corner
Healthy Skepticism
Join us to help reduce harm from misleading health information.
Increase font size   Decrease font size   Print-friendly view   Print
Register Log in

Healthy Skepticism Library item: 20415

Warning: This library includes all items relevant to health product marketing that we are aware of regardless of quality. Often we do not agree with all or part of the contents.

 

Publication type: Journal Article

Woolf SH, Johnson RE.
The break-even point: when medical advances are less important than improving the fidelity with which they are delivered.
Ann Fam Med 2005; 3:(6):545-52
http://www.annfammed.org/content/3/6/545.long


Abstract:

Society invests billions of dollars in the development of new drugs and technologies but comparatively little in the fidelity of health care, that is, improving systems to ensure the delivery of care to all patients in need. Using mathematical arguments and a nomogram, we demonstrate that technological advances must yield dramatic, often unrealistic increases in efficacy to do more good than could be accomplished by improving fidelity. In 2 examples (the development of anti-platelet agents and statins), we show that enhanced efficacy failed to achieve the health gains that would have occurred by delivering older agents to all eligible patients. Society’s huge investment in technological innovations that only modestly improve efficacy, by consuming resources needed for improved delivery of care, may cost more lives than it saves. The misalignment of priorities is driven partly by the commercial interests of industry and by the public’s appetite for technological breakthroughs, but health outcomes ultimately suffer. Health, economic, and moral arguments make the case for spending less on technological advances and more on improving systems for delivering care.

 

  Healthy Skepticism on RSS   Healthy Skepticism on Facebook   Healthy Skepticism on Twitter

Please
Click to Register

(read more)

then
Click to Log in
for free access to more features of this website.

Forgot your username or password?

You are invited to
apply for membership
of Healthy Skepticism,
if you support our aims.

Pay a subscription

Support our work with a donation

Buy Healthy Skepticism T Shirts


If there is something you don't like, please tell us. If you like our work, please tell others.

Email a Friend








Cases of wilful misrepresentation are a rarity in medical advertising. For every advertisement in which nonexistent doctors are called on to testify or deliberately irrelevant references are bunched up in [fine print], you will find a hundred or more whose greatest offenses are unquestioning enthusiasm and the skill to communicate it.

The best defence the physician can muster against this kind of advertising is a healthy skepticism and a willingness, not always apparent in the past, to do his homework. He must cultivate a flair for spotting the logical loophole, the invalid clinical trial, the unreliable or meaningless testimonial, the unneeded improvement and the unlikely claim. Above all, he must develop greater resistance to the lure of the fashionable and the new.
- Pierre R. Garai (advertising executive) 1963