Eclectic commentary from a progressive voice in the red state

Thursday, February 18, 2016

BigPharma and more deception

I have ranted about BigPharma and the lack of ethical grounding in the direct-to-consumer advertising. That part of the health care industry spends about $5 billion a year on convincing consumers to pester their doctors for the “latest and greatest” drugs, some of which are not only less effective but also less safe than the old and cheaper pharmaceuticals. The negative effect of permitting DTC advertising has finally triggered the American Medical Association’s ire, with a recent statement condemning the practice.

Now, thanks to Stat, a newsletter on health, medicine and science, we learn more of the deceptive tactics from BigPharma and the milquetoast response from the Food and Drug Administration. (By the way, the current nominee to head the FDA comes out of BigPharma, which is why Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has put a hold on the vote to confirm.) We all aware of how BigPharma showers as much money on prescribers as it can get away with. BigPharma pays for the studies, and like campaign contributions, expects positive results from spreading around its coinage. It also pays for some of those docs to host “educational” sessions about the wonders of the new drug.

Stat’s newsletter Thursday gives us added evidence the capitalistic-free market model for the health care sector of the United States economy works against the good of patients and the clinician who care for them. It turns out that the way the commercials are constructed are coldly calculated to misdirect the audience away from the sometimes serious, if not fatal, side effects of these drugs. Click on the link to read the entire article.