Friday, October 19, 2007

Physician heal thy self... of greed.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is trying to have over the counter cold and cough medicines for children under six pulled from store shelves, or at a minimum, re-labled without dosing information for children under six. They claim that the drugs do not work. But of course, ask any parent of a sick toddler if they work and you'll get a resounding yes. They also claim that parents do not abide by the dosing information and overdose their kids, sometimes fatally. My daughter who is now 13 was born premature. Luckily other than being small (she is still small for her age) she did not suffer any developmental problems. However because she was so small, her Eustachian tubes would swell closed at the drop of a hat. This poor child had basically a continuous middle ear infection from birth to 18 months, and even after finally being referred to an ENT and getting her ear tubes, she still suffered from repeated bouts of otitis media. My six year old, being larger and healthier, didn't have as many, but she too routinely comes home with a sinus/ear infection. Were over the counter decongestants and cough syrups not available, things would have been far worse I am convinced.

If the FDA does re-label or pull these drugs, they will cause even more overdose deaths. If when confronted with a percentage of your users failing to follow directions, the solution is not to eliminate the instructions altogether, it is to try to educate them better. If the dosing information is not available, haggard parents with too little sleep and a screaming child in the dead of night will use adult formulations and try to guess what the dosing information should be. That is a recipe for disaster. OTC drugs for toddlers are weaker formulations so that small errors in dosing don't result in large errors in the actual drugs being given.

This is not about safety, never was and the AAP knows it. Safety is a smokescreen for the real issue. That issue is MONEY. If your kid is screaming with an ear-ache in the middle of the night and so dizzy from the fluid in her ears that she is throwing everything up, the AAP wants to force you to go to the ER so that their member doctors can extract a co-pay from insurance companies, those doctors will in-turn give you a prescription for a drug that is identical in virtually every respect to the over the counter version you USED to could buy, You will then go to the 24 hour pharmacy and spend $20 bucks on a bottle of medicine you used to could buy without a prescription for 1/4 of the cost. Everybody wins except the patient, who must sit in the ER waiting room for hours before getting any relief at all, the parent who now pays through the nose and misses more work, the parent's employer who must do without their worker, and the insurance company that must shell out money hand over fist to pay for it all.

3 Comments:

Blogger The Dude said...

It's no surprise that so many people go outside the US to get medicines. The way the whole health care thing is structured forces you to either go buy meds outside of the country or just resign yourself to spending more money than is necessary.

October 19, 2007 4:38 PM  
Blogger John said...

I have had glue ear and found this treatment very effective.

October 20, 2007 5:35 AM  
Blogger Jean said...

Sorry to hear that your kids had/have so many problems. I don't know why, but that seems to be a common ailment with a lot of kids. I don't recall having ear aches as a kid, but that was like 100 years ago. LOL.

I agree. The cost for medications are over the top. Not having any kind of medical insurance, I guess if I get sick I'll just have to suck it up.

October 20, 2007 10:11 AM  

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