Health Care System
Dr. Ben Kim
of the main goals that I have is to encourage our readers to learn how to be their
own best doctors.
don't misunderstand me; I think that there are some wonderfully caring and competent
doctors in our world.
there are also many doctors who don't have each of their patients' best interests
at or even near the top of their list of priorities.
the years, it's become clear to me that a big part of the problem with our health
care system is the system itself; our current health care system doesn't encourage
doctors to teach their patients to prevent disease and address health conditions
with simple food and lifestyle choices.
for example, the health care system here in Canada. I often hear leaders of other
countries, most notably, the United States, tout the universal health care system
in Canada as being the ideal system - one in which every man, woman, and child
has access to free health care.
on the surface the Canadian system appears to be an effective one, as far as I
can tell, it is just as sick as other health care systems throughout the world.
be more specific, medical doctors here in Ontario, Canada, are paid an average
of $27 Canadian dollars per routine office visit. Initial visits that involve
a thorough physical examination are usually billed at $60 Canadian dollars per
another way, for routine office visits, medical doctors here in Ontario have no
financial motivation to take their time and consider their patients' food and
a patient comes in with a chief complaint of a chronic headache, the doctor could
spend an hour gathering critical information on a patient's diet and lifestyle,
and then go on to address any changes that could be made to address the chronic
the doctor could spend five minutes going through the motions - pulse, blood pressure,
pupillary reflexes, and other quick screening measures to make the patient feel
like he or she has been adequately examined by an expert - and then write out
a prescription for a pain killer.
way, the doctor gets paid $27.
which route do you think most doctors take?
another reason why many doctors have a tendency to deal with most cases with a
prescription for a drug: the pharmaceutical industry makes it well worth their
while to do so.
how a pharmaceutical sales representative recently summarized his work for me:
take the doctor out to dinner at a fancy restaurant, all expenses paid. As dinner
winds down, I ask the doctor to recommend my company's brand for certain health
conditions among his patients. Sometimes, the doctor will say that his office
needs new equipment. I say how much? The doctor says $5,000. I say fine, but only
if you write 100 scripts (prescriptions) for a specific drug made by our company
each month. The doctor agrees, and we get him his new $5,000 machine."
of curiosity, I asked the pharmaceutical sales rep how he and his company can
be sure that the doctor will follow through on his word to write out 100 prescriptions
of their drug each month. Can't the doctor just take his $5,000 machine and not
follow through on his promise?
all pharmaceutical companies pay big money to a huge, global corporation called
IMS that tracks this type of data," was the rep's instant reply.
a fee, IMS can provide date-specific data to pharmaceutical companies that breaks
down exactly how many prescriptions of each drug that each licensed doctor has
handed out and how many of them have been fulfilled at licensed pharmacies.
other words, the managers who work for pharmaceutical companies who approve $5,000
gifts have a sure-fire way of verifying that their gifts are properly reciprocated.
I think that we can all safely assume that this regular exchange of gifts does
not amount to a net profit of zero dollars for the pharmaceutical industry. Just
in case you don't want to make this assumption, consider that the IMS reports
that in 2005, global pharmaceutical sales amounted to 602 billion
dollars; mucho dinero, n'est pas?
let's pretend for a moment that you're a doctor who now has to write 100 prescriptions
per month for a specific drug that helps to regulate blood glucose.
a patient walks into your office and shows a mild to moderately elevated fasting
blood glucose level, would you take a half hour to an hour to explain what he
or she can do with food and lifestyle choices to have a great shot at lowering
blood glucose to a healthy level? Or would you write a quick prescription for
a blood glucose-regulating drug to bring your target for the month down to 99
is one of the most powerful ways in which big pharmaceutical companies have helped
to create a sick health care system; they provide strong financial incentives
for doctors to choose drugs over health education for patients.
bottom line: putting your health entirely in another person's hands, namely, your
doctor's, is never as good a choice as learning how to be your own best doctor.
how to choose nutrient-dense foods.
about the critical roles that fresh air, clean water, some exposure to sunlight,
physical activity, and proper physical and emotional rest play in determining
your health state.
how negative emotions can cause physical damage to your cells.
importantly, apply all of this knowledge to your everyday life as soon as possible;
be your own best doctor.
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