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The Drug Companies Strike Back...

Amid the flurry of accusations and lawsuits from consumers, state legislatures, Congress and even major medical journals, the mega-billion pharmaceutical companies--heretofore experts at influencing the judgement of whomever, whenever in search of the next buck--seem to be fighting back.

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association (PhRMA) president Alan Holmer blames the intense scrutiny on the fact that patients have to pay a bigger chunk out-of-pocket for prescription drugs than they do for doctor visits or hospital care.

A lack of insurance for these medicines that are becoming an important part of America's health care system, Holmer says, is the main reason his industry is under such close scrutiny by Congress and those in the know, like Dr. Marcia Angell, the former New England Journal of Medicine editor who wrote the book The Truth About Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What to Do About It. In response, PhRMA wrote a 28-page rebuttal to Angell's book, the only one it obtained before publication.

Another intereresting zinger: Peter Rost, a Pfizer vice president posted a five-star review praising Angell's book on

Probably, Harvard professor John Abramson who authored Overdosed America: The Broken Promise of American Medicine said it best: "I've written this book because I want my colleagues to understand that much of what they believe to be true about the best way to practice medicine is distorted by commercial interests and has no more integrity than commercially sponsored infomercials on TV."

USA Today September 14, 2004

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