Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Who's Buying Off Your Doctor Article

While this particular article focuses on an anti-smoking drug, the principle of the article applies to health care in general. And for prenatal care, we, parents MUST be aware that doctors ARE capitalistic business enterprises. It is too easy to assume that because one has a degree in medicine, that it automatically becomes a "moral" profession. As long as doctors are NOT being paid like a blue collar worker, we can almost assume that most, if not all,doctors are attracted to the profession because of the dollar signs.

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Who's buying off your doctor?

Controversy over a Pfizer anti-smoking drug is fueling debate about whether patients should be told of corporate ties -- or whether disclosure would 'confuse' them.

By BusinessWeek

In April, four experts on smoking cessation published a paper espousing an unconventional plan for helping hard-core nicotine addicts quit. They proposed treating smokers as if they have a chronic disease akin to diabetes. Such patients should take prescription drugs for years to curb tobacco cravings, the researchers advised.

The article, published in the prestigious Annals of Internal Medicine, might have slipped quietly into the vast body of anti-smoking literature were it not for its two closing paragraphs. There, authors Dr. Michael B. Steinberg and Dr. Jonathan Foulds disclosed that they are paid by manufacturers of smoking-cessation products for speaking and consulting.

Among those companies is Pfizer, whose controversial drug Chantix the researchers mentioned favorably, along with other treatments. Use of Chantix has led to reports of suicidal thoughts and other psychiatric symptoms.

To some, the Annals paper smelled suspiciously like disease-mongering to boost pharmaceutical sales.

"There's an advantage to the drug companies selling their products to smokers for a lifetime rather than for six weeks," says Adriane J. Fugh-Berman, a Georgetown University scholar who co-wrote a scathing online attack on the paper for The Hastings Center, a health-ethics research group in Garrison, N.Y. "Medicine can be a useful adjunct to quitting (cigarettes), but the goal should be quitting," she says.

Read the rest of the article here:

Who's Buying Off Your Doctor?

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