By Audrey Quinn
Posting in Healthcare
Physicians are 1.52 times more likely to prescribe antidepressants to white people than Latino people.
Depression can carry a stigma of being a privileged person's disease. That stigma not only hurts those treated for it, it may also be preventing other people from getting proper medication for depression.
A University of Michigan study found that physicians are 1.52 times more likely to prescribe antidepressants to their White patients than Latinos when the patients present the same depression symptoms, the Atlantic reports.
The UM researchers also found that doctors prescribe antidepressants more often to people with private insurance than those on Medicaid. White people were also more likely to be prescribed newer more expensive drugs.
The study says:
"Previous studies have shown that racial/ethnic health disparities may come from discrimination, differential insurance benefits, lower rates of participation in healthcare decision making, and differential attitudes toward use of antidepressant pharmacotherapy."
Co-author Hsien-Chang Lin tells The Atlantic's Samantha Leal that better guidelines are needed to ensure that physicians treat all mental health patients equally:
"We want the policy to motivate physicians to adhere to clinical practice guidelines better. Health disparities, especially with ethnic groups, can be helped with better access to healthcare and by having more insured people.
Of course, the problem is multi-fold. While physicians may be treating different groups of patients differently, internalized prejudices may motivate less privileged patients to advocate less aggressively for antidepressant prescriptions.
[via The Atlantic]
Photo: Carsten Schertzer/Flickr
Apr 17, 2012
It is a very good thing that expensive items are reserved for those who can afford them...medication or otherwise. What I'm getting at is the sickening concept that somehow the public (taxpayers) are on the hook to provide any and all treatments to people that have not earned it. Well, damn...if that happens, why bother earning it...someone else will pay for it. I would ask others to keep this one thing in mind, and believe it: I owe you nothing.
To bad discrimination and stigma occur with depression no matter what color you are, on treatment or not, esp. in the workplace(s) having insurance means you deserve treatment? what about public health centers? not enough funding? for all colors, this study seems like a waste of time and caters to Latino's, what about blacks or Asians? and other ethnic groups
Did they see if the trend was mirrored when sorted by income levels or insurance coverage? Depending on where the study was conducted, there may be a better argument that either of those items was a bigger factor in what drove the prescribed treatment. Only if all other factors are equal can you say race was the difference. Failing to do and publishing a race tainted headline is race baiting to make something innocent appear to be a race based trend of denial of treatment. SmartPlanet is better than that.
- - what about public health centers? - - According to the study Medicare patients were more likely NOT to receive proper treatment.
Here's the study: http://www.metapress.com/content/e1658l3v25630qj8/?p=bf054e8fc93544e28d043733001e7f82&pi=1 In addition to patient race/ethnicity, the researchers looked at the contribution of patients' insurance status, physician ownership status, and physicians' practice regions, to the likelihood of a physician prescribing antidepressants.
Thanks. Great read. It seems a stretch for the authors to both admit that lack of income and insurance coverage, or specifically the lack of coverage, were key common items among people who failed to receive prescriptions yet they fall back on race to declare it the determining factor. A more than slightly biased opinion based interpretation of the facts. I stand by my original conclusions that the authors of this study were race baiting. The last sentence of their abstract reveals their agenda. - - We need policy makers to design effective policy interventions to improve physician practice guidelines adherence to eliminate possible variations among physician practices. - - It always comes back to a few people, who usually stand to make a profit, wanting more government mandates. I'll bet this study was funded by big pharma.