Obama in Seattle, Lipitor and the Lake Washington Rowing Club

Kerry and I hit the Obama Rally at the Staples Center today at 11am. We got there late and it was already full to capacity – which is 17,000 people. So we decided to hang around outside with a crowd of around 5,000 other folks in freezing rain. The buzz was awesome and when Barack showed up he did a little impromptu speech on the stairs with nervous secret service agents behind him with an SUV with the door open and the engine running. Then they broadcast the speech from inside on the speakers outside. It was more like a rock concert than a political rally.

The message that resonated with me was “We don’t need a disease care system we need a health care system” – talking about preventative maintenance in health care rather than treating illness once they arise.

A few years ago drug companies started moving their focus to ‘lifestyle drugs’ like Lipitor that provide a constant revenue stream for the entire life of the patient. Lipitor is the worlds top selling drug incidentally. Keeping people healthy is not very profitable but treating sick people for their whole lives is very profitable.

The NY Times had an article yesterday on Lipitor and how it is being investigated by a congresional committee. There’s an interesting follow-up article today about how the congressional committee is trying to track down the stunt double that actually did the rowing that Dr Jarvik was supposed to be doing in the Lipitor ads. The NY Times says the rower is from Seattle and is a member of the Lake Washington rowing club and it was filmed locally.

A friend took this photo inside the staples center (right-click and view image for a much larger version)