Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend 50 (50 Shares)  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites View Stats   13 comments

Exclusive to OpEdNews:
Life Arts

The cholesterol - heart disease scam: How the medical-industrial complex is raking in billions at our expense

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 4 of 5 pages)
Related Topic(s): , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

Become a Fan
  (111 fans)
- Advertisement -

Know your Fats: MARY G. ENIG


New York, NY -- CT angiography is expensive, clinically unproven, entails risk, and is overused by cardiologists, who generally gain financially when the scans are performed, according to a broadly detailed, smartly written feature that received front-page treatment in the June 29, 2008 issue of the New York Times [1].

- Advertisement -

The story, from journalists Alex Berenson and Reed Abelson-rich in commentary from physicians, patients, and representatives of third-party payers-has a clear cautionary tilt, presented as a kind of parable on conflicts between the best and the worst of the American healthcare system.

"Increasing use of the scans . . . is part of a much larger trend in American medicine. A faith in innovation, often driven by financial incentives, encourages American doctors and hospitals to adopt new technologies even without proof that they work better than older techniques," the article states. Some groups are calling for supporting evidence, "but the story of the CT angiogram is a sobering reminder of the forces that overwhelm such efforts, making it very difficult to rein in a new technology long enough to determine whether its benefits are worth its costs."

Cardiologists simply practice medicine the way the health system rewards them to. Given the opportunity to recommend a test for which they will make money, the doctors will. This is not greed. . . . This is normal economic behavior. The article leads off with the story of a San Francisco cardiologist who turned down an offer from another practice to become co-owner of a cardiac CT scanner, which had a million-dollar price tag. Cautious of the shortage of supporting evidence and the radiation risk, Dr Andrew Rosenblatt "worried that he and other doctors in his clinic would feel pressure to give scans to people who might not need them in order to pay for the equipment," according to the story. "If you have ownership of the machine," Rosenblatt is quoted as saying, "you're going to want to utilize the machine."

Once the scanner is purchased, the article notes, "doctors and hospitals have every incentive to use the machines as often as feasible. To pay off a scanner, doctors need to conduct about 3000 tests, industry consultants say."

According to Georgetown University economist Jean M Mitchell, "fees from imaging have become a significant part of cardiologists' income-accounting for half or more of the $400 000 or so that cardiologists typically make in this country."

Later, Mitchell notes, "Cardiologists simply practice medicine the way the health system rewards them to. Given the opportunity to recommend a test for which they will make money, the doctors will. 'This is not greed,' she said. 'This is normal economic behavior.' "

Hazards and overuse

CT angiograms also increase healthcare costs by prompting other, often-unnecessary tests-perfusion scans in particular-according to the story. "We're seeing layering of tests on top of each other," Dr Russell Amico, a CareCore executive, says. His company, which reviews treatment and test results for insurers, denies up to 70% of CT-angiography requests, it states.

Cardiac-care consultant John O. Goodman is quoted: "You find a lot of asymptomatic disease. . . . It will put more patients in the cath lab." When that happens, the discovery of stenoses large enough to demand revascularization is so rare that routine use of the imaging technology isn't worth the downsides, according to the story.

Stenoses in general "are not necessarily a threat," says Dr Eric Topol (Scripps Translational Science Institute, La Jolla, CA) in the article, which explains that CT angiography can't usually show when a stenosis is functionally serious and can never predict when a plaque is likely to rupture.

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5


Take action -- click here to contact your local newspaper or congress people:
Stop the cholesterol - heart disease scam

Click here to see the most recent messages sent to congressional reps and local newspapers

Several years after receiving my M.A. in social science (interdisciplinary studies) I was an instructor at S.F. State University for a year, but then went back to designing automated machinery, and then tech writing, in Silicon Valley. I've (more...)

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

Go To Commenting

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Follow Me on Twitter

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles
Related Topic(s): , Add Tags
- Advertisement -

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

New JFK assassination bombshells

Was Pat Tillman Murdered by an American Sharpshooter to Shut Him up?

The cholesterol - heart disease scam: How the medical-industrial complex is raking in billions at our expense

Two U.S. presidents implicated by ex-CIA black-ops assassin

Four Ticking Time Bombs That Will Soon Ignite a Revolution

The Ultimate Goal of the Bankster-led Political-economic Warfare Being Waged Against Us Is . . . ?


The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
6 people are discussing this page, with 13 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

Thanks for a solid article with good references. I... by Ashley Howes on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 4:37:01 PM
Thank you so much for this incredible compilation ... by Bob Trowbridge on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 7:04:51 PM
Well this article kind of proves, you don't ne... by Mel Smith on Saturday, Nov 22, 2008 at 7:50:59 PM
Is the link still operational for others?... by Richard Clark on Sunday, Nov 23, 2008 at 10:15:27 AM
As some wise man once said, “No matter how m... by Richard Clark on Sunday, Nov 23, 2008 at 10:48:37 AM
I was a scientist in a past life and the marketing... by E. Nelson on Sunday, Nov 23, 2008 at 1:51:32 PM
Thank you very much for adding that information to... by Richard Clark on Sunday, Nov 23, 2008 at 8:47:56 PM
Here is the link to my OpEd piece on Flax seed as ... by E. Nelson on Wednesday, Nov 26, 2008 at 4:18:40 PM
Okay, let's have a little perspective.  V... by Peter Wedlund on Monday, Nov 24, 2008 at 4:27:00 PM
My understanding is that even with high ... by Richard Clark on Monday, Nov 24, 2008 at 9:17:59 PM
You said that some people clearly benefit mor... by Richard Clark on Monday, Nov 24, 2008 at 9:45:50 PM
Why statins are promoted  Billions can be mad... by Richard Clark on Wednesday, Nov 26, 2008 at 4:25:01 PM
. . I need to tell any readers to reconsider all t... by Richard Clark on Thursday, May 7, 2009 at 8:12:06 PM