Healthy Skepticism
Join us to help reduce harm from misleading health information.
Increase font size   Decrease font size   Print-friendly view   Print
Register Log in

Healthy Skepticism Library item: 18849

Warning: This library includes all items relevant to health product marketing that we are aware of regardless of quality. Often we do not agree with all or part of the contents.


Publication type: news

Drummond K
Report: Drug Company Money Affects Doctors' Prescriptions
AOL News 2010 Oct 24

Full text:

Drug companies and doctors are pairing off to shell out prescription medications, with patients often paying more than they need to and even popping pills that are sometimes ill-suited to their ailments, according to a new study.

There’s no question that doctors in the United States engage in complex, sometimes troubling, financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies. Last year, companies shelled out more than $57 billion for doctor-targeted drug promotion.

But a new analysis of 58 studies done worldwide, more than half of them in the U.S, concludes that the ties aren’t always beneficial to the patient and that doctors are unduly influenced by pharmaceutical cash, contrary to claims often made by companies and doctors.

“Many doctors claim they are not influenced, and having done the review, that is not supported,” Geoffrey Spurling, the study’s lead author, told Reuters. “You have to say that at least some of the time, doctors are influenced.”

The study was done by researchers at the University of Queensland in Brisbane and Healthy Skepticism, an international nonprofit research, education and advocacy association.

Of all the studies reviewed, 38 found that doctors who were proffered information from drugmakers would be more likely to prescribe those medications. And the information, provided by company staffers known as “detailers,” is often accompanied by gratis meals or event tickets.

“Most doctors get most of their information about drugs from the drug industry,” said Dr. Sid Wolfe of the U.S. advocacy group Public Citizen, adding that “practicing good medicine” should mean seeking out information from other facilities and institutions, along with close study of peer-reviewed research.

And doctors being courted by drugmakers were more likely to prescribe newer, pricier and riskier drugs to their patients, according to the report. That’s despite federal mandates that doctors stick to older, generic drugs whenever possible in treating several common ailments, including diabetes.

But the doctor-pharma financial ties don’t stop there. A new report, issued by ProPublica and NPR, presents data on 17,700 practitioners who were paid nearly $260 million by drugmakers since 2009 to promote certain drugs to fellow doctors.

Worst of all for patients, many of the influential doctors have less-than-stellar track records.

“A review of physician licensing records in the 15 most-populous states and three others found sanctions against more than 250 speakers, including some of the highest paid,” the report states. “Their misconduct included inappropriately prescribing drugs, providing poor care or having sex with patients. Some of the doctors had even lost their licenses.”


  Healthy Skepticism on RSS   Healthy Skepticism on Facebook   Healthy Skepticism on Twitter

Click to Register

(read more)

Click to Log in
for free access to more features of this website.

Forgot your username or password?

You are invited to
apply for membership
of Healthy Skepticism,
if you support our aims.

Pay a subscription

Support our work with a donation

Buy Healthy Skepticism T Shirts

If there is something you don't like, please tell us. If you like our work, please tell others.

Email a Friend

Far too large a section of the treatment of disease is to-day controlled by the big manufacturing pharmacists, who have enslaved us in a plausible pseudo-science...
The blind faith which some men have in medicines illustrates too often the greatest of all human capacities - the capacity for self deception...
Some one will say, Is this all your science has to tell us? Is this the outcome of decades of good clinical work, of patient study of the disease, of anxious trial in such good faith of so many drugs? Give us back the childlike trust of the fathers in antimony and in the lancet rather than this cold nihilism. Not at all! Let us accept the truth, however unpleasant it may be, and with the death rate staring us in the face, let us not be deceived with vain fancies...
we need a stern, iconoclastic spirit which leads, not to nihilism, but to an active skepticism - not the passive skepticism, born of despair, but the active skepticism born of a knowledge that recognizes its limitations and knows full well that only in this attitude of mind can true progress be made.
- William Osler 1909