The Evil That Drug Marketers Do

Remember the recent study I posted about the overwhelmingly positive results typically associated with studies funded by companies that make the drugs? An awesome piece in yesterday's The New York Times exposed yet another ploy conventional medicine uses to tip the scales in their favor.

Simply, doctors, drug companies and corporations are pouring millions of dollars into tax-exempt medical charities, some of which conduct studies that often favor -- no surprise -- the newer, better drugs and devices they produce, some critics call relationship funding.

In one blatant attention-grabber, a researcher made what amounted to a sales pitch at a medical conference about the benefits of using a $14,000 blood-filtering machine versus IV diuretics for removing excess fluid from heart patients. What the researcher didn't tell cardiologists: The maker of the blood-filtering device donated some $180,000 to the non-profit group who conducted the study or that she and a number of colleagues were tied to a practice that uses products and drugs made by that very same firm.

Even worse, nobody really knows how many of these shady charities really exist. And, because few of these charities generate more than low six-figure sums, they tend to slip past state and federal regulators.

Between drug-testing scandals, toxic drugs, transparent oversight at the federal level and effective consumer marketing tactics, the evil that drug companies can do to your health seemingly hides in plain sight. Nevertheless, accounts like these make me more dedicated than ever to realizing my vision of transforming the conventional medical paradigm to one focused on safely treating and preventing the underlying causes of disease.

New York Times June 28, 2006 Registration Required

The Ledger June 28, 2006

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