Pharmaceuticals… It’s all about advertising, not R & D.

These two recent articles highlight some of the ironies of our hobbled healthcare system. On the one hand, pharmaceutical companies are spending record amounts on advertising–mostly targeted directly at doctors and consumers. The biggest spender, Johnson & Johnson, shelled out $17.5 billion on sales and marketing in 2013, compared with $8.2 billion for R&D.

One the other hand, doctors –via The American Medical Association– on Tuesday called for a ban on advertising prescription drugs and medical devices directly to consumers, saying the ads drive patients to demand expensive treatments over less costly ones that are also effective.

Trapped in the System: A Sick Doctor’s Story … we know exactly how you feel.

This story illustrates the complexity of navigating our healthcare system. Imagine what its like when you’re an elderly citizen, on a fixed income, with limited access to transportation, and a rudimentary grasp of the internet and online self-service. We’re glad to see a doctor who is part of the system explain his difficulty in getting even the most basic of prescriptions.  If this is how much trouble I have navigating a simple refilling of my medication, I don’t know how the rest of America does it.

Source: Trapped in the System: A Sick Doctor’s Story – The New York Times