Originally published October 5 2013
Texas has more Big Pharma doctor payoffs than any other state - almost $60 million
by Willow Tohi
(NaturalNews) Everything's bigger and better in Texas. From our chicken fried steaks to our hairdos, more is best around here. That goes for wealth and politics, too, of course, and business deals. With the eye on the prize, many don't let little things like ethics get in the way of their success. Texas is indeed fertile ground for our corporate culture - Big Ag, Big Corporations, Big Pharma, Big Politics, Big Egos.
It's not really that shocking then to have found that doctors are involved in similar practice. After all, health is business, whether it's good or bad. And it seems that the term "practicing medicine" has come to be a bit more literal, and lucrative. Doctors are building their wealth, and simplifying their work, by becoming mouthpieces for the pharmaceutical industry.
The master planThe business brilliance behind Big Pharma realized long ago the value of advertising their wares directly to the public. First they lobbied, and were eventually granted "personhood" status for their corporations, which in turn led to the advertisements bombarding us daily. They also saw an opportunity to shape what doctors "know" by disseminating marketing documents for their products disguised as scientific fact. Doctors are caught up in the broken and dysfunctional HMO model of care and have little time to keep up with the latest developments in research, so it sure is handy to have all that provided to them in short, shiny brochures from the drug reps that frequent their offices as often as chronic patients.
So, while they don't want you to do their job and diagnose yourself with so much as a hangnail, they do want you to come in and ask them about the latest (patented) drug on the market, and recite the list of your problems the commercial said it would help. The doctor then reaches for the handy brochure, recites some of its highlights, and you're all set. In and out in three minutes with a prescription or two for what ails you.
The secret is outA long standing trade secret of the pharmaceutical industry has recently been disclosed. Standard operating procedure for how pharmaceuticals get trialed, tested, promoted, and disseminated was kept quiet by the industry for many years until legal settlements forced disclosure of the information, in some cases, last year. Now, information regarding promotional spending payments made to doctors and other professionals of the medical establishment for promoting their drugs has become somewhat available, if you know what to ask and where to look.
Last year, $761.3 million in disclosed payments from 12 companies was paid to doctors in the United States, according to ProPublica.org, $59.5 million of it to doctors in Texas. That tops the list, along with Florida, California, and New York. Look up your state: (http://projects.propublica.org/docdollars/). That's just disclosed payments. Think of all the undisclosed payments as well as other side benefits and perks, such as luxury vacations or comped equipment. According to the disclosure documents, the payments were for consulting, speaking, research, and expenses. But think of the possibilities - fast track drug approvals, circumvent FDA rules, the possibilities are endless. No wonder it's a secret. It also offers insights into your state's politics as well as things like insurance laws.
In addition to rewarding doctors for moving their product, Big Pharm is investing in research universities, cancer clinics, and the like. That way the next generation of doctors only knows the solutions they want known, and as patients are taught to not question their doctors, this helps maintain profit margins. This is the latest trend, as the disclosures have some doctors pulling out of the promotional activities, and some of the drug makers are "cutting their promotional spending" as well.
Nonetheless, being aware of how the machine is run gives you some insights into how your health, or lack of it, is managed. Look up your state, and your doctor, and plan on more than three minutes next time you see your doctor. You may have some questions.
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