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America's Foolish CEOs: Medco's Dave Snow Gets The First Award

March 02, 2009
Ashoka Chakra

With the global economy heading south thanks to the tsunami that originated in the USA, many blame capitalism or globalization for all the economic travails. I think it has a lot to do with poor policies and oversight, individual greed, and last, but not the least, stupid CEOs running corporate America.

In the 2001 – 2003 recession, we came across lots of incompetent and/or ethically challenged CEOs and Chairpersons. They include illustrious names such as Ken Lay of Enron (dead of a heart attack before he could be tried) and Bernie Sanders of MCI (in jail for fraud).

This recession has bought to light a new crop. A fascinating list of politicians, celebrities, and CEOs can be found at Time. To this august list, I now nominate Dave Snow of Medco.

For those who do not know what Medco is, it is one of the largest drug re-distributors. To keep it simple, it buys drugs from pharmaceutical companies and sells it to retail chains such as Rite Aid. It profits from being a middleman.

Dave Snow recently wrote in a blog in the Wall Street Journal about his ideas and his interview was published on Jan 16, 2009. To quote from the WSJ:

Snow said the time has come for doctors to follow set protocols on how to treat patients, and to be paid based on whether they do it. Basically, ‘If X, then do Y,’ and ‘If Y, then do Z,’ sort of stuff. Snow concedes the public doesn’t trust the private sector to come up with these kinds of rules. So he wants some smart folks to get together in an “apolitical” body like the Fed, and do it themselves. “I’m fine with this big, national board creating this standard,” Snow says.
It is obvious that Snow has no clue how medicine is practiced. Patients and their disease do not read textbooks and come with single, well-defined problems. The permutations and combinations of problems are literally endless. For example, a patient with a headache could have a bullet in his head (true, happened to a patient of mine) or a tumor (alas, also true) or anything in between. If the patient has other issues such as weight problems, hypertension, etc, the possibilities are infinite with no set formula that can be designed. How would Snow handle so many permutations and combinations? Does he plan to install an IBM supercomputer in each physician’s office? Good for IBM and outsourcing for India, but it won’t help patients much. As this financial crisis has shown, mathematical quant formulas fail in complex environments, and a patient is about as complex a microenvironment as possible.

In addition, Snow wants the government to step in with an “apolitical” body like the Fed. Maybe the ‘body’ would also be just as adept in handling doctor’s offices as the Fed has been in handling the economy? I can see a diabetic suffering from hyperglycemia for 5 years, followed by hypoglycemia (just like interest rates) at which point the unfortunate individual would be pushing weeds.

It is obvious to any person with a scintilla of sense that Snow’s ideas are nonsensical. I have only one question. How do people like this become CEOs?

Favorite books: Germs of War (Ketan Desai), Moby Dick (Herman Melville), Sherlock Holmes Treasury (Conan Dolye)
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America's Foolish CEOs: Medco's Dave Snow Gets The First Award

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Author: Ashoka Chakra

 

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#1
temporal
URL
March 2, 2009
02:55 PM

the reply is so obvious;)

there are six billion people

half of them are perpetually on a trip
a quarter are a sad excuse for living
another quarter eke out an existence
.....
....
...
..
.

that leaves you and me!

...and...

(not for the humour impaired;))

#2
Ashoka Chakra
March 2, 2009
03:43 PM

Yes indeed Temporal. Reminds me of one of Pink Floyd's song: Is there anybody out there? Anyone, at all?

#3
Guido
March 3, 2009
12:11 PM

"... poor policies and oversight, individual greed, and last, but not the least, stupid CEOs running corporate America."

So what does the administration do...rewards poor policies and oversight, individual greed, and last, but not the least, stupid CEOs running corporate America with trillion dollar bailouts. Makes as much sense as spending your way out of dept.

Hope and change...

Ciao, Guido

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