Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Narcotic Pain Killers are Overprescribed


I am a Software Architect for a Fortune 500 company. My job is to take large amounts of information, filter through it and find the important facts, trends, techniques, subtleties, and truths. Let me take a moment to talk about a truth of the US Medical system.

1) The US Healthcare system over prescribes narcotic pain killers.

I broke my collar bone on Friday while playing soccer and had surgery this morning to have a plate implanted over the two pieces of my collar bone. After the surgery the nurses insisted that I take narcotic pain killers to for the unbearable pain they described I would have once the local block wore off. They even convinced my wife who is a fan of natural foods and medicines that I absolutely had to have narcotic pain killers. All the way to the car the nurse pleaded to my wife to make sure that I took them. I didn’t because I value my brain cells. Guess what, I was fine. I was uncomfortable for 4 hours between 8pm and 12am, but I used ice which eased the pain just as well as a narcotic drug could have. Ice does not have harmful side effects and is not addictive. It is also harder for insurance companies, doctors and pharmacies to make healthy margins on. So that is why doctors prescribe narcotic pain killers. First, they have a monopoly on being able to prescribe them, and secondly, they are a great source of recurring revenue.

Before I sound disgruntled, let me say that I am very happy with my orthopedic surgeon. I think he did a good job. He was helpful and friendly, skillful and most importantly didn’t cut any of my arteries while installing hardware in my shoulder. I will be forever grateful to him and his staff for fixing me. However, I hope that you will share this truth with your doctor and start a grass roots effort to help our HealthCare system focus on wellness and not profit margins which will save the great US of A from exploding Healthcare costs while improving personal health, and happiness.


Next time: How healthcare providers and insurance companies collude to overbill patients…