Advanced Nerve & Laser MAY 2018

MAY 2018

3941 FM 2181, Corinth, Texas 76210 940-202-1218 www.nerveandlaser.com

A Broken System WHY AR E TH E R E SO MANY ADS FOR PA I NK I L L E RS ?

“Patients are sent to a pain-management doctor, not a pain-elimination doctor. Meanwhile, drug companies push medications that don’t cure anything.”

Not long ago, I was watching an episode of “M.A.S.H.” on TV. I can’t remember what the episode was about, but I do remember that every other commercial was for Lyrica, Cymbalta, or some other kind of pain- or nerve-damage medication. “Wow,” I thought. “These marketing teams are spending a lot of money to advertise during ‘M.A.S.H.’”

Shortly after, when I was watching Fox News, I saw the same thing; every other commercial was for some pain or depression medication. And I saw the trend again while watching a financial report on CNBC! During every commercial break, I was bombarded with ads for medications to treat the pain associated with neuropathy. Considering how many products there are to advertise, I thought it was weird that the ads I saw most often — more than commercials for food or big-name stores — were commercials for pain medications. Then it dawned on me: Neuropathy is a gigantic problem in the United States, and the pharmaceutical companies know this. But instead of investing in research to cure the disease, they pour their money into advertisements, targeting people who are in pain, so they can make even more money. At least, that’s what people are told by their doctors, so they think the best option is to just “deal” with the pain. Patients are sent to a pain-management doctor, not a pain-elimination doctor. Meanwhile, drug companies push medications that don’t cure anything. They may take the pain away for a little while, but inevitably, patients have to up their doses and suffer from the medication’s side effects. Then patients have to give drug companies more money for other medications to deal with those side effects. I promise I’m not putting on my tin foil hat here. It’s well-known that our health care system is broken. There is no cure for neuropathy.

Consumer Reports found that half of all Americans are taking an average of four different medications regularly, but all these pills aren’t making anyone any better. Market research from the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics found that we spend around $200 billion a year on unnecessary medications and the related medical costs. It’s a bad system that more patients get caught in every day, and it can feel like there’s no end in sight. May begins with Neuropathy Awareness Week, from May 6–12. This year, I don’t just want to raise awareness about the 20 million people in the U.S. alone who struggle with the pain of neuropathy every day; I also want to raise awareness about the fact that the system we are being pulled into does not work! This applies to patients with neuropathy, high blood pressure, diabetes, or even cancer. Prescription medications taken to cover the pain and doctors who only help “manage” the pain aren’t good enough. We need to take our health into our own hands. Take time to do research about your condition and the medications and treatment options you’re being offered, and ask, “Are these things a temporary Band-Aid over a single symptom, or will they help me get healthy and feel better?” At the office, my goal is to help patients get out of the cycle that values financial gain over their well-being. It is possible to beat the system. You just need to be willing to ignore all those ads selling an “easy fix” and dig into the core of the problem.

–Dr. Bao Tha i

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