|The "Business" of Drugs: NPR Joins in on the Fray against Pharma Payola
Page created 6/7/09
National Public Radio (NPR) has joined the fray against drug company payouts to doctors and
psychiatrists forwarding their ineffective and often fatal “wonder” drugs this week. In an NPR program on
Sunday; Shining Some Light Between Doctors And Drugmakers, they noted that pharmaceutical companies spend
billions of dollars on marketing every year, and a big chunk of it goes directly to the doctors who prescribe their
products to patients.
Several states have decided to clamp down on these practices, requiring drug companies to disclose all gifts or
payments to doctors.
Citing a recent report from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, NPR noted the obvious, that
acceptance of free meals, gifts and cash payments influences the prescribing practices of physicians and health care
providers, and often leads to the prescription of a particular drug that doesn't have the same outcomes or beneficial
effects on the patient that another drug might have.
The Vermont Legislature recently passed the strictest bill to date and it is expected to become law next month.
Vermont state Sen. Peter Shumlin, who sponsored the bill, says the state is trying to take a leadership role in what he
calls a national problem.
Just in the state of Vermont, with its relatively small population of 600,000-plus citizens, the drug industry spent almost
$3 million last year, Shumlin says. "So you can imagine if the problem is that large in Vermont, they're spending
hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars undertaking this practice in states like California and New York."
The state wants to ensure that Vermont's consumers know exactly how much their doctor has profited from the drugs
they prescribe and where the money came from. "We think the best way is pure transparency," Shumlin says.
A Federal Bill In The Works
In Congress, Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley is co-sponsoring a bill like Vermont's. Grassley emphasizes that the goal of
the bill is similar to Vermont's: transparency.
The federal government is a huge purchaser of health care services and products, Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley says,
and the bill intends to protect those federal consumers as well as extend the same protection to the private sector.
The federal bill wants disclosure of any and all transactions above $100. "If you go to your local doctor," Grassley says,
"you ought to know if he's giving a lecture at some pharmaceutical seminar and got paid for doing it. "If he's
subscribing to that company's product and saying you should take it, you ought to know that," he says. "You make the
choice as the consumer.
To see full text or listen to the broadcast at the following URL: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?
We predicted that the drug company payola stories would have legs (continue to run), we are quite pleased that
mainstream media such as NPR, The New York Times, The LA Times and CNN, amongst many others also see this
as a story that will not go away until the situation is fully exposed and cleaned up.
Log onto the WINHS.ORG web site for news and updates on the campaign to eliminate 2/3rds of existing food
supplements, herbs, amino acids and traditional medicines. Is it any wonder that this (drug) industry is the vested
interest behind these efforts? www.winhs.org
Get your copy of the e-book; How to Really Prevent and Cure Heart Disease, by Dr. Gottfried A. Lange, M.D. and
find out how cardiovascular disease is caused as well as how to prevent and handle it – naturally!
www.HealthNetPublishing.com or an Amazon.com below
Generation Rx is a film about families who confronted horror and found nowhere to turn for help - and how scores of
children have been caught in the vortex of mind-bending drugs at the earliest stages of their growth and development.
This powerful documentary also questions whether we have forced millions of children onto pharmaceutical drugs for
commercial rather than scientific reasons. Ultimately, Generation RX may help parents decide whether the perceived
benefits of these medications outweigh the serious and often fatal risks to their own children.
All the best,
Rudi C. Loehwing
World Institute of Natural Health Sciences
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