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Author Archive: Peter Ubel

About Peter Ubel

12/22/2017

Why Living in a Rich Country Can Give You Cancer

Shutterstock As a primary care physician, I have counseled thousands of patients to get cancer screening—blood tests to look for prostate cancer, mammograms to detect impalpable breast cancers, and colonoscopies to find precancerous colon lesions. I’ve even tried to find … Continue reading

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12/18/2017

How a Leading Medical Journal Helped a Pharmaceutical Company Exaggerate Medication Benefits

Shutterstock How excited would you be about a medication that lowered your risk of cardiovascular death, heart attack, or stroke by 1.5%? Excited enough to spend a few thousand dollars a year on the drug? I expect not. What if, … Continue reading

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12/06/2017

You Know Who Else Fails ‘The Jimmy Kimmel Test?’ Hospital Emergency Rooms

(Randy Holmes/ABC via Getty Images) When Jimmy Kimmel’s child was diagnosed with a serious heart condition, Kimmel realized that people without his wealth (or his generous insurance coverage) would not be able to pay for the life-saving care that his … Continue reading

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12/04/2017

Healthcare Spending and Life Expectancy: in One Stunning Picture

Let me be clear: how long people live in any country of the world is determined by lots of things, not just by the quality of their healthcare system. Nevertheless, one of the things medical care is supposed to do … Continue reading

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11/27/2017

The Life-Expectancy Gap in One Depressing Picture

Here, from the Financial Times, is a picture showing that the lower your income, the less increase you’ve gotten in life-expectancy the last four decades: Income inequality is one of the largest human problems of this century.

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11/24/2017

Your Doctor May Spend More Time with a Computer than with You

Shutterstock Medical appointments are getting shorter by the year. Sometimes it feels like doctors have no time to spend with their patients. What’s to blame for these brief clinical interactions? It could be the electronic health record, or EHR. Because … Continue reading

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11/20/2017

Party First, Ideology Later

We think of political parties as being ideological homes. If you embrace conservative ideas, you gravitate to the Republican party, and so on. But probably just as often, people have party homes (“My dad was a Dem, and so am … Continue reading

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11/17/2017

Burdened by High Medication Costs? Your Boss May Be Able to Help

Shutterstock Pharmaceutical companies have been charging way too much for way too many of their products. Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton complained about drug prices during the election campaign, but neither political party has taken action since November to … Continue reading

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11/16/2017

Love This Picture

I had the great pleasure of talking about out-of-pocket healthcare costs at Periodic Tables: Durham’s Science Café, a speaker series run by The Program for Science and Society at Duke University. The crowd was absolutely awesome, and much larger than … Continue reading

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11/15/2017

Obesity Nation!

Here is a picture, courtesy of the Financial Times, showing obesity rates among OECD nations. Only 5% of people living in Korea and Japan qualify as obese. Yet obesity rates are drastically higher in the United States; if someone’s in … Continue reading

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