Vantage Point

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I have a confession. I don't go to the movies. I don't like the long lines, endless trailers for coming attractions, and I'm not a big fan of buttered popcorn.

But recently I actually succumbed and went to see Michael Moore's Sicko, a must-see piece of multicultural/anthropological/healthcare-related marketing research. In Sicko, Moore points out the extent to which the US stands alone among civilized nations, and not proudly, in how it handles not only pharmaceutical products but overall healthcare. In this film, Moore displays the disbelief that people in other countries demonstrate about the way we dispense healthcare in the US. A UK pharmacist expresses incredulity that with all of his training he would not only be dispensing medications but selling grocery and other items. An inhalant user from America discovers that the product she buys in the US for $125 she can get in Havana, Cuba, of all places, for 5 cents.

Here's the point. Many of us believe that the US healthcare system will be changing fundamentally in the next few years. Likely, many of the changes will be in the direction of healthcare delivery in other countries, and Moore's comparison of our system with Canada, the UK and even Cuba provides significant insights as to how things might look here. In other words, he provides thousands of dollars worth of alternate perspectives on healthcare, all for the price of a movie ticket.

Do some accuse Michael Moore of being a yellow journalist? Sure. Is he trying to be amusing and provocative? Absolutely. But the movie certainly expanded my consciousness, and I bet it will yours. Besides, your friends and neighbors know you work in the drug business, so if for no other reason you should do your marketing research and go to see this film.

Richard Vanderveer is group CEO, GfK US Healthcare Companies

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