy of the lobbyists

The Global Disinformation Campaign Against Ivermectin - The "Blitz"

Pierre Kory substack Nov 7, 2022

Ivermectin pages on VitaminDWiki = Ivermectin and COVID-19 - many studies

- The Disinformation Playbook - Union of Concerned Scientists - 2017 (nice charts)


See also web

  • The disinformation playbook: how industry manipulates the science-policy process—and how to restore scientific integrity - December 2021 DOI: 10.1057/s41271-021-00318-6 FREE PDF

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Attached files

ID Name Comment Uploaded Size Downloads
18777 5 Fix.jpg admin 07 Nov, 2022 51.08 Kb 141
18776 4 Screen.jpg admin 07 Nov, 2022 53.80 Kb 132
18775 3 Diversion.jpg admin 07 Nov, 2022 56.31 Kb 129
18774 2 Flitz.jpg admin 07 Nov, 2022 50.27 Kb 127
18773 1 Fake.jpg admin 07 Nov, 2022 48.59 Kb 149
9596 Chlorpyrifos per mile.jpg admin 28 Mar, 2018 83.23 Kb 584