THE DRUG INDUSTRY AND THE MEDICAL COMMUNITY: A MATCH MADE IN HELL
This section illustrates how the pharmaceuticals cozy up to the medical community. This is done for the purpose of marketing their drugs. Either to market directly to the physicians themselves, or to obtain assistance from a physician in order to market to the general public. This schmoozing process can be done via a variety of incentives, whether they be cash incentives, gift incentives, or professional incentives.
One form of ‘incentive’ is ghostwritten research, where a young doctor would do a write up of a given drug, but the names of notable medical experts get listed in the credits as opposed to the actual authors. One US study found that 11% of published articles involved ghost writers who were not named. *The trade off being that the young doctor gets the prestige of ghost writing a document that will be referenced widely in medical circles while the drug company gets a nice piece of highly biased research with the name of a ‘seasoned professional’ attached to it.
Pharmaceutical companies spend up around 1 billion annually in the marketing of the products to their medical community. But what is meant by “the marketing of their products”? The drug industry takes a rather broad view of ‘marketing’ to include: free samples of their drugs, paid vacations, salsa lessons, free lunches and dinners, free educational retreats that have more to do with skiing or golfing than learning, and, most importantly, free med school.
An estimated $1 billion – or $20,000 per physician – will be spent by the pharmaceutical companies this year in marketing for hundreds of drugs. Much of it will feed a growing symbiosis between doctors and drug companies that hinges on free stuff – from drug samples to salsa lessons, wine tastings, to expense free trips to exotic climes – in exchange for good will, and more prescriptions written for their drugs. *
There is a practice called “Prescriber Profiling” in which pharmacies sell information to the pharmaceutical companies with regard to how much of their drugs a given doctor would prescribe. Then the pharmaceutical company can dispatch one of their regional marketing types to ensure that the doctor in question continues to buy large quantities of their drugs. *
Canada’s The Globe And Mail Jan 2 2001 “Drug Firms’ Freebies Entice Doctors”
While the above stats regarding marketing apply to Canadian doctors, here in America, we gotta do it bigger and better. “While drug advertising to consumers, estimated at 2.5 billion in 2000, has been in the spotlight, industry spending on marketing directly to doctors involves more money: IMS Health estimates $4.04 billion last year, up 64% since 1996…..As the drug industry reaches new extremes in its courtship of prescribing doctors, the giveaways are flowing freely. Nowhere is this on display more clearly than here in New Orleans, where local doctors have been given everything from Christmas trees to Valentine’s Day flowers, books, CD’s, manicures, pedicures, car washes, bottles of wine, and cash. And then there is the food, offered at the best places in a city famous for its cuisine” **
**The Wall Street Journal Vol CCXXXVII No. 94 Monday May 14, 2001 “Doctors on the Run Can ‘Dine ‘n’ Dash’ In Style in New Orleans”
Dr.Breggin M.D., Psychiatrist - Information on Prozac, Ritalin, Etc.
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CCHR - Citizens' Commission On Human Righs
This article reposted by Greg Churilov
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