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Archive for Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Dr. Alan Cowles: Medical disclosures need reform

August 4, 2009

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Alan Cowles

Alan Cowles

Dr. Alan Cowles, Social Security disability benefits advocate

While most health reform talk has centered on the high costs of health care and the millions of uninsured Americans, Cowles would like to see reform when it comes to medical disclosures.

“Through legislation, we need a much higher standard of honesty and a promotion of health care services, which would require full and balanced disclosure of benefits and harms,” he said.

For example, he said there is a drug being promoted for the treatment of strep throat.

“What the advertisement doesn’t say and should be required to say is that it has not been found to be more effective than other antibiotics and that it costs more than 10 times as much as the antibiotics taken twice daily,” he said. “It’s — as many drugs — promoted without full and balanced disclosure of the benefits and harms.”

He also said prices for medical care, such as X-rays, can vary greatly from place to place.

“We see this great disparity and we see some people with insurance plans being charged far less than people without,” Cowles said. “That’s a big problem. If you don’t have insurance, you are at the mercy of the health care provider.”

Cowles said he is afraid the nation will end up with a set of uncoordinated reforms that don’t work well together and don’t serve the entire American public.

“I just don’t know what these people are going to come up with and I am afraid that this may be rushed through too quickly,” he said.

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