How Money From Pharmaceutical Companies Sways Doctors’ Prescriptions

Dr. Mercola
April 13, 2016

If your doctor receives money or gifts from a drug company, be it payment for a lecture or a free meal, does it influence the medications he or she in turn prescribes? This represents the burning question in an industry saturated with pharmaceutical company involvement.

A ProPublica analysis revealed nearly nine in 10 cardiologists, and seven in 10 internists and family practitioners, included in their study received payments from drug or device companies in 2014.1 But the analysis didn’t stop there.

It also looked into whether or not such payments were associated with prescribing practices, and here’s where things got interesting.

Doctors Who Received Drug-Company Money Prescribed More Brand-Name Drugs

ProPublica analyzed the prescribing habits of doctors who wrote at least 1,000 prescriptions in the Medicare Part D drug program. The doctors belonged to five common specialties: psychiatry, cardiovascular disease, family medicine, internal medicine and ophthalmology.

Not only was the receipt of drug-company money associated with a higher percentage of brand-name drug prescriptions, but the prescriptions rose with the amount of money received.2

The analysis included promotional speaking, consulting, business travel, meals, royalties and gifts as forms of drug company payments. Those who received more than $5,000 from industry in 2014 prescribed the most brand-name drugs. According to the analysis:

“In all cases, the group receiving larger payments had a higher brand-name prescribing rate on average.

Additionally, the type of payment made a difference: those who received meals alone from companies had a higher rate of brand-name prescribing than physicians who received no payments, and those who received speaking payments had a higher rate than those who received other types of payments.”

Are Drug-Company Payments ‘Thinly Veiled Kickbacks?’

Dr. Aaron Kesselheim, an associate professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, told The Atlantic regarding the featured study:3

“It again confirms the prevailing wisdom … that there is a relationship between payments and brand-name prescribing … This feeds into the ongoing conversation about the propriety of these sorts of relationships.

Hopefully we’re getting past the point where people will say, ‘Oh, there’s no evidence that these relationships change physicians’ prescribing practices.'”

Indeed, this is far from the first time that such payments have been linked to prescribing practices.

A 2010 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine also found that nearly 84 percent of physicians surveyed reported some type of relationship with industry during the previous year, and those with such a relationship were more likely to prescribe a brand-name drug even when a generic alternative was available.4

The finding isn’t only relevant for patients, who may be paying more unnecessarily for brand-name drugs, but also for taxpayers who spend billions each year subsidizing Medicare Part D. At least 1 in 4 U.S. prescriptions are paid for by Medicare.

Meanwhile, it’s worth repeating that the reason drug companies pay doctors and aggressively promote certain medications is not to benefit patients; it’s to benefit their bottom line. And there’s often a fine line between legitimate payments and illegal kickbacks. ProPublica noted:5

” … [F]ederal whistle-blower lawsuits against several pharmaceutical companies have alleged that payments are little more than thinly veiled kickbacks, which are illegal. Companies have paid billions of dollars to settle the cases.”

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The Medical Mafia: The True Nature Of Health In Our Country

Zy Marquiez
March 14, 2016

“Probably as much as 75% of the medicine of sickness is unnecessary and its cost can be avoided.”
–  Dr. Ghislaine Lanctot, Author Of The Medical Mafia

As a preamble, although this particular write up will address Big Medica/Big Pharma, its not to be an all-encompassing missive of every individual.

There are really good doctors out there, and really good nurses as well.  Have become good friends with some myself over the last decade or so.

This is to address those professionals which not only give poor quality of service, but also cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of people each and every year by repeating the same/similar mistakes over and over again.

Moving forward, there’s a reason so much health information is shared/mirrored in this blog. Our health is our greatest asset as individuals by far.

Having had significant/chronic health issues that plagued me for nigh two decades, am intimately familiar of how Big Medica/Big Pharma work from a patients point of view. Add many hospitalizations over that period of time, and what’s been learned within that timeframe is that the medical system sure as heck wasn’t as copacetic as they would have you believe. Also, unfortunately, have also lost two family members in the past to preventable medical mistakes. That doesn’t even count deaths from Cancer, which is a whole separate issue.

Hopefully none of you have experienced the same. Those reasons, as well as others, are why this particular topic plays close to the vest.

Furthermore, as someone who’s worked in the past on a government contract dealing with Medicare helping hundreds and hundreds of individuals regarding drug prescriptions, am also quite familiar with the over-medication aspect that has taken hold of the nation top down. When one starts hearing the common theme of caller after caller after caller, each of them taking anywhere between half a dozen to over a dozen medications on average, it was easy to see how intensely America is drugged. Some even went as high as two or three dozen medications.

The shocking part was that, everyone went with it as if its normal to take so many prescriptions. But is it? Is America really that healthy?

Starting with our eldest citizens, all the way down to our children/babies, pharmaceuticals are pumped in every way shape and form, and nigh nobody bats an eyelash. That doesn’t count the hundreds of mandatory vaccinations [yes, hundreds] that the establishment wants to pass.

People’s belief in the American Medical system is proportional to their knowledge about it. Most people don’t realize how many people lose their lives when they shouldn’t have too within this corrupt/for-profit medical system.

Am going to cite a previous post at length called, The Breakaway Guide To Doctors Data & Disease, due to its relevance for those understandably askance about the prior statements:

Latent deep within Big Medica, the finer details reveal certain issues that have not been reported much [if at all] by the mainstream media. As an example, how many people realize that prescriptions drugs are in fact 16,400% deadlier than terrorists?[1] An immediate reaction to such a statement by many would be something along the lines of ‘That’s preposterous!’, ‘Impossible!’. However, they truth would remain regardless what some wish to believe. Unfortunately, that is only the beginning.

Moreover, with prescription drugs being doled out at the tune of 4 Billion per annum , it’s no wonder that medications are injuring 1.5 Million people a year.[2][3] Not only are there 400,000 injuries that can be prevented each year at hospitals, but there are also 800,000 injuries that occur in long-term care facilities. Of all those, about 530,000 injuries occur to those that chose to use outpatient clinics and had Medicare.[4]

Interestingly enough, the fact that these mistakes result in an additional $3.5 Billion in extra medical costs does not pose much of an incentive for those interested in expanding the Medical System’s rising profits.[5][6] Amidst a medical establishment that is the most expensive in the world, it is extremely disturbing as this study by the Commonwealth Fund illustrates:

The U.S. fails to achieve better health outcomes than other countries, and as shown in the earlier editions, the U.S. is last or near last on dimensions of access, efficiency, and equity.”[7]

Knowing that, it is surely not shocking to see that our medical system really isn’t any better than a that of a third world country.[8]

Establishing those facts, perhaps it is time that people realize how flawed this ‘great’ [profits first, people second] system of medical care is in this country. Worst part is that among the current generation of women, their rate of death is actually in fact higher than that of their mothers.[9] That is one major reason why the US ranks 26th overall in the world in respect to life expectancy.[10]

The above is outlined so people realize the true nature of the Medical Establishment.

Lets not forget, the thousands of nurses that have risen up against vaccinations over time.  [11] Got a gut feeling this number will only increase with time.

Who can blame them?  With dozens of studies outlining the dangers of vaccines, its hard to trust them when they’ve been front in center for many of the issues countless mothers have been up in arms about, such as Autism.[12][13][14]

While many people do get help within the medical establishment, hundreds of thousands are injured, or worse, lose their lives in these extremely unfortunate circumstances.

We’re not talking about deaths that were natural. These are deaths that are caused by preventable mistakes.

Let’s switch the scenario a bit.

For instance, imagine that automobiles accidents due to poor construction quality caused 1.5 Million injuries a year, the same way the medical system injures 1.5 Million people a year, wouldn’t that be cause for concern? What if greater than 400,000 people lost their lives in accidents caused by faulty cars, wouldn’t that be some sort of issue?

The mainstream media loves to stir the pot when there’s a shooting, calling for all sorts of gun control, even though it’s the criminals doing the shootings, and not the law-abiding citizens.

Where’s the mainstream media when hundreds of thousands lose their lives, every single year, like clockwork? Where is their call for ‘medication control’?

And no, am not advocating that all medications need to be removed.  Am only saying that prescriptions are being handed out like candy, and its causing more problems than most in the populace are aware of.

What are individuals to do, wait until over two million people are getting injured yearly? What about three or four million? Sounds insane, doesn’t it?  But its exactly where we’re headed as a society.

If the problem doesn’t stop now, and there’s no signs of it truly abating, it’s only going to get worse. Which is why educating yourself and being proactive is the only solution.

The video below, although short [5 minutes in length], is quite insightful regarding to how the medical system and the FDA truly work. You are highly encouraged to view it.

Sources & References
[4] ibid
[5] ibid