No Such Thing As a Free Lunch – and other news

by DavalosMcCormack on September 8, 2008

Your mother was right; no one ever gives you something for nothing. Take drug companies. They often give doctors free samples of their new products, but guess who ends up paying? That’s right, you and me, the patients.

A new study in the September issue of Southern Medical Journal says that free drug samples given to doctors by drug companies could end up costing uninsured and even some insured patients a lot of money.

The reason is pretty obvious when you think about it; brand name drugs are more expensive than generics, and pharmaceutical companies only give out free samples of their newest, and usually most expensive, brand name medications.

If the doctor gives the patient the free drug sample to treat their condition, say high blood pressure, and it works then it’s likely the patient will want to keep taking that medication. But once the free samples run out the patient has to pay for it themselves, and with brand name drugs that can quickly run into a lot of money.

Normal Weight Obesity
It sounds like an oxymoron doesn’t it? If you are normal weight how can you also be obese. The answer comes in the September issue of Mayo Clinic Women’s HealthSource.

The researchers say obesity is defined as having excess body fat, not excess body weight. So men who have more than 20 percent body fat, and women more than 30 percent, are considered obese, even if they are normal weight for their height.

The researchers have yet more bad news, saying more than half of Americans who are considered ‘normal weight’ actually have high levels of body fat.

It’s a reminder that appearances can be deceiving and that just because you think you look healthy, doesn’t mean you are. If you are not being active and exercising regularly, and if you are not eating a healthy balanced diet, then just because you are slim doesn’t mean you aren’t also obese.

Obesity Increases Asthma Danger
As if that last little item wasn’t depressing enough, here’s some more bad news for people who are seriously overweight. Obese people who have asthma are nearly fives times more likely to end up in the hospital than non-obese people with the disease.

The study, done by Kaiser Permanente  and published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, compared more than 1,100 obese and non-obese patients with asthma. They found that obese people with asthma have significantly worse asthma control, lower asthma-related quality of life, and were 4.6 times more likely to end up in the hospital.

When you realize that there are around 6 million American adults who are both obese and have asthma you can appreciate what a huge burden that is on the health care system and, obviously, on the individuals themselves.

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