Can The Health Care Industry Be Trusted? Tune in and tell us what you think?

Not wanting to pick on GlaxoSmithKline but, a little more than a month later, the pharmaceutical giant announced that it would pay $750 million to settle both criminal and civil suits surrounding it’s sale of an antidepressant which it knew was little more than a placebo, as well as tainted baby ointment.  First of all, when you hear the word “criminal suit” you assume that someone is going to go to jail.  Yet it appears that as is the case with civil suits dollars are used as a replacement for doing time?  With the GlaxoSmithKline case, what are the differences between a civil and criminal suit?  Will someone (a person or persons) eventually be held accountable or is this type of action limited to a faceless corporate entity?

Question posed to health care expert and author of the book “Navigating The Healthcare Maze,” Jeff Knott

During yesterday evening’s PI Window on Business broadcast on the Blog Talk Radio Network (which you can listen to on-demand through the following LINK), I raised a number of tough questions which health care expert and author of the book Navigating The Healthcare Maze Jeff Knott, regarding the at times questionable activities within the health care industry.

Focusing predominantly on the pharmaceutical industry, which lets be honest as of late given the Avandia disclosure and the off-label sales of anti-depressants made the sector an easy target, there were a number of telling observations.

For example, the pharmaceutical industry itself according to Jeff recognizes the fact that it has done a poor job of communicating with the public despite operating in the era of social media where accessibility to the markets it serves has never been easier.  Coupled with Jeff’s contemplation that questionable practices of intentionally withholding clinical studies that revealed a danger posed by a particular drug have probably been going on for some time – does anyone remember the thalidomide tragedy as it has been called, one cannot help but wonder if the communication gap is more of an intentional strategy than a sincere lament.

Remember we are talking about an industry, and in particular Johnson & Johnson, that when faced with the Tylenol tampering crisis in 1982 were able to mobilize the media and inform the public at a speed that would rival the best viral dissemination of a single message in today’s virtually connected world.  In short, and under the most onerous of circumstance, communication with the public was nothing short of amazing.  The fact that these industry behemoths seemingly toil in relative obfuscating secrecy today may mean that there is something to hide.

Another point that was very telling is the sheer size and financial clout of the pharmaceutical industry.

According to data from 2002, the combined profits for the ten drug companies in the Fortune 500 ($35.9 billion) were more than the profits for all the other 490 businesses put together ($33.7 billion).  In 2003 profits of the Fortune 500 drug companies dropped to 14.3 percent of sales, still well above the median for all industries of 4.6 percent for that year.

Given these staggering numbers, I asked Jeff if the $750 million settlement that GlaxoSmithKline paid to settle the suits relating to its placebo antidepressant and tainted baby ointment was viewed as being a cost of doing business, and a low cost at that?  I will let you listen to the show to hear his answer to these as well as other probing questions.

Suffice to say, one of the key pieces of advice that Jeff delivers (and there were several), was the need for each and every one of us to take an active role in our own health care and, the health care of our family in general.   Although we are becoming more proactive in questioning the treatment recommendations of our physicians and learning more about the drugs we are being prescribed before taking them, continuing vigilance is our best and surest way of dealing with the health care industry.

Jeff Knott

Jeff Knott was born in England and graduated from Luffboro University with a BSC degree. After immigrating to the United States, he received a Masters Degree at Western Kentucky University and an Executive MBA at the University of South Florida. He participated in the Harvard Business School’s Multinational Marketing Senior Executive Program in Vevey, Switzerland.

Jeff has a unique understanding of healthcare, from his global healthcare business experiences to his own personal health challenges. He authored the best selling book “Navigating the Healthcare Maze” now on 4 Continents, and is a healthcare policy analyst for FoxNews Radio and FoxBizNews contributor. He also created the highly successful healthcare literacy series cartoon “Alfie’ featured weekly on YouTube:superjknott as a result of listening to Americans across the country who need healthcare guidance, explained in straightforward English, to survive the healthcare maze. Unpreparedness is not an option in Jeff’s vocabulary, as healthcare becomes more and more complex. With over 133 million Americans today with chronic diseases, medical facilities are full.

When you need a healthcare provider, do you feel unprepared, scared and out of control? Whom do we trust to support us during this challenging time? HAI can provide the personal support and information to successfully navigate the healthcare maze. We prepare you to be able to make better informed decisions regarding your healthcare.


Connect with Jeff Knott on Skype

(NOTE: Jeff has provided our listeners with an open invitation to call him anytime with a question via Skype at jeffkrtg)


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