September 30, 2012

How drug companies mislead doctors and harm patients

In the post Overdiagnosed: too much diagnosis is turning more and more of us into patients I told you about a book by H. Gilbert Welch which explains that a big problem in healthcare nowadays is that, more and more, doctors are diagnosing and treating  patients in the absense of symptoms. The perverse situation is that the health care system is often turning healthy people into patients. As one of the driving forces between this practice, the author, mentions the the commercialization of medicine which he calls a corrupting force. To quote from that post:
"Sellers in the medical care market create demand for their wares by being in the position to decide whether or not you need to consume their products. Turning more people into patients is (like) expanding the market, something of which the whole medical-industrial complex financially benefits. Medical research is also negatively affected by commercialization. In order to do research researchers have to apply for grant money. Decisions about grants for research are not only often made by the commercial companies like the pharmaceutical industry (most medical research is now funded by industry) but also by other researchers who are wedded to conventional ideas and approaches. Sympathetic sounding disease awareness campaigns also increasingly involve paid advertising."
Now there is a book by Ben Goldacre: Bad Pharma: How drug companies mislead doctors and harm patients which points to alarming structural deficits in scientific practice. Here a brief description of the book (from amazon.com):
"Doctors and patients need good scientific evidence to make informed decisions. But instead, companies run bad trials on their own drugs, which distort and exaggerate the benefits by design. When these trials produce unflattering results, the data is simply buried. All of this is perfectly legal. In fact, even government regulators withhold vitally important data from the people who need it most. Doctors and patient groups have stood by too, and failed to protect us. Instead, they take money and favours, in a world so fractured that medics and nurses are now educated by the drugs industry. Patients are harmed in huge numbers." 
If you don't have time to read the book perhaps it is a good idea to view this TED talk by Goldacre:

1 comment:

  1. doctor's should knows best for their patients they should not harm their patients..they should also understand the situation of their patients.

    ReplyDelete

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