The distribution of the tamiflu vaccine seems to capture, at a glance (maybe a lengthy glance), the current state of our healthcare system. Two articles last week told this story.
The first article was Researchers: Tamiflu may not benefit otherwise healthy people.
British researchers say there is little evidence Tamiflu stops complications in healthy people who catch the flu...The researchers said the benefits of Tamiflu were small and that authorities should consider its side effects before using the drug in healthy people.
Fiona Godlee, BMJ*'s editor, said the papers cast doubt not only on how safe and effective Tamiflu is, but on the drug regulatory system that approved it. "Governments around the world have spent billions of pounds (dollars) on a drug that the scientific community now finds itself unable to judge," she said in a statement.
The second article was Corporate employers got scarce flu vaccine first.
When the swine flu vaccine was most scarce, health officials gave thousands of doses to corporate clinics at Walt Disney World, Toyota, defense contractors, oil companies and cruise lines.
USA TODAY examined how state health departments distributed H1N1 vaccine after public outcry last month over Wall Street firms such as Goldman Sachs receiving doses while doctors and hospitals encountered shortages.
So...billions have been spent on a vaccine drug which researchers cannot say definitively and with supporting data offers benefits in healthy people. And isn’t that the demographic of vaccines: healthy people? And isn’t that the point of vaccines to sustain and protect healthy users?
And...this drug was then made available on a priority-basis first to large corporations, not healthcare providers, and to the able-bodied employees of these corporations and not those high-risk members of our communities which were children under 6 years of age, elderly, pregnant women and those with underlying health issues.
Our current healthcare system and its benefits is made affordable to those who can afford it and least likely to need it: the able-bodied employees of large corporations with health insurance and health care as an employee benefit.
Children, those with underlying issues, increasingly the elderly and pregnant women....and those unable to afford health insurance and its benefit of timely healthcare....are left with clinics unstocked with the treatments they need.
As a result, some call our healthcare system The 150,000 - Life Healthcare Plan
The Institute of Medicine developed a detailed methodology for projecting the lives lost due to lack of insurance. The original paper estimated that 18,000 lives were lost in 2000, and the Urban Institute updated that analysis with data for 2006, yielding an estimate of 22,000 lives. As for 150,000, well, that's almost certainly too low. That's just the 2006 number across 10 years...
Maybe we should call it Our Current 150,000+ Lives Lost Healthcare Plan.