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We continue our 5-part series on the high cost of health care in America.

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The world’s best-selling drugs lower cholesterol, reduce heartburn and treat depression. Pharmaceutical companies rake in tens of billions of dollars a year (Lipitor alone brought in $13.6 billion in global sales in 2006) by reaching millions of patients in the and others abroad. Meanwhile, patients with rare diseases and lesser known conditions wait on better treatments as companies find ways to make a profit on their drugs.

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Eleven million Americans have eating disorders. Here are tips on covering this complex disease from a veteran journalist who faced the issue in her own family.

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Think about what it takes to obtain a medical license. Some states' licensing boards will rubber stamp a license from another state but others, like California's, require a lot of hoops.

Then consider the case of Dr. Gregory Burnham Camp, who had licenses in California (No. 34329), Ohio (35-028433), North Carolina (36156) and Massachusetts. Why so many states?

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As many as 10 million women and 1 million men suffer from eating disorders including anorexia nervosa (in which victims eat too little and become painfully thin) and bulimia (binge eating followed by purging via self-induced vomiting or laxatives), according to studies cited by the nonprofit National Eating Disorders Association. The studies are the most recent estimates as of February 2010. Millions more suffer from binge eating disorder.

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Wayne A. Beach is a professor of communication at SDSU and an associate member of the Cancer Center in the School of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego. His research focuses on conversational and institutional interactions and their convergence, including medical interviewing and how families talk through cancer diagnosis and treatment. Beach has pioneered studies on how family members talk through illness dilemmas, including bulimia and terminal cancer, providing innovative approaches to understanding communication in casual and institutional health care contexts.

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Dr. Murray B. Stein is a professor of psychiatry and family and preventive medicine at UCSD and director of the Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders Research Program at UCSD and at the VA San Diego Healthcare System. His research interests include the neurobiology, epidemiology and treatment of anxiety disorders including social phobia, panic disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

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Dr. Lewis L. Judd is chair of the psychiatry department at the UCSD School of Medicine. Judd, the director of the National Institute of Mental Health from 1987 to 1990, is internationally known for his pioneering work in the biological causes of mental illness, the development of effective drugs to treat diseases such as depression, anxiety disorders and schizophrenia, and the advocacy of equitable treatment and insurance reimbursement for mental health patients.

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Obesity is visible — walk down the street and you bump into it. Diabetes, on the other hand, is silent and tragic. Here are tips for reporting on the links between them.

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Join us for a conversation on the latest COVID thread with Dr. Céline Gounder, a leading infectious disease expert, epidemiologist, medical analyst and host of the COVID podcast “Epidemic.” We'll discuss the emerging research, clarify what we know and don’t, and help attendees think through where the pandemic takes us from here. Sign-up here!

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