By Dr. Mercola
The drug industry spends nearly twice as much on promotion as it does on research and development, and historically one of their key targets has been physicians.
There are drug reps whose sole responsibility is to "educate" physicians about new drugs, a practice that includes lavish gifts, dinners and trips as persuasive perks.
In fact, about $282 million was paid to doctors by drug companies in 2009, which, coupled with their potent brainwashing techniques, allows the industry to heavily influence physicians' prescribing habits.
While physician-directed marketing continues to be a common practice, the public is no longer entirely in the dark about it.
In fact, some doctors are rethinking the relationship and questioning whether it's really in their best interest, and the best interest of their patients, to accept "educational" material and gifts from drug makers.
Over the past few years the drug industry has been riddled with negative publicity highlighting their concerning ties with not only physicians but also medical schools and medical journals; so, it's not surprising that they would refocus their attention on the purveyors of such publicity, namely journalists and the media.
Drug Industry is Infiltrating Supposedly "Independent" Media Outlets
If you don't like the bad press you're getting, why not buy out the media so you can have a say in what gets printed? This is the obvious next step for the drug industry, whose marketing budget (numbering in the billions) knows no bounds.
As journalist Ray Moynihan recently reported in the British Medical Journal:
"Just as many doctors contemplate an end to their dance with drug company marketers, a fresh new crew is stepping lively onto the floor: journalists and media organizations looking for easy ways to fund their reporting, travel, and education.
The BMJ reported … that the Murdoch empire's flagship newspaper in Australia has accepted an undisclosed amount of sponsorship money from the drug industry for a series of articles on health policy—and that the idea arose from a meeting between advertising agents.
Defending the deal, the Australian's editor said that independence and integrity were maintained; but as others pointed out, this new form of financial closeness between journalists and the companies they scrutinise raises real concerns."
This is really not surprising considering that that media mogul Rupert Murdoch's son, James Murdoch, is a member of drug giant GlaxoSmithKline's (GSK) corporate responsibility committee (a position he entered in May 2009). His job? To review "external issues that might have the potential for serious impact upon the group's business and reputation" -- a position he's well suited for …
James Murdoch, as you may know, is the chairman and chief executive of News Corporation Europe and Asia, and chairman of BSkyB.
I can only imagine the extent to which drug makers can benefit from having a media mogul on their payroll, as well as "sponsoring" media content on health policy. Clearly they've thought this one through, and it makes perfect sense when you consider the clout they need to keep the media quiet about their various wrongdoing ...
I think it's safe to say that if strings need to be pulled, they will be pulled—hard.
Drug industry influence is not restricted to Murdoch's newspaper empire, but their ties are worth noting as they have been at the center of intense media and legal scrutiny before regarding allegedly fabricating lies against a respected British doctor, Andrew Wakefield (against whom, ironically, the British Medical Journal also launched an unjustified vicious attack).
Is Big Pharma Dictating Editorial Policy at Your Favorite Newspaper or TV Station?
If you still believe that most media outlets provide unbiased, impartial information, it's time for a wake-up call, as most are heavily controlled by corporate interests, including drug companies. As retired neurosurgeon Russell L. Blaylock, MD put it:
" … We no longer have investigative journalists, we have a corporate controlled media. It is no secret that most media outlets are desperate for money, especially in this economy.
The lifeblood of all media is advertising. An independent analysis appearing in a peer reviewed open access journal published by the Public Library of Science estimated that pharmaceutical companies in the U.S. spent $57.5 billion on promotion in 2004, almost twice as much as they spend on research and development.
Virtually every TV news network, magazine and newspaper is filled with very expensive pharmaceutical ads. These media outlets cannot afford to lose this money and this allows the pharmaceutical companies to set editorial policy. Stories criticizing vaccines are as rare as hen's teeth. With billions to use for influence, one witnesses resulting bias in academia and government regulatory agencies as well."
Case in point, even the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which also has worrisome ties to the drug industry, spends $1.7 million for a Hollywood liaison as part of their Entertainment Education Program, which makes sure that when your favorite TV shows feature a health topic, that information is "accurate," or shall we say "CDC-approved."
Have you ever wondered why you will rarely ever see a TV show that features a plot line including a vaccine injury or adverse drug reaction, even though they are incredibly common in real life? Now you know why.
When you begin to peek beneath the surface at the funding sources behind most media outlets, the picture becomes clearer as to why there is a pattern of censorship in the mainstream press when it comes to revealing the truth about the drug industry. This even applies to the scientific evidence documenting drug and vaccine risks.
Massive Conflict of Interest in Drug Industry Documented
Download the Interview Transcript
Total Video Length: 1:02:23
In the video above, Dr. Beatrice Golomb, MD, PhD -- an associate professor of medicine and associate professor of family and preventive medicine at the University of California at San Diego -- shares shocking information about the dark underbelly of medical science to help you understand how, and why, the "scientific method" has become so manipulated and willfully distorted by the drug industry.
For starters, in order for scientific studies to happen, someone has to pay for them. The top funder for any drug trial is the pharmaceutical company that makes it, since the manufacturer is most invested in "proving" how spectacular its drug is.
Dr. Golomb uses the case of statins as an example, stating that all of the major statin studies have been funded exclusively by the drug industry. The second-highest funder of drug studies is the National Institute of Health (NIH), which is not the group of neutral government experts you may have assumed them to be. In fact, NIH accepts a great deal of money from Big Pharma and is deeply enmeshed with the industry.
Further, drug companies publish only a fraction of the studies they fund -- the ones that promote their drugs. Often those favorable studies are submitted multiple times, in a way that the reader doesn't realize it's the same study, obscured by different author lists and different details. If a study does not have findings that are favorable to its product, it is unlikely it will ever make it into a journal for publication.
But, when a scientific study has findings that cast doubt on the efficacy of a drug, oftentimes the negative findings are morphed into positive ones through statistical and semantic manipulation.
The editorials that follow from a study, submitted by so-called unbiased experts and then published in reputable journals, are also often done by non-neutral parties who have a financial tie to the drug maker. Not to mention that many of the articles that appear in medical journals purportedly written by well-known academics are actually written by unacknowledged ghostwriters on Big Pharma payroll.
Medical journals are generally considered by medical practitioners to be a source of reliable information. But medical journals are also businesses. In 2003, drug companies spent $448 million dollars on advertising in medical journals. It has been calculated that the return on investment on medical journal ads is between $2.22 and $6.86 for every dollar spent, with larger and older brands at the higher end.
Long-term returns may be even higher when you consider that one ad viewed by a physician could result in hundreds or even thousands of drug purchases, based on the prescriptions he or she writes.
At least certain medical journals are attempting to regain their unbiased reputations; in 2011 the journal Emergency Medicine Australasia announced it would no longer accept pharmaceutical advertisements, citing growing evidence that the drug industry "distorts research findings and engages in dubious and unethical publishing practices."
"George Jelinek, a former editor of the journal [Emergency Medicine Australasia], and Anthony Brown, editor in chief, wrote, "Marketing of drugs by the pharmaceutical industry, whose prime aim is to bias readers towards prescribing a particular product, is fundamentally at odds with the mission of medical journals."
How Lobbyists Have Taken Over and Stolen Your Government
In the CBS News video above, crooked lobbyist Jack Abramoff explains how he influenced Congress for years, and how this kind of corruption still continues. He spent $1 million dollars a year on concert and sporting event tickets alone, and even had two full-time members of his staff devoted to booking tickets!
If vacations, private jets, fancy dinners and other perks weren't enough to sway Congress, Abramoff's group would offer members of Congress a job when they leave Capitol Hill, at double or triple the salary. As Abramoff says in the video, once they accepted that offer that was it:
" … We own them … everything that we want, they're gonna do."
Drug companies, of course, are the BIGGEST political lobby, and political lobbying is one of the primary reasons why the drug companies are controlling nearly the entire health industry. Lobbyists, by definition, "conduct activities aimed at influencing public officials and especially members of a legislative body on legislation." This is Big Business doing what it does best: using its power and money to strong-arm the legislative process.
The pharmaceutical industry spent $1.5 billion lobbying Congress in the last decade, and in so doing has manipulated the government's involvement with medicine and secondarily reinforced our dependence on them, through government policies.
All the More Reason to Take Control of Your Health …
Drug companies are willing to do just about anything to make you, and your physician, think their drugs are great -- including buying off Congress, the media, and even corrupting studies in medical journals so they show only favorable results. If that doesn't work, they will try to get their products mandated so you have no choice but to use them or face legal action.
It isn't always easy to fight back against this system, but know that the drug companies are not going to protect you or give you optimal health. You are the only one that can protect yourself and your family, and the chief way to do this is by taking control of your health.
Until real systemic change takes place, your best health strategy is quite simply to employ and maintain a naturally healthy lifestyle that will optimize your body's innate healing abilities and minimize your need for the drug companies' latest concoctions. We are, however, working hard to change the system and help protect your health freedoms from corrupt influences like the drug industry; you can learn more about our newest initiative toward this end, Health Liberty, now.