Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Placebo Effect and the Healthcare Debate

An Artist’s Gut Reaction

I was trudging away on the elliptical machine at the gym as I watched the huge flat screen TVs suspended above and in front of the rows of machines. As usual, the screen in front of my machine was tuned to CNBC, the investment news channel, and the text for the mouth flapping talking heads scrolled across the screen. It was all about the drug companies panic over the placebo effect. The pundits said that many of the drug trials during the past ten years showed the placebo to often be as effective as the actual medication being tested. Why?

The talking head explanation was that the doctor/patient relationship isn’t thorough enough.


Non sequitur!

My initial reaction – "that’s ridiculous" – was also totally inadequate. So, what is the actual explanation for the placebo effect, and why were the talking heads so far off base with their stupid elucidation - Oh, yes, or the lack thereof? My supposition is that these investment gurus are Republicans, and Republican Power wishes to blame everything and anything for the placebo effect. Everything except BIG MONEY, INSURANCE COMPANIES, PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES and their RICH money giving JOHNS” (Yes, I am indicating that the rich and powerful in the Republican Party, are like prostitutes.)
I think a doctoral dissertation might begin to deal with why the flapping mouthed pundits had it so wrong. However, I will attempt an extremely brief explanation from my artist’s emotional perception of such things.

There you have it. My artist’s emotional reaction and answer, and I know I’m correct. I understand the basics behind such an inadequate explanation on the part of the know-it-all investment pundits on CNBC.

Those mouth flapping talking heads just can't admit the real problem here. That is that the drug companies covered up the placibo effect for over 10 years because they want to make money, and they are paying our Republican Senators and Congressmen to block the healthcare legislation to protect themselves.

They don't ever want to find out how to make the placebo effect work for the patient!


Steve Silberman said...

Well John, not to become alarmingly real, but as the main guest on that show -- and no vacuous "talking head" financial pundit I, but a longtime in-depth science reporter for Wired -- might I ask you to at least skim the article I was talking about? Your graphic summation above leaves out a lot, even if you come to the same conclusion about Big Pharma's motivations. I'm a big proponent of health care reform, and you might even find the article interesting.

Dr. John Bittinger Klomp said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dr. John Bittinger Klomp said...

Hi Steve,

I did read your article. In fact, I even linked to it in this entry. And, I found the article extremely informative. However, this journal entry represents my very personal and emotional artist's reaction to the statement made during the program – not by you – that the placebo effect is the result of poor doctor / patient intercourse - not your article. Additionally, this entry is not meant as an intellectual summation of or reaction to that total program. I am, however, pleased that your conclusions are the same about “pharma’s” motivations as my own.

Steve Silberman said...

Thanks so much, John.