The practice of drug companies giving gifts, pricey vacations, "consulting" agreements that involve little work, and other freebies to doctors has gained increasing scrutiny and disapproval in the public's eye.
Another similar practice, which is conducted quietly and has not gained much attention, but is growing in popularity, involves non-profit charities. Private-practice doctors across the nation have set up such charities, which then receive major donations -- to the tune of millions of dollars a year -- from drug companies and medical device makers.
The charities typically conduct medical research or education, and the doctors behind them promote them as being legitimate. However, concern is rising that the drug company payments to the tax-exempt organizations:
- Bias treatment decisions of physicians
- Lead to suspect research findings
- Risk violating anti-kickback laws
- Provide a forum for conflict of interest and misuse of funds
The charities are also closely linked to the doctors' for-profit medical groups, which typically use the products and devices made by the drug companies funding them.
Meanwhile, a column by Dr. Jay Cohen explains how drug companies carefully select and mangle data in a "medication-friendly" way to present to doctors at drug seminars and via drug representatives. Because the drug industry spends billions to influence what doctors see, read and hear -- and doctors make decisions based on this information -- it persuades doctors to prescribe more drugs.
One of the most important ways that the evil marketing geniuses are able to manipulate studies and deceive you and the vast majority of all health care professionals is by how they fund studies.
It's important to understand that the source of funds for a study strongly influences the conclusion and findings. This becomes crystal clear when you examine the results of aspartame research.
In an analysis of 166 articles published in medical journals from 1980 to 1985, Dr. Ralph G. Walton, a professor of psychiatry at Northeastern Ohio University's College of Medicine, found that 100 percent of the 74 studies financed by the industry attested to sweetener's safety. However, of the 92 independently funded articles, 92 percent identified adverse health effects.
If you examine this latest report you will find the central element is the same issue: the company never disclosed that they were the one that had funded the study.
It is vital that you understand that this is the way this system operates, as it is fundamental to the drug company's success. If everyone understood this they could no longer use it to manipulate and control your mind.
The NY Times article goes into great detail on how this deception occurs. Another major deceptive ploy is to use the government to endorse and recommend their products.
They way they do this is to "purchase" physicians' interests by rewarding them with outrageous bonuses and appointments. But these physicians are not your run-of-the-mill family doctors, these are the doctors that are on official government panels that set the policy on which drugs will be recommended.
In fact, a previous study in JAMA showed that 87 percent of guideline authors had some type of financial relationship with the drug companies.
If you don't' believe that just read the report of what happened last year with Vioxx. It is one of the most outrageous examples of this strategy.
After killing 60,000 people Vioxx was voluntarily removed from the market by Merck. But an "expert" FDA panel approved that it go back on the market. This was so amazing that the NY Times looked into this more carefully and found that the majority of panel members that voted the drug back on the market had direct financial ties to the drug company.
If these physicians' votes were excluded, there is no way it would have gained approval. Fortunately for millions of people it has yet to come back on the market.
You can learn more about how the drug companies operate in this deceptive ploy by examining the Related Links below.