Saturday, November 8, 2008

Doctors on the Take

Bigpharma is after big money, and they fund millions in grants to academia to do research and development of their drugs. Well do they pay your doctor too? There are a number of states and the District of Columbia which have disclosure laws for payments from drug companies to doctors. Those states are Minnesota, Vermont, West Virginia and Maine. A report by the New York Times "Psychiatrists earn more money from drug makers than doctors in any other specialty. For instance, the more psychiatrists have earned from drug makers, the more they have prescribed a new class of powerful medicines known as atypical anti-psychotics to children, for whom the drugs are especially risky and mostly unapproved." – From New York Times, June 27, 2007, Psychiatrists Top List in Drug Maker Gifts

A recent report by the Orlando Sentinel, Beginning in 2009, Eli Lilly will disclose payments of more than $500 to doctors for their roles as advisers and for speaking at educational seminars. In the future years, the company indicates they will expand the types of payments disclosed to include such things as travel, entertainment and gifts. Eli Lilly doesn’t intend to report payments in 2008 or earlier. A number of states were considering that drug companies should report payments and gift from $25 and above, but many drug companies were reluctant to comply. It is feared that Eli Lilly and other drug companies will still not comply with the compensation disclosure guidelines. There appears to be no government department willing or able to enforce it. This could be an attempt to prevent state and federal legislators to not pass a bill. Eli Lilly and other pharmaceutical companies can simply say they we are monitoring themselves. I believe they call that the fox minding the hen house. Supplying doctors with meals, hotels and travel expenses will not be part of this disclosure. It will be simply fees paid for speaking events and advisory roles.

Drug maker Schering-Plough, one of the largest drug companies in the world, has been outright bribing physicians to prescribe drugs and operate sham clinical trials. The doctors were paid” consulting fees” if the physician avoids using a competing drug. Doctors who prescribed the drug company's products and avoided competing drugs were paid "consulting fees" of tens of thousands of dollars. There was no real consulting, it just a fee paid to doctors to prescribe that companies drug. You the patient are getting scammed. What can you do about it? Well you can ask your doctor if they get paid to prescribe certain drugs for certain companies. Patients needs to be proactive in their care, and not be shy about why they of there child is being prescribed any drug.

Yesterday Tobacco companies were under scrutiny for their despicable practices, today its Banks and Wall Street who are under review for creating the current recession mess, and tomorrow maybe someone your government will look at BigPharma and their crimes to humanity. Someone has to report it since your media will not. There is a suitable book on this subject called On the Take: How Medicine's Complicity with Big Business Can Endanger Your Health -by Jerome Kassirer

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