A lot of effort and study is going into improving healthcare and untangling its cost structure. So methinks it’s nearly criminal when someone blocks adoption of a treatment that’s better, especially when it’s also less expensive.

Case in point, from yesterday’s NY Times: The Evidence Gap: The Minimal Impact of a Big Hypertension Study

The surprising news made headlines in December 2002. Generic pills for high blood pressure, which had been in use since the 1950s and cost only pennies a day, worked better than newer drugs that were up to 20 times as expensive.

The findings, from one of the biggest clinical trials ever organized by the federal government, promised to save the nation billions of dollars in treating the tens of millions of Americans with hypertension.

Six years later, though, the use of [diuretics] is far smaller than some of the trial’s organizers had hoped.

What?? I use diuretics, prescribed by my e-patient doc, Danny Sands. Doesn’t every BP patient? They reduce water content in the body, lowering blood pressure. Why isn’t every BP patient doing this?

… pharmaceutical companies responded by heavily marketing their own expensive hypertension drugs and, in some cases, paying speakers to publicly interpret the Allhat results in ways that made their products look better.

“The pharmaceutical industry ganged up and attacked, discredited the findings,” Dr. Furberg said. He eventually resigned in frustration as chairman of the study’s steering committee, the expert group that continues to oversee analysis of data from the trial. One member of that committee received more than $200,000 from Pfizer, largely in speaking fees, the year after the Allhat results were released.

This is disgusting.

Obstruction of justice is a crime; why not obstruction of healthcare?

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