Doctors these days may as well hang a sign on their door that says, "For sale to the highest bidder."
It’s no great shock that the highest bidder is always Big Pharma — what IS shocking is that doctors are willing to admit it.
All doctors need to take continuing medical education courses in order to keep their licenses and certifications. It’s a good idea in theory, but there’s a catch. (There always is.) These CME programs are sponsored by — you guessed it! — the pharmaceutical industry.
What doctors admit about drug companies
A researcher from the University of California, San Francisco surveyed docs who attended one of five CME courses given by the International AIDS Society-USA (which, by the way, also receives drug industry funding).
What he discovered is extremely telling — not just about Big Pharma, but about the doctors so many of people willingly trust with their lives.
Of the 770 docs who replied, 88 PERCENT said that industry funding leads to bias in CME materials (materials, mind you, that doctors not only need in order to keep practicing, but that they also rely on when they make treatment decisions later on).
Yet despite the apparently well-known conflicts of interest, less than half said they’d be willing to pay more to make these activities sponsor-free. And just 15 percent of the docs said they think the sponsorships should be removed completely.
When I say "sponsorships," I’m not talking about an ad in a magazine or course book, or maybe an easily ignored mailing.
From the moment the doctors step foot inside these conferences, they’re barraged with pharmaceutical marketing materials: hotel keycards, shuttle bus headrests, bottled water, cellphone charging stations, massage parlors, game rooms, floors, stairs, and more.
These relentless ads hit at every moment of the day, from lights on to lights out: Ads on your coffee cups in the morning… and even on your nightstand when you came back to your hotel room at night.
That’s not some extreme example. That’s business as usual. And if your doctor says he’s immune to it, he’s not only lying to himself — he’s lying to you.