6 years after expose revealed docs taking millions from pharma companies, it's only getting worse

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/10/17/invokana-xarelto-eliquis-latud.html


“They’re more like hippocratic guidelines, really.”

Now that sounds right.

But hey, it’s fantastic to hear that one out of every two doctors in the US recommends filthy lucre to help soothe the pain of ‘not-nearly-enough-money-itis.’


Strange how few comments have been made on this post!

I’ll jump in, then. The rate of bribery (which is what this is) varies dramatically by specialty. Essentially the more new, brand name meds there are in your specialty, the more Pharma will throw money at you to use theirs. Hence, psychiatry, endocrinology, oncology are rife with this kind of graft. Specialties that don’t use much outside of generics (yup, that would include pediatrics, for those who know me) don’t have to deal with it. I have developed the reputation such that drug reps pretty much leave me alone, which is A-Ok by me. The only way to control this is to make the drug companies stop paying off docs. Used to be pretty blatant, now it usually done by way of “speaking fees” which run to what you would expect for a Clinton. Insane amounts of money for nothing, which is pretty much what bribery is.


Exactly. Exposure without regulatory action is self-evidently ineffective. If someone went around robbing banks, it got reported on, and no one ever did anything to try to stop them, the robber would just keep robbing the banks. Ditto bribery. It kind of amazes me that people think exposing something will magically stop it from happening. Of course the politicians and lobbyists know better, but are happy their constituents mostly don’t seem to.

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One would like to believe that with the kind of income most of my colleagues pull down that they would not fall into this kind of crap, but it is absolutely evident that this is not the case. There have been studies showing that even tiny things like branded pens and note pads can affect prescribing practices. Free vacations in the Caribbean considerably more so.

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The way I see it, there are doctors such as yourself who eschew taking bribes from pharma companies, and then there are doctors who take the bribes. And it seems clear than a doctor shameless enough to do it when it wasn’t widely known about is going to be shameless enough to keep doing it, especially if they think people will just assume they are anyway.

FWIW, as a patient, I deeply appreciate that there are doctors like you. I just also realize we as a society shouldn’t expect those who did decide to stop taking bribes to do so when they have zero incentive to stop doing so. Should altruism and their obligation to their patients be sufficient deterrent? Of course. Will it? Of course not, no more than it was when they did it before.

Also, thank you for chiming in to this thread. Having people with credibility in their industry who are willing to communicate with the wider public is IMHO extremely valuable to society and to this community.

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