FHC #56: Diving deep into odd pandemic behaviors and overpriced drugs

an open hand, palm facing up, laid out on a table. four pills rest in the palm. a pill counter and an open pill bottle flank the hand.

This Fixing Healthcare podcast series, “Diving Deep,” features a robust and probing discussion into some of healthcare’s most complex subjects and deep-seated problems.

On today’s episode, Dr. Robert Pearl and Jeremy Corr dive deep into the unwritten rules of healthcare and American society. Together, they’ll ask the question, “What is it about Omicron that is making Americans act immorally and inappropriately?” They’ll also focus on the hidden causes of outrageously high drug prices.

For more information on these topics, check out Dr. Pearl’s latest healthcare columns on Forbes and LinkedIn. For listeners interested in show notes, here’s a time-stamped discussion guide:


[01:03] What was the inspiration behind Dr. Pearl’s popular Forbes article “Why Omicron is about to make Americans act immorally, inappropriately,” which was read by nearly half a million people?

[02:40] Why are people’s behaviors starting to change?

[04:07] What are “cultural norms” and which ones are changing because of Omicron?

[05:44] What’s a culturally immoral act today that will be culturally appropriate in the near future?

[07:33] Are people’s actions really “immoral” or are they to be expected given the nature of the disease?

[09:30] How do external forces (like the virology of Omicron) change culture and behaviors?

[15:04] What evidence demonstrates this cultural shift is already under?


[19:31] Do high-priced drugs in the U.S. overachieve, meet expectations or underachieve for patients?

[20:40] Do drug makers lack the scientific knowhow to make highly effective drugs?

[22:06] Why are drug companies so risk averse? Has it always been this way?

[24:30] When did the unwritten rules of drug-industry profits begin to shift?

[26:24] Don’t drug companies need high prices to protect R&D investments?

[27:00] What are examples of high-priced medications that deliver limited or no value for patients?

[30:11] What’s suspicious about the new FDA-approved breast cancer drug?

[32:50] Are Covid-19 vaccines an exception to this rule?

[34:09] Is there more to this rule listeners should know?

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Dr. Robert Pearl is the author of a book about medicine’s invisible yet highly influential physician culture. Check out “Uncaring: How Physician Culture Is Killing Doctors & Patients.” All profits from the book go to Doctors Without Borders.

Fixing Healthcare is a co-production of Dr. Robert Pearl and Jeremy Corr. Subscribe to the show via Apple, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you find podcasts. Join the conversation or suggest a guest by following the show on Twitter and LinkedIn.