Julie’s Health Club passes along a new study that claims pharmaceutical ads “bias” medical journal content. See for yourself:
Doctors often rely on medical journals to stay updated. But the more drug ads a journal contains, the less likely that the journal will also contain articles about dietary supplements (vitamins, minerals and herbs), according to a small pilot study that reviewed a year’s worth of issues from 11 major journals…It gets worse. Get a load of this report by NBC News, “More profit than progress in cancer research.” Here’s a bit:
…More research is needed because "the ultimate impact of this bias on professional guidelines, health care, and health policy is a matter of great public concern," concluded lead author Kathi Kemper, director of the program for holistic and integrative medicine at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine.
As I do every year at this time, I have been covering the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the world’s biggest gathering of cancer specialists. At least 33,000 medical professionals registered for this year’s meeting. The number of attendees has been climbing yearly for decades, an indication of the enormous growth of the cancer treatment industry.This doesn’t surprise me. Doesn’t surprise Dr. Fuhrman either, his thoughts:
In the massive commercial exhibits area, drug companies vie to attract attention for their treatments and diagnostics. Many of those products sell for tens of thousands of dollars a year for each patient and bring in billions of dollars for their manufacturers.
During conference session breaks the seemingly endless hallways of Chicago’s monstrous McCormick Place Convention Center become gorged with doctors walking at slightly crooked angles. The gait results from each carrying a conference bag filled with the huge printed programs, books of study abstracts, as well as the drug company handouts they accumulate. Those doctors, considered "thought leaders" whose prescribing patterns influence other doctors, score invitations to drug company parties at some of the cities most elegant restaurants and clubs.
In the midst of this annual frenzy, it's appropriate to ask a question that has become a cliché of medical journalism: Are we winning the war on cancer?
Pharmaceutical companies—not independent medical or scientific researchers—control the vast majority of research and clinical trials. We have lost the judgment and rationale of independent experts and now depend on drug companies to honestly report the risks and benefits of drugs they manufacture and sell. This is like asking the fast-food industry to be in charge of our nutritional advice. The medical studies that drug companies pay for and publicize are heavily biased in favor of the drugs they sell. The economically powerful pharmaceutical industry and the large chemical-food conglomerates wield undue influence on government and the media. Accurate nutritional information is rarely reported because the media cannot produce stories that go against the interests of their advertisers. Instead, the media is quick to report on drug company press releases--self-serving propaganda announcing new anticancer "breakthroughs" that reinforce the myth that we are winning the war against cancer.Seems tyrannical—makes me angry!