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QUALITY/INTERNATIONAL: More confusing international comparisons

I don’t know much about medical care, but I do remember that in Lynn Payer’s Medicine and Culture the most amusing factoid was that German doctors put people whose blood pressure was too low on medication to raise it. Does that mean that the study of blood pressure control reported on by the AP, which suggests that it’s lower here because of more aggressive prescribing than in 4 other countries, means anything in terms of reducing poor health outcomes? I doubt it. What about in increasing or reducing costs? I suspect you can guess my answer!  Here’s the abstract.

This stuff always reminds me of the Philip Morris study of the costs of smoking in the Czech Republic. Hint: smoking lowers societal costs cause the smokers pay more taxes than anyone else then die off quick before they cost the taxpayers much!

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