Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Doctors. Are they too close to drug companies? Is this why they don't tell us about the dangers of drugs and vaccines?

Many people now believe that doctors have become very close to the Big Pharma drug companies. It is certainly well known that Big Pharma companies employ many ways to seek to influence the prescribing behaviour of doctors.

Certainly, the almost inevitable outcome of most patient visits to GPs is a prescription for drugs, even though in most cases there are many other kinds and areas of health advice and treatment that could be given. Too often health factors like diet, exercise, life-style changes, and of course traditional therapies, are ignored.
Even some doctors have become concerned about this situation. WDDTY reported in October 2006 that a group of doctors were taking a stand against the 'overt and covert inducements' offered to encourage doctors to prescribe drugs. They have a website at www.nofreelunch-uk.org to try to change the current relationship between doctors and Big Pharma. They described this relationship as "based on hospitality and patronage which is unknown and undeclared to the general public" and that "without action we will continue with the relentless medicalisation of society".
The objectives of the ‘No free meals’ group of doctors is given as follows:
     “We are health care providers who believe that pharmaceutical promotion should not guide clinical practice. Our mission is to encourage health care providers to practice medicine on the basis of scientific evidence rather than on the basis of pharmaceutical promotion. We discourage the acceptance of all gifts from industry by health care providers, trainees, and students. Our goal is improved patient care.

     We aim to achieve our goal by informing health care providers as well as the general public about pharmaceutical industry efforts to promote their products and influence prescribing; provide evidence that promotion does in fact influence health care provider behaviour, often in ways that run counter to good patient care; and provide products that can replace pharmaceutical company paraphernalia and spread our message.

     We believe that there is ample evidence in the literature-contrary to the beliefs of most heath care providers - that drug companies, by means of samples, gifts, and food, exert significant influence on provider behaviour.
     There is also ample evidence in the literature that promotional materials and presentations are often biased and non-informative. We believe that health care professionals, precisely because they are professionals, should not allow themselves to be bought by the pharmaceutical industry: It is time to Just say no to drug reps and their pens, pads, calendars, coffee mugs, and of course, lunch.
So these doctors are telling us about what is going on behind the doors of the conventional medical establishment. These are laudable objectives, although there appears little evidence that their motives have been generally accepted by the conventional medical establishment.
Most patients place their trust in their NHS GP. They do so in the belief that their advice is impartial, and in the best interests of their health. 
Most patients do not consider that GPs practice just one medical therapy, and that prescriptions might follow bribes or junkets. 
Yet drug companies are wealthy, and doctors are human. So within the NHS lays a situation that can leave patients vulnerable.