Friday, July 29, 2005

Medical Society, Magazine Split Over Drug Company Influence

Medical societies like the American Medical Association and their journals have a history of influence by Big Pharma, often forwarding their own agenda (read that as Big Pharma's agenda) without regard for the opinions or best interests of individual physicians who make up the society they represent, much less the best interests of the general public. For half a century or more the agenda of the AMA was not closely aligned with the interests of doctors at all, but was intent on pushing surgical/pharmaceutical medicine as a monopoly, trying to push out by whatever means necessary any other type of help for health problems.

But in an interesting twist, the American Society of Hypertension, which represents docs that specialize in handling high blood pressure, is splitting with its journal, the American Journal of Hypertension, pulling its official support for the magazine. Why? Because the magazine is accusing the Society of being a Big Pharma sycophant, accepting drug company payoffs to promote drug solutions, presumably to the exclusion of non-drug solutions.

This is indeed a new phenomenon.

It's hard to tell the whole story from the outside, but it appears we have a magazine and its editor that wants to put in ethics on its group and has gotten into a fight over it.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Journal's Editor Dr. John Laragh, a researcher at Cornell University's Weill Medical College, has accused the society's leaders of being improperly influenced by financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry and becoming, in essence, marketers for drug companies, which pay them consulting and speaking fees.

Hmmm. It might not mean a lot. But it is part of a mounting body of evidence of a tear in the straitjacket Big Pharma has on the medical community. One of these days the straitjacket is going to come off. Big Pharma's days as an ethics-free power hungry industry that seeks social domination through the promulgation of drugs, whether they are needed or not, and whether or not they represent the best solution in all cases, is slowly coming to an end. It's not yet time to sell Lilly stock short, but it's certainly no time to buy it.

1 comment:

Erik Mann said...

Hi - I was searching for blogs about associations and found yours. Reason I was searching for associations is I have one and I'm looking for ways people run theirs.