Do Doctors Have Pharmaceutical Best Interest in Mind

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Does your doctor have you or the pharmaceutical company’s best interest in mind? Well according to reports from a joint investigation by news agencies and non-profit groups; found that more than 380 of the health care workers took in more than $100,000 in 2009 and 2010.

The report showed than 17,000 healthcare providers, including doctors, have received money from several major drug companies to talk to other doctors about their products.

The payments are not illegal showed that doctors were sometimes urged to recommend “off-label” prescriptions, meaning using them for conditions they are not approved for showing that some doctors have something else in mind besides patients best interest.

The report also calls into question the impact that drug company payments might have on doctors when they prescribe medications. Several lawsuits have accused drug companies of paying doctors to prescribe certain drugs. In a recent New York Times there was a story about those lawsuits, specifically ones focusing on anti-psychotic drugs.

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Thousands and thousands of US physicians are paid by pharmaceutical companies to spread the word about their “favored pills and to advise the companies about research and marketing,” the group said in the report.

The investigation included information from seven drug makers -- AstraZeneca, Cephalon, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Eli Lilly, Merck and Pfizer. Consumer Reports said the information was released voluntarily by some of the companies, while some “were forced to disclose this information as a result of legal settlements.”

This is becoming such a problem that in the 2nd annual prescription drug survey conducted by Consumer Reports National Research Center they found that after they surveyed more than 1,150 adults who currently take prescription drugs, that 69 percent of those polled think drug companies have too much influence on medications doctors prescribe.

Dr. John Santa, director of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center, said in a statement that “the amount of money involved is astounding, and the ProPublica report's account of the background of some of the physicians is disturbing.”

It is important to note that not all doctors have received money from several major drug companies to talk to other doctors about their products.

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