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The $10 cure-all.

Posted Apr 10 2012 1:42am
I’m forever amazed that at the end of almost every traumatic health experience I’ve been through — heart surgery, lung surgery, anaphylaxsis, Wegener’s flares, Crohn’s episodes, knee surgery, inflammatory arthritis, etc. — prednisone is always a major part (or at least 50%) of the final answer. “We know you don’t like it, but we’re going to have to put you on a high dose of prednisone, and then taper you off.” That's how it usually goes. I frown and get ready to be Ms. Cranky Pants Puffy Face for the ensuing 3 months.

I often joke that if I decided to shift careers entirely and become an M.D., I won’t need to go to medical school. I already know that this $10 a bottle drug seems to be the prescription for everything from asthma attacks to breast cancer. Maybe that’s why Vijay Govindarajan’s piece “ Health Care for 1% of the Cost ” resonated so well with me.

Govindarajan discusses the idea of reverse innovation from his book of the same title and points to several incredible examples of healthcare solutions from outside of the U.S., including an artificial leg from Thailand for literally 1% of the cost.


“In the U.S., the approach is to spend more money on major technological advances and come up with innovative products and solutions. In poor countries, the innovation paradigm is just the opposite: spend less and innovate new business models. Poor countries face severe resource constraints. They just cannot afford to spend a lot. Constraints need not be limiting, they can actually be liberating,” says Govindararjan.


Reminds me of something David Kelley (IDEO) has told us all along, “ Designers pretend they don't like constraints but it's actually easier for us to be creative and innovate when we have constraints, when it's more challenging.”
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