The Truth In Media Project has released Part 3 of its latest series Truth In Media: Big Pharma, The FDA & Health Propaganda. Part 3, titled How Big Pharma Manipulates Physicians and Corrupts “Best Practices,” discusses how companies in the pharmaceutical industry influence doctors’ “best practices” as well as offer funding for research and court physicians and their staff in hopes of gaining loyalty.
Devon Beasley, a registered nurse, has spent years in her field and told Truth In Media that she has seen representatives for pharmaceutical companies “wine and dine” an entire medical office in the midst of promoting various products. “Some of the offices that I would apply for would actually tell me ‘hey, we have catered lunches three times a week.’ That’s directly from pharmaceuticals. You also get materials for your office that make your office look really great,” said Beasley. “They will bring in supplies that make your office look like you have a lot of money.”
Beasley went on to say that medication samples, which are common in the doctors’ office and part of the pharmaceutical companies’ strategy to promote certain products, are highly sought after by patients and can conflict with the pursuit of proper medical care. “No one is asking which is the safest medication, which is the best for me, which is best for the patient. It’s all about ‘do you have samples, do you have coupons? Can you prescribe me something that does have a coupon? Can you prescribe me something that does have a sample?’ And it has nothing to do with which one is best, most effective or safest,” said Beasley.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has voiced concern in the past over this issue. Grassley provided Truth In Media with a statement regarding a bill he had co-authored called the Sunshine Act, which aimed to address this problem:
“The purpose of the Sunshine Act was to disclose drug and medical device company payments to doctors for public discussion. As data is released, investigative reporters and analysts are able to study the information and look for trends that patients, doctors and policy-makers might want to know.”
Truth In Media’s Ben Swann also discussed the pharmaceutical industry’s impact on the medical community’s procedures known as “best practice,” which is the name for a system of policies that have been agreed upon by doctors and regulatory agencies such as the FDA. Swann explained that “the problem with best practices is how it is manipulated by big pharma. Research that best practice is based on is heavily funded by big pharma.”
Swann noted that it’s common for pharmaceutical companies to pay the cost of educational institutions and private institutions conducting research for them.
Part 3 illustrates why the public should be aware that pharmaceutical companies regularly shower medical offices with various perks and benefits in exchange for offering certain drugs; fund a great deal of medical research; and exert influence over best practices agreed upon between doctors and government regulators.
“It’s sad when pharmaceutical industries are involved in the research. They have relationships with the regulatory agencies, and then they also heavily influence the education the physicians are getting,” said Beasley. “And they’re priming the market for the patients, so they are directly involved in every part of the medical industry and are benefiting from it.”