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LETTERS

One Simple Remedy for Rising Healthcare Costs

August 22, 2004

Regarding "Bill to Cure Healthcare May Rise Too High" (James Flanigan, Aug. 1):

The usually upbeat Flanigan sounds pessimistic because "there is simply no money for the kind of sweeping healthcare overhaul that is needed."

Such a systems view overlooks simple yet powerful cost-saving measures. For one example, consider the physical form of pills. The anti-inflammatory drug Celebrex is typical. The 200-milligram tab costs only about 8% more than the 100-milligram tab, so patients on the lower dose can cut drug costs almost in half by splitting the larger pill.

The Food and Drug Administration should permit only splittable 200-milligram Celebrex pills.

Drug companies often hard-coat pills so they can't be split by savvy patients. Surely, given the enormous pharmaceutical research budget, a technological fix could make hard-coat and sustained-release tabs splittable.

By something so simple as mandating pill size and splittability, billions could be saved.

Dr. Gordon Globus

Newport Beach

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