Who do you trust?

“Is Big Pharma getting too much flak from doctors?”

No, that’s not a sarcastic question. It’s an actual headline from a recent report I came across, which details doctors’ declining trust in the pharmaceutical industry.

This past September, the New England Journal of Medicine published the results of a new survey. As it turns out, a group of researchers discovered that doctors turn a skeptical eye on drug studies bankrolled by pharmaceutical companies.

They’re also only half as likely to prescribe these drugs to patients, despite the use of high-quality study methods. Government-funded research, on the other hand, isn’t subject to the same level of doubt.

Surely, I can’t be the only one wondering what the issue is here.

Is it really that far-fetched to think that a study’s source of funding might influence the results? Or that profit motivation might interfere with proper healthcare decisions, on both a clinical and political level?

No. It’s called following the money. And as far as I’m concerned, this type of critical thinking is the very hallmark of responsible medicine. As doctors, we owe it to our patients.

So to return to the original question: Is Big Pharma getting too much flak? Absolutely not.

Big Pharma isn’t getting nearly enough flak, if you want my humble opinion. And frankly, I’m thrilled that more doctors are second-guessing the motives of this profit-hungry juggernaut. The drug industry’s deep pockets stand in direct conflict to independent, unbiased research. And it’s been wreaking havoc on this country’s health for way too long.

Big Pharma doesn’t have an “image problem.” Big Pharma is the problem. And it’s about time the medical community started taking notice.

“Is Big Pharma getting too much flak from doctors?” Reuters, 9/19/12 http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/19/us-is-big-pharma-idUSBRE88I1DG20120919