Flu shot debate – less about stuff, more about attention

Right after I wrote the post “Less about stuff, more about attention”, I saw this in the news. A pharmacy chain has started offering flu shots in-store for $30, without a doctor’s consultation or prescription. In effect, commoditising the vaccine.

“what we’re seeing here is the continued disjointing of health care where a vaccine just becomes like any other product that is there to sell and make a profit out of…” — Australian Medical Association WA president Dave Mountain said in response.

What struck me was how apt an example this is to illustrate the move away from stuff to attention. Vaccines are things that can be copied and mass produced. Like any other commodity. And lo and behold they become so. And the ability to make money off it decreases dramatically.

Health care on the other hand, has a huge attention component. This is much harder to copy or commoditise. A good clinician who knows how to trade off attention is worth their weight in saffron.

Read the full news article.

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