Tag Archives: Pharmaceutical Industry

Truth In Media: How Big Pharma Manipulates Physicians and Corrupts ‘Best Practices’

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.”

Truth In Media: Big Pharma’s Influence Over The FDA

The Truth In Media Project has released the first segment of its latest Truth In Media episode: Big Pharma, The FDA & Health Propaganda. The first segment of this episode, Big Pharma’s Influence Over The FDA, examines how the pharmaceutical industry exerts heavy influence over the FDA as well as the media and the medical community.

In this segment, Ben discusses the multi-million dollar lawsuit launched earlier this year by eight plaintiffs against Johnson & Johnson, former FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg and her husband, Peter F. Brown. The plaintiffs claim that Hamburg was the “instrumentality” in covering up the harmful, and sometimes fatal, side effects of the once-popular blockbuster antibiotic Levaquin to maintain a high number of the drug’s sales, as well as to secure and protect private financial interests.

This segment also illustrates the consequences of demanding faster drug approval from the FDA. Doug Bremner, a physician and professor of Psychiatry at Emory University, tells Swann that Congress has reduced funding of the FDA’s budget while also ordering the agency to expedite its approval of drugs. “The number of people working on new drug approval has been increasing at the expense of those who are supposed to be watching drugs after they come out on the market,” says Bremner.

Swann also examines the problems that arise when FDA regulators, who are tasked with maintaining oversight of the pharmaceutical industry, are wooed by these companies. Laurie Powell, a former medical brand strategist, says that a career in the pharmaceutical industry is much more lucrative than a lower-paying government job, and that pharmaceutical companies regularly approach FDA regulators hoping to attract them to serve on the industries’ regulatory committees.

According to Powell, working for the FDA is sometimes merely a “jumping off point” for some employees before moving on to work in the pharmaceutical industry, which leads to the question: should FDA employees be able to work for the very industries they were once in charge of scrutinizing?

New Truth In Media Episodes: Confronting Big Pharma’s Manipulation, Influence

Many Americans have become increasingly aware that U.S. government agencies often fall short in providing transparency to its citizens, leading to failure in fulfilling their mission to adhere to policies for the protection of the American people.

Over the last few years, Truth In Media has discussed multiple instances in which agencies including the IRS, DEA, FBI, NSA, VA and others have been placed under public scrutiny in recent years for numerous cases of questionable conduct.

Many of these agencies, funded by taxpayer dollars, frequently claim to serve as a crucial safeguard, yet far too often they have been found to be serving outside interests at the expense of citizens.

When it comes to providing transparency and following proper procedure in protecting the health of the American people, where does the FDA stand? Has this agency maintained its integrity in maintaining oversight of drug companies? Is this agency doing its job to the best of its ability in assuring that our medicines have been rigorously tested, and is it making sure that drugs found to be dangerous are assigned proper warnings or removed from the market?

Truth In Media will be asking these questions in a brand new series: Truth In Media: Big Pharma, The FDA & Health Propaganda, seeking to provide a more thorough look into the relationships between FDA employees and the pharmaceutical industry, as well as the ways in which big pharma holds an enormous amount of influence over not only the FDA, but also physicians, medical journals, politicians, drug research, and ultimately millions of Americans.

This 4-segment series begins with Part 1 premiering in the first week of June. Stay tuned!