Friday, January 31, 2014

No surprise here: Institutional Corruption and the Pharmaceutical Industry

The systematic corruption of medical knowledge, ranging from clinical trials and new diagnostic categories through practice guidelines to physician prescribing practices, is highlighted in a special fall issue of the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics (JLME, 41:3). 

Okay, this was published last fall so you may call me a little slow. But the content, as much as I read (because there was so much more), clearly shows the issues. I recommend you start here and then read as much as you can (stomach).

I read that, I downloaded some articles and read them. I did not read them all. But I got the gist of it.

The systemic corruption, there term not mine, that leads to all sorts of on going problems and unethical practices. Look at this one sentence:

"....how pharmaceutical marketing also distorts medical practice, and how drug firms are even funding social network websites for doctors in order to quietly track their opinions on issues that affect their bottom lines."

And you thought NSA was bad about spying on US citizens.

This next bit was taken from one of the articles by Dr. Marc Rodwin:

We will see that the pharmaceutical industry’s own purposes are often undermined. In addition, pharmaceutical industry funding of election campaigns and lobbying skews the legislative process that sets pharmaceutical policy. Moreover, certain practices have corrupted medical research, the production of medical knowledge, the practice of medicine, drug safety, and the Food and Drug Administration’s oversight of pharmaceutical marketing.

Pharmaceutical firms have found ways to influence — and often corrupt — medical research and publications, and key firms and organizations that affect physicians’ clinical choices. These include: professional medical associations, continuing medical education programs, online professional networking groups, hospital administrators, insurers, organizations that create practice guidelines and diagnostic treatment categories, and patient advocacy organizations. These institutions in turn influence physicians in general and particularly influential physicians known as key opinion leaders.


So you wonder about the over priced medications that are promised to be miracles and then are pulled from the market because of previously unknown side effects. Perhaps the causes might lie in the truths uncovered here.

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