Big Pharma’s Big Influence on Doctors is No Surprise
Deception on big pharma’s part has become common knowledge in the information age. There is deception in the manipulation of studies, conflicts of interests in the CDC, the FDA, and the big pharma industry – the list goes on. Many people turn away from big pharma’s deceit and turn toward holistic natural remedies that are affordable and not toxic. Disease prevention is also at the forefront of our society today to avoid big pharma and it’s toxic adverse side effects. As more and more information is released, we lose more and more faith in the big industry. The sales manipulation of facts when presenting to doctors is also common knowledge to most.
Controversy exists over the fact that physicians have regular contact with the pharmaceutical industry and its sales representatives, who spend a large sum of money each year promoting to them by way of gifts, free meals, travel subsidies, sponsored teachings, and symposia.
Physician interactions with pharmaceutical representatives were generally endorsed, began in medical school, and continued at a rate of about 4 times per month.
Studies from several countries show that 80-95% of doctors regularly see drug company representatives despite evidence that their information is overly positive and prescribing habits are less appropriate as a result.1,2 Many doctors receive multiple gifts from drug companies every year, and most doctors deny their influence despite considerable evidence to the contrary.3 Industry interactions correlate with doctors’ preferences for new products that hold no demonstrated advantage over existing ones, a decrease in the prescribing of generics, and a rise in both prescription expenditures and irrational and incautious prescribing, according to a recent analysis of the ethics of gift giving.4 The number of gifts that doctors receive correlates with beliefs that drug representatives have no impact on prescribing behaviour.3
Forms of entanglement
- Face to face visits from drug company representatives
- Acceptance of direct gifts of equipment, travel, or accommodation
- Acceptance of indirect gifts through sponsorship of software or travel.
- Attendance at sponsored dinners and social or recreational events
- Attendance at sponsored educational events, continuing medical education, workshops, or seminars
- Attendance at sponsored scientific conferences
- Ownership of stock or equity holdings
- Conducting sponsored research
- Company funding for medical schools, academic chairs, or lecture halls
- Membership of sponsored professional societies and associations
- Advising a sponsored disease foundation or patients’ group
- Involvement with or use of sponsored clinical guidelines
- Undertaking paid consultancy work for companies.
- Membership of company advisory boards of “thought leaders” or “speakers’ bureaux.”
- Authoring “ghostwritten” scientific articles.
- Medical journals’ reliance on drug company advertising, the company purchased reprints and sponsored supplements.