Mother Jones, and specifically James Ridgeway, reports on the pharmaceutical industry in the U.S. and its ubiquitous push into the hearts and minds of the medical profession.
Besides pens and lunch, spa retreats and big screen televisions, Big Pharma has a role in educating doctors, specifically, continuing-education programs.
With about $2 billion spent on these programs a year, half coming from the pharmaceutical industry, Ridgeway reports the "education" becomes an opportunity to push new drugs.
Georgetown University discussed the issue at its “Prescription for Conflict” conference last week.
Dr. Adriane Fugh-Berman has long been a critic of the relationship and helped found PharmedOut.org with Ridgeway. It educates the public on the potential conflict-of-interest when doctors are educated by drug makers.
FDA deputy commissioner, Joshua Sharfstein, attended the conference as did Julie Taitsman of the HHS, who presented a list of laws that protect the public.
An investigator with Sen. Charles Grassley’s office told the doctors to come to grips with the conflicts of interest that exist that hurt patient care.
A statement from an anonymous “pharmaceutical executive,” said that continuing medical education “has the potential for inappropriate promotional messaging and influence.”
This anonymous person said that the sales and marketing departments of pharmaceutical companies are making the decision to fund continuing medical education. “Friendly institutions” are most likely to receive grant money.
Ridgeway talks more about this on his blog, Unsilent Generation.
IB News has reported on millions given to doctors at Emory University and Harvard University and the conflicts that presented in patient care. #