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Letter: Medical insurers and pill deaths

OxyContin pills are arranged for a photo at

OxyContin pills are arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt. (Feb. 19, 2013) Credit: AP

I am curious to know why "OD deaths soar for women" [News, July 3] didn't address the culpability of the powerful pharmaceutical and American Medical Association lobbies, and their partners, the medical insurance companies. It is the pill culture that these behemoths have been successful in foisting upon our citizens that creates a rise in deaths like this.

Many doctors, even those who believe in alternative medicine, will not regularly send their patients to alternative practitioners because they get no argument from most patients when prescribed a pill. Since women average less income than men and are often supporting children alone, they have less disposable income for out-of-pocket health care. Most pills are covered in part or wholly by insurance payments.

When doctors say that pain could be addressed through massage therapy, chiropractic care, physical therapy, acupuncture, nutritionists or others, even then they know that patients will face visit limits, no coverage or denial of payment. Doctors are human, and they often take the path of least resistance.

I wish more doctors would urge short-term pain medication when necessary, and more non-pharmaceutical care for the long term. Let's put the blame for our "cut it or drug it" culture where it belongs: the medical insurers.

Jo-Anne Manfre, Long Beach

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