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Reversed “Out-Sourced” Primary Care Docs

Medical Talent, Supply-Demand and Global Economics

Staff Writers

A new study from the General Accountability Office [GAO] indicates that the number of US doctors specializing in primary care is falling. 

Now, that’s the bad news, and one wonders if this is a result of the income-gap disparity between generalists and specialists? 

Statistics 

The good news is that the numerical gap is being covered by doctors who move here from other countries.

The report states that there were 22,146 American doctors in residency programs for primary care practice, down from 23,801 in 1995. Meanwhile, the number of international medical graduates training in primary care climbed from 13,025 in 1995 to 15,565 in 2006.  

Ugh!  Did we say “good news?”

Assessment 

The presence of foreign-born physicians goes well beyond primary care. 

For example, one in four new physicians is currently an international medical graduate, according to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who spoke at a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee meeting where the report was presented.

Conclusion

And so, is this an example of basic economics 101 in-play, and a modern type of reverse in-sourcing of medical talent? Worker unions, take note.

Institutional info: www.HealthcareFinancials.com

The Jarvik Affair

“What’s up with That?”

By Patrick C. Cox, Jr 

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How many times have you viewed the Lipitor® “educational” commercial featuring Dr. Robert Jarvik?  

If you are like me, probably often since Pfizer appears set on getting their money’s worth from the production. The spot pops up everywhere it seems. Pretty impressive with the rowing, the lake, and natural beauty along with a heartfelt pitch from Jarvik on what a difference Lipitor® has made in his life.

He shares his thoughts that Lipitor® is one of the most researched drugs and he’s glad that he takes it as a doctor, and a dad. 

Well, the commercial may have run one time too many.  Questions have been raised by consumers and now congressional figures as to Jarvik’s credibility and his Lipitor® endorsement.

For example, he never pursued a medical internship, is not licensed to practice and can’t legally prescribe.   

Of course, Jarvik has been recently defending his status as a scientist and his role in simply educating the public in the ad.  But, his revelation as a past Lipitor® patient, with implied personal endorsement, could certainly make patients feel they’re missing something if they too aren’t taking the compound. 

heart

Assessment 

Of course, we all know the real reason behind the ad.  Pfizer has invested millions hoping Jarvis’s personal endorsement will get patients saying to themselves, “Hey, Dr. Jarvik prescribes it for his patients and takes it himself, how come I’m not on it?”  

The next step they’re hoping for is for them to ask their “prescribing” physician the same thing.  

Assessment

Well that’s the problem, isn’t it? Lipitor® is a good drug, but it’s not for everyone.  And, only doctors should know what’s best for their own patient’s; right?  

So, should drug companies be held accountable for these ads and/or provide more disclosure to the public?  

In other word’s, should Pfizer have told us that Jarvik isn’t really a doctor, can’t and isn’t prescribing anything to anyone – and wait a second – did he really even take Lipitor® at all?  

Guess only his “prescribing” physician would know, for sure! 

Conclusion

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