From Jeff Hays, Producer of the independent film "The Doctored":
Since many people are not is friend on facebook, I thought his post is worth wild at sharing! Please enjoy...
- Dr. Jon Wise DC, CCWP
I had a minute (ok, an hour or two) on this flight back to SLC so I thought I'd type out my notes on Marcia Angell's talk that I attended on Thursday at Grand Rounds at the U of U Medical School.
She is the former Chief Editor for the New England Journal of Medicine, a Senior Lecturer at Harvard Medical School. She wrote "The Truth about Drug Companies and how they deceive us" which was a NY Times best seller in 2010.
She made some great points, I want to use her in an upcoming film. These are just scattered notes that I made listening to her but some are great.
Here are my scattered, random notes:
An editorial posed the question, "Is academic medicine for sale?" the answer was "no, the current owner is quite happy."
Drug companies do not have "education" budgets they have marketing budgets. No 10K for any drug company lists an education budget, regardless of how they and their PR companies try to masquerade them as an educational organization.
Most clinical trials are funded by drug companies.
One positive trial is enough to approve a new drug, even is 10-15 other trials fail.
Until the 80's, drug companies gave grants to academic institutions. Grants were arms length. Now drug companies own the studies, and academics are hired hands. Many times in multi-location trials, the academics are not even allowed to see the data collected in their study. The drug companies alone decide whethere to publish or not. Now a new industry was formed, CRO's that competes with drug companies for these study dollars, further insuring compliance and complicity from academics.
At Harvard Medical School, NOTHING is absolutely prohibited as a conflict of interest.
2/3'rds of academic chairs receive department income from drug companies.
3/5's of academic chairs receive personal income from drug companies.
There is now very little innovative research coming from drug companies, most all is "me to" drugs that are already proven successful.
Industry is now dictating the research agenda, academics are having their agenda decided for them. Most all is targeted research on me too drugs, nothing on prevention or health.
Main cause of bias is squelched studies.
In a review of 70 studies of antidepressants, 37 of 38 studies were published. Of 33 of 36 negative studies were either not published or were rewritten to appear positive.
The FDA will not publish a negative study without the permission of the drug company.
In "me too" drugs, they don't run trials against existing drugs, but against placebos, for fear of underperforming existing, less expensive drugs. They will also run a trial testing against an existing drug but using half the effective dose. (She gave the example of this happening with Lipitor and Claritin.)
CME's have now approved drug companies to teach for continuing ed credit. The drug companies pay the institutions and even the doctors for this privilege. She says this is like a beer company teaching about alcoholism. It is marketing masquerading as education. Drug companies now own their own CME companies.
Because of all of this industry money, doctors learn to practice a very drug-intensive form of medicine. Dr's are led to believe that new drugs are superior to older drugs even though that is often false. Drug companies rarely compare their new drugs to older drugs at the proper dose, they compare to placebo.
The medical profession needs to wean itself from all of this industry money.
Disclosure does not resolve conflict of interest. "We're so drenched in market ideology that any resistance is considered Quixotic, and odd."
When she was at the NEJM, she could rarely publish a study in psychiatry, cardiology, or orthopedics because there was rarely a study in those fields without a conflict of interest that violated their rules.
Pfizer gave an $85 million gift to UCSF and now has their scientist in the lab working next to the academics.
Coming next is off-lable marketing of drugs, in ads direct to consumers. The Supreme Court has upheld this based on freedom of speech!
Now New Zealand no longer allows direct to consumer drug company ads; the US is now the only country in the world that allows this!
Big Pharma presents itself as high risk, when in fact there is none. They are on welfare big time.
The often close unprofitable plants because of problems with the plant. But there is never a problem with a plant where they make statins!
In her review of the FDA advisors who approved Vioxx, the majority of them were receiving income from drug companies that made cox 2 inhibitors.
Drug companies also name the generics, and they purposefully make them unpronounceable to direct people to the better-named brand drug version.