How Big Pharma Promotes Drugs

This article was posted by one of my health related communities. I thought most of you would be interested. I'll check for others.

The discussion is about the use of advertisements by manufacturers in magazines, TV and elsewhere.

When working as an RN in the hospital and years earlier as a medical office CNA, I saw daily(!) multiple 'reps' coming in to push their company's drugs.



10 Replies

  • hmmmmmm........I checked out this web site you sent in extensively. VERY interesting. However, it is not just one article, this is an entire web site for the ProPublica Broadcasting and Media Company. It also only shows a one year period from 2013 to 2014. So, one year does not really show much, but does show some. I have an issue with some of the pharma companies on the web site. 2 of them are the companies that made the brand name Mirapex and Requip, and what happened when they were investigated for literally hiding "bad study results" and deleted emails with damaging information. Now years later, we are dealing with augmentation which is a huge epidemic in RLS World. I have managed support groups for RLS and sleep disorders for over 20 years, and have members from over 40 countries, so a good cross section of the international population. I had the very first email support group online for RLS, there were message boards and things of that nature, but my group on Yahoo was the first support group, as in the way we define a support group. ;) 2 of my groups are listed in several books on RLS and on some web sites. But, I digress. I wanted to go back to the list of doctors and how the Propublica web site is set up. "Dollars for Docs" section would lead a person who does not know to think that all of these doctors listed on there are "on the take". I am not saying they are ALL innocent, but lots of the "payments" have to do with inventions of medical devices, and of course the doctor or researcher is going to be paid for that by a medical device company. I looked up a doctor I know from my little town here in the northeast in the US. I do not like how it makes his inventions sound. he invented a spinal fusion device, named after him, and was paid for it and royalties that come in for it. He is the doctor who actually removed my gall bladder, he was called in and assisted in the OR, because things were going south fast during that operation. He has since retired, but he and I discussed his invention for the spinal fusion many times, since I have had 3 back surgeries and 2 neck surgeries. Broke my back when I was 14. I have known him for years, and I would not expect him to invent this medical device for free, so of course he received payments for this from the company. The Propublica web site gets their data from one place, the CMS web site/Medicare and Medicaid. And, it was only for a one year period that they cover. I find it hard to believe how they really go after the non profits, when they are a non profit themselves, which in itself is confusing. They are a media publishing company, the web site states "MOST of our money comes from donations", but am going to look up their detailed financials, since they do not say where these donations come from, and not all their money comes from donations. So, it has my interest, this is what I LOVE to do. I do lots of research, too, and have several RLS mentors who help me out with that and with my groups. On every page on their web site there is a "donate" button. And, I am sure these reporters listed do not work for free. They have done some valid work, but some is terribly biased. Some of the companies they "partner" with are certainly not non profits, and they partner with about 90 different news orgs. So the web site gives very mixed messages. Doctors and researchers who work for a medical device company or submit their inventions or work with the big pharma companies do get compensated for travel expenses, and they get a per diem to cover meals, etc. I know there is lots of corruption to be found of one digs down into it, but not ALL the doctors and companies listed there are there because of nefarious intentions. Lots ARE. But some of the expenses listed are for very small amounts like 15 bucks for gas, and things of that nature. ;) I know what you mean about the "perks" and the drug reps coming to the doctor's offices. For years, they used to pile in , for example my gastro doc's office. Because of the purple pill, Nexium, his entire office was practically purple. I still have purple pens, key chains coffee mugs, etc, all stuff that was left of course by the drug reps. But that was their job, too. There are good things and there are bad things about all of this, but now none of the doctors I deal with or go to have any of that stuff in their offices. They have stopped taking the perks and a lot of drug reps just do not hand that stuff out any more. So, I have a little problem with that web site, generalizing that if a doctor takes money from a drug company or a medical device company, it does not automatically mean that they are "up to something". The pharma companies, I do have a problem with them and how they conduct "studies", how the info is picked and chosen for publication and applications to the FDA for approval. Money does evil things to people , and these companies are in business to make money , of course, but some have better standards than others. So thanks for posting this. I was happy to see my doctor's name on there for his spinal fusion device and also his new form of sutures, for which he DID receive payments for. But, it was a lot less money than I thought it would be. ;) That site will give me hours of things to read, and probably days not hours there is so much to look at. ;)

  • I mentioned that was taken from another's post so I am glad you were able to get into the nitty gritty of that group. Also, very glad you put in one of your town's doctors. That is what is so great about some communities; lots of experiences and knowledge to pass on. There are often more sides to things that we(I) don't think to talk about. I only knew about the reps not or rarely coming when I could not get samples anymore. I hated having to fill a prescription and then find out it didn't work or side effects weren't tolerable. I get an education whenever I sign into a community. I remain suspicious of Big Pharma but that's a good thing for me at least.

  • And THAT is a perfect example of whe Nightdancer is in my opinion waaaay above any doctor I have ever personally come across in RLS knowledge !

  • Oh, and his spinal fusion device is named after him the "Bookwalter System". We had many conversations while this was being developed, and I helped organize his office, which was huge mess with piles of papers and books and files papers all over the floor, and stacked on chairs. ;) He is brilliant, but not an "organizer". He says he is too busy thinking to organize things. LOL I was paid well for the organization project, at the time. It was sorely needed. ;)

  • Well peterrabbit, you certainly made Nightdancer's day for her. She is a great researcher. If there is anything good or bad to find out she will find it. lol. :)

  • She is awesome! Her passion for research very apparent! She does dig deep!

  • I had bought a book called How Statin Drugs Really Lower Cholesterol: And Kill You One Cell at a Time by the Yosephs. I had been very suspicious of drug companies before that, but now I have no use for them at all. This book documents all the fraud and deception used to bring statins to market, and that deception and fraud goes straight through the FDA. All their sources are fully documented, they have actual images of the documents in the book, and their story includes an account of the shell shock they were in when they realized the duplicity running through the system. They put their research down for quite awhile before finishing the book so they could have time to process what they found.

    Their basic motivation is money, not your health. They will gladly pay out on lawsuits rather than pull a drug from the market when they know full well it's causing damage. The insane profits dictate as much, and of course they have to keep the shareholders happy.

    I'm sure there is good that comes from what they do, but there is no excuse for this kind of fraud. While RLS is the big giant soapbox here, mine is statins. I watched my mother deteriorate because of that poison. (And by the way, she suffered from RLS almost all her life, until the nursing home pulled her off of a host of meds.) This is why I advocate non-drug help if at all possible, though I understand why many of you have no choice.

  • If I did not take meds for RLS and chronic pain issues, I would not be able to function, but I research the hell out of everything. Big Pharma is buried in fraud, but at times we still need them. I could not make it without meds, and I tried everything first before meds. I know about the statins. Got my mother off of those.

  • I definately have to take med for my RLS, otherwise i would be insane by now. Non drug options do nothing to help me. But as you say everyone has to do what works for them. :)

  • I would be in the asylum with you, Elisse, if no meds. It is not an option for many of us not to take meds for RLS. Also depends on how severe one's RLS is. Some people do not realize that they might be able to go without meds now, but we know RLS is a progressive disease, so the day comes for some people, when they just have to break down and start on meds eventually, as you and I know well. ;)

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