A Daring Look Into the Pharma Industry

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Abraar Karan
Abraar Karan, MD MPH is a resident physician at the Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School. He is a member of the Hiatt Global Health Equity Residency Program. Abraar has worked in several countries in Latin America, Asia, and Africa on global health and human rights projects. His current interests include health systems improvement, medical ethics, political leadership in health, and anti-corruption. Abraar graduated from the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, and Yale College. t: @AbraarKaran

Indeed American medicine of 1980 has little resemblance to that of today. In 1980 the pharmaceutical industry did not promote its products on television. It was also a time when medicines were often introduced in other nations before they were in the United States, in part because the FDA spent more time making sure they were safe before agreeing they could be sold. It was also a time when most medical research was done by academic or government scientists with few ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

Today Americans regularly try out new medicines before anyone else in the world. The pharmaceutical industry controls most medical research in the United States. And Americans frequently take medications even when they suffer no real illness. Many have come to believe the industry’s claim that utopia can be encapsulated.

The excerpt above is from Melody Petersen’s book, Our Daily Meds, a thoroughly researched, well-written and outstandingly daring account of the malpractice pervasive in the American pharmaceutical industry.
Petersen writes using several case studies as launch points for her main claims, some of which include the process of creating fake diseases through clever marketing, the manipulation of “scientific” studies supporting drugs which are barely more effective than placebos and are founded on highly biased reporting, the employment of ghost writers from prominent academic medical centers to falsely take authorship of new drug studies that were actually conducted by pharma-funded scientists, and the gross underreporting of medication-related deaths due to the optionality of autopsies and the ease of alleging other associated illnesses as the primary cause of death. She deplores the era of physician greed which saw doctors being heavily influenced in their prescription practices due to pharmaceutical handouts like free vacations, expensive dinners and more.

Read the rest of this post at Swasthya Mundial.