Originally published August 30 2013
Dollars for docs - Florida is a mecca for pharma payoffs to hospitals and doctors
by Willow Tohi
(NaturalNews) Florida seems to be a mecca for the ethically challenged. We all remember the ethically questionable political fiascos, dating back to 2000 and beyond. Most of you will remember the ethically questionable patients' rights bru-ha-ha of a few years ago, where the husband wanted to 'unplug' the wife on life support. Now there is proof that Florida is littered with ethically questionable doctors as well.
ProPublica.org has compiled a database of disclosed payments by pharmaceutical giants to doctors and clinics for promoting their drugs through speaking and consulting engagements, as well as meals and "research." Florida ranks at the top of the list of states with doctors on the take, along with New York, California, and Texas. Look up your state, and your doctor: (http://projects.propublica.org/docdollars/)
The numbers are difficult to wrangle, as the different companies have disclosed numbers for different amounts of time. Some turned in numbers for all of 2010, while some turned in only a couple quarters worth of numbers. And these are just those numbers "voluntarily" disclosed after legal settlements forced some companies to disclose the information. There are many more companies whose numbers are not included, and possibly additional perks that didn't fit into the provided categories. More disclosures are set to become mandatory by 2013.
Florida payoffsIn roughly a year, almost $60 million dollars of payments have been made to healthcare practitioners and hospitals in Florida. Payments were made by Pfizer, Eli Lily, GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, Cephalon, Allergan, Novartis, Merck, and Johnson & Johnson. Over $760 million worth of payments were made across the country by 12 companies. You can read between the lines and see that along with dollar amounts, the pharmaceutical industry has been forced to disclose their modus operandi for conducting business. They pepper our consciousness with their propaganda and PR, and now we see that they also actively recruit our trusted advisers who persuade us to become part of their statistics and "research."
Haven't we all wondered how it is possible that so many drugs could hit the market in so little time? It seems like every week there is a new ad on television promoting some new drug. The latest trend seems to be companion drugs - drugs to help the other drugs you are taking. How can people not realize this kind of treatment only makes them sicker? It is clearly not curing anything - only suppressing symptoms and causing new ones. Which are, of course, new opportunities for even more drug sales. These insights into the money trail of the pharmaceutical industry show us how it is possible for them to get the new drugs trialed, tested, promoted, and disseminated so quickly - they seduce doctors to participate and counsel us on their behalf.
Two weeks ago, Johnson & Johnson came under fire for using formaldehyde in their "natural" baby products. You can see why they'd want to keep their business operations a secret. Think of the possibilities for these companies and their products, having doctors as their mouthpiece: fast tracking of drugs, vaccines, and other treatments involving chemicals, circumventing the obviously negotiable FDA guidelines for approving drugs. The possibilities are endless. These practices also raise questions about the ethics of the state level politics and insurance laws.
No one knows why Floridian doctors and hospital administrators are so susceptible to Big Pharma's propositions. Perhaps it is because of all the retirees and theme parks - they inflame the doctors' sense of entitlement, so they are prone to look for ways to amass wealth quickly so they can quit and join the ranks of the carefree. And it's becoming the norm. Payments made to universities help to instill the pharmaceutical companies' values in the doctors of tomorrow. This is their new standard operating procedure.
No matter the motivation, now that these questionable practices have become more transparent, with patients being able to look up not only their state, but their doctor as well, both doctors and companies are pulling back. They would all just as soon avoid the questions. How many prescriptions are you on? Is it made by the same company your doctor or hospital receives payments from? If so, doesn't that make you have questions?
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