It never ceases to amaze me how money can corrupt people,. Doctors are certainly no exception. Drug companies have spent billions upon billions of dollars promoting their products. Doctors have been major recipients of this money.
Most doctors, in fact about 80% have at one point or another accepted pharmaceutical company money or services. Services include free meals, lodging and even vacations. Still, most of us are not taking huge amounts.
However, a small but significant number work as paid speakers. What this usually means is that a talk about a particular treatment is held, somewhere within the talk the speaker (doctor) mentions the latest and greatest drug, which just happens to be a product of his or her pharmaceutical sponsor.
Now these paid speakers receive quite a bit of money. At times they might earn several thousand dollars for a single speech, especially if they are well known medical researchers. One doctor, a cardiologist in New York City reported several hundred thousand dollars of such fees, which he earned in just one year.
Now these doctors deny that receiving such huge fees has anything to do with their choice of drugs or their research. They claim that they’re just trying to educate their peers or enjoy giving talks.
It turns out that not unsurprisingly 80% of pharmacy industry supported published papers found that the drug in question was safe and effective. Does anyone really believe that 80% of the time the drug really worked?
So these paid speakers are willingly to set aside any doubts about casting science and public good out in favor of the almighty dollar,
I wonder how they sleep at night.
Legislators have finally caught wind of these questionable practices. The names and amount of money received by doctors from drug companies will soon be public knowledge.
There are many doctors, including me, who refuse to take any money or goods from drug companies. While I don’t really believe that a free dinner or two is a questionable practice, I’d rather wash my hands completely of any such money or services.