January 21, 2015

Conflicts of Interest at All Levels of Medicine

From researchers that have their agendas and take money from people wanting certain results to healthcare providers taking money from drug manufacturers, it is small wonder any progress is being made in medicine. I have not found any medical group or other provider group that does not have a serious conflict of interest that affects their policies and guidelines to the detriment of patients. Even the people on guideline committees have conflicts of interest, so how can we trust the guidelines. Read this by Tom Ross.

I have been reading Dr. Malcolm Kendrick at this link. Down the right column below the books “Doctoring Data” and “The Great Cholesterol Con,” there is a search box. Just type in “conflicts of interest.” After using the enter key, you will find many blogs he has that show conflicts of interest for many of the medical organizations, both in Britain and the United States.

Another of my blogs on junk science being big business is very interesting and I am reading more about this in many studies. What I do not understand is why no one is stopping the actions of these researchers. In my reading, many doctors are complaining about the lack of reliable studies and clinical trials being done that could help them in their practice. If it was one or two doctors, I might discount it, but more and more doctors are asking why there are so few reliable studies.

A few doctors are calling for transparency, but are meeting resistance. This Medscape article covers the activities of one doctor. A few doctors are supporting her, and they are also meeting resistance. Apparently too many doctors at the “expert” level are unwilling to give up the monies that Big Pharma is paying them. The amount of money generally is substantial and more than they would earn practicing medicine.

The U.S. spends $2.7 trillion on healthcare, 30% of which is waste in the form of unnecessary tests and unnecessary treatments. Conflicts of interest are rampant, with 94% of doctors reporting an affiliation with a pharmaceutical or device manufacturing company, and many more insidious influences including salaries being tied to “productivity.” Dozens of studies have shown that these conflicts of interest have a real impact on care, and are a major driver of excessive cost and avoidable harm.

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