The drug industry is using deceptive practices to circumvent the law and sell you more drugs. We’ve all seen the drug TV ads: a couple walking together on a peaceful beach, or playing with the family dog in a sunny meadow—and then we get to the appalling list of side effects that, understandably, turn off many consumers. Drug companies have to include the side effects by law; otherwise, consumers could be duped into buying drugs based on deceptive ads. But the pharmaceutical industry is fighting back, deploying deceptive maneuvers to get around disclosing the dangers of their products. This intentional manipulation of consumers cannot be allowed to continue.
Pharmaceutical company payments to doctors extend far beyond rank-and-file clinicians — and deep into the leadership of America’s teaching hospitals, according to a study published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association. A team of researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center examined the boards of the 50 largest drug companies by global sales (excluding three companies that were not publicly traded). The researchers found that 40 percent — 19 companies — had at least one board member who also held a leadership role at an academic medical center. Sixteen of the 17 companies based in the United States had at least one. Several had more than one. All told, the research team found that 41 of the companies’ 2012 board members held leadership positions at academic medical centers. Six of the 41 were pharmaceutical company executives who served on hospital boards of directors or held other leadership posts. The authors wrote that when academic medical leaders serve on pharmaceutical company boards, it can lead to conflicts not only for individuals, but for the critically important health care institutions they guide.
Not only are your private medical records being sold to drug companies, but half of all US states leave enough information in the records that YOU can be clearly identified. Hospitals and other medical organizations are supposed to be bound by HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) to keep medical records private. Patient information that is shared is supposed to be stripped of key identifying information (this is known as the Safe Harbor rule). However, HIPAA and other privacy legislation is riddled with so many loopholes that it has been estimated that over 800,000 organizations can access your private records.
By Christian Torres
Relationship status: “It’s Complicated.”
Facebook and the pharmaceutical industry have had an uneasy partnership in recent years. Many drug companies didn’t join the site until Facebook gave them a privilege that others do not have — blocking the public’s ability to openly comment on a page Wall.
But that’s about […]