I get a newsletter from The Health Research Group put out by the respected non-profit group, Public Citizen. Their newsletter is called Worst Pills, Best Pills News and you can look them up online at www.worstpills.org.
In the most recent issue, Director Dr. Michael
Carome talked about the Physician Payments Sunshine Act that is part of
the Affordable Care Act commonly referred to as Obamacare. It was done
in 2010 but finally went into effect in 2014.
So, we are nearing
the end of 2014 and the companies manufacturing drugs and medical
devices are mandated to report to the federal government payments and
gifts to physicians and teaching hospitals. The law also mandates that
the companies, physicians and hospitals involved be made public.
September 30th, Medicare, which implements the act, released the first
batch of data. The payments totaled an astounding 3.5 BILLION dollars.
Another 1.1 billion was not disclosed for various reasons permitted
under the sunshine act.
The breakdown for payments was $1.5
billion for research. (I have to ask, can research on a new drug be
unbiased when paid for by a drug company? We've heard some pretty shady
stories about that kind of buddy, buddy approach.)
$1 billion for gifts of stock. (That is bribery in my opinion. Same as cash.)
million for speaking and consulting fees; (I Expect the speaker favors
the drug company and again, sounds like bribery to me. How cozy.)
$302 million for royalties and licenses; (Don't know what that entails.)
$167 million for travel, food and lodging and $128 million for other things.
was under the impression that travel and food and lodging stuff was off
the table. Nope, that is only for senators and politicians. The Doctors
and hospitals are still being sweetened.)
And, another 128
million for other purposes undefined? (I'm guessing, those little
trinkets like advertising carry bags, small, soft ice chests, packets
of golf tees, pens, drug and device samples etc. like those I recently
saw at a health fair. They are intended to influence we consumers.)
I've never in my life been so cynical. Now I find it is imperative to be cynical in this corporate, greed dominated climate.
Dr. Carome summarizes with these words:
some of these payments may seem appropriate-such as those related to
the conduct of industry-funded clinical trials-the majority of them have
a corrupting influence on the practice of medicine. Financial
relationships between physicians and industry influence the opinions and
recommendations of health care providers in a variety of settings,
including during the delivery of medical care; during Food and Drug
Administration advisory committee meetings and deliberations of expert
panels that develop clinical practice guidelines. Indeed, that is why so
many payments and gifts go to physicians is to influence their
The bottom line financial interests of these companies are not with the best interests of patients."
know for a fact I've been over prescribed drugs I didn't need. For
several years I had a holistic Doctor who took me off of everything I
was taking. I wish he was still in the area. My current doctor always
chooses generic drugs and Worst Pills Best Pills gives you the lowdown
on drugs even your doctor does not know the truth about. So, if you are
concerned, look them up.
As Jim always says, "Sometimes the truth ain't pretty."