Friday, July 16, 2010

For Sale: Your Health and the Integrity of the Medical Profession

Posted by Will Moredock on Fri, Jul 16, 2010 at 1:11 AM

I have been writing for years — in this blog, in my weekly City Paper columns and elsewhere — about the corrupting influence of corporate money on science. The most alarming example, of course, is the influence of fossil fuel money on the climate change debate. And there is the case of Big Tobacco spending hundreds of millions of dollars over the years to muddy the debate on the dangers of smoking. Less publicized, but no less shocking, is the influence of Big Pharma money on healthcare in this country. Apparently everything is for sale, including our health and the integrity of the medical profession. Take a look at this story by David Bollier in Common Dreams. This is really scary. http://onthecommons.org/best-science-money-can-buy.

A friend of mine who’s a doctor says that he doesn’t trust what he reads in his medical journals any more. He believes that they’ve been too corrupted by the drug companies. I also know of a psychiatrist who considers medical journals and professional education seminars so compromised by Big Pharma that he relies chiefly on the anecdotal accounts of his peers in prescribing drugs.

Paranoid doctors? Hardly. In today’s Wall Street Journal, we learn that such skepticism about the reliability of medical journals is entirely warranted. Reporter Anna Wilde Mathews writes:

"Many of the articles that appear in scientific journals under the bylines of prominent academics are actually written by ghostwriters in the pay of drug companies. These seemingly objective articles, which doctors around the world use to guide their care of patients, are often part of a marketing campaign by companies to promote a product or play up the condition it treats."

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