We needed a truthful account of how cigarettes have become the highest selling addictive drug in the history of the human race, lawfully. Alan Brandt, Harvard Professor of History of Medicine and Science, and author of the recently published "The Cigarette Century - The Rise, Fall, and Deadly Persistence of the Product That Defined America" tells us the extra-ordinary story of the rise of the "modern cigarette" in the 20th century. Dr. Brandt is one of the U.S.'s leading expert witnesses for federal and state tobacco-related lawsuits, after spending nearly twenty years researching on this topic. In the 2004 U.S. vs. Philip Morris trial, Dr. Brandt was cross-examined for nearly two days, and for the first time in U.S. history, tobacco companies were found to have breached Federal statutes on racketeering. Dr. Brandt was quoted 200 times in the verdict, apparently.
I'm going out on a limb here but in many respects, a patient is not a consumer. Most of the changes in the medical system are based on the consumer model of healthcare. The problem with the consumer model is that medical service is not like buying a product from Wal-Mart. You can't return it when it malfunctions. There is no lifetime warranty. There are no guarantees. It is almost impossible to compare services of one physician to another. Every surgeon or physician practices a little different. It is difficult to define what is the "best" service or product.
Medicare recently came out with its "Never Pay" guidelines. The presumed motivation is the exponentially rising cost of medical care over the years that payers cannot sustain. The largest payer in the world is the U.S. Government in the form of Medicare payments. In an effort to reduce costs, Medicare has been steadily dinging reimbursements to physicians and hospitals in every medical specialty.
A recent issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) released articles dedicated to the study of conflict, human rights, and international mental health consequences. Some of the most striking papers dealt specifically with the psychological effects of war as well as the implications exposure to violent war crimes have on efforts towards peace building. Theory built off of conventional research has already established the links between external conflict and severe psychological trauma for children as well as adults.