In 2001, 2.8 billion prescriptions were filled in the United States for an
average of 9.9 prescriptions per person. This statistic taken from Ultraprevention,
by Drs. Mark Hyman and Mark Liponis, certainly supports their point that "drug
industry prescriptions have gotten far out of hand." The overabundance
of prescriptions isn't because of a rise in illnesses or the availability of
new drugs that effectively and safely treat chronic diseases; rather, it is
because of the corruption of mainstream medicine. The philanthropy that was
once present in modern medicine has been replaced by a love of money, which
gave rise to an elaborate system of bribery, conflict of interest and deception.
How does your doctor decide which medications to prescribe? Is the decision
based on the first-hand testimonies of other patients? Is the decision made
after a careful and thorough research of medical journals? Usually not. As Michael
T. Murray explains in Natural Alternatives to Drugs, your doctor's decision
has nothing to do with medicine: "Most physicians do not make decisions
about which drug to use on the basis of scientific research or cost. They base
their decision almost entirely on which drug is the most popular choice of their
What determines popularity? The effectiveness of the drug company's marketing
and advertising efforts. In essence, doctors are often bribed or lied to so
that they will prescribe certain medications." Bribery is a danger in any
business sector. In medicine, bribes can prove downright deadly; nevertheless,
they are shockingly common.
How would you like a bonus of $100,000 per year on top of your already outrageously
high salary? Wow, that sounds like a dream, doesn't it? Well, for many doctors,
obtaining a bonus of that amount is a reality. These days, the majority of doctors
have dived right into the "deep waters of entrepreneurship, where there
is always the danger of conflict of interest between patient care and making
a buck," as Martin. L. Gross phrases it in The Medical Racket. Entrepreneurship
has turned the medical industry into a giant game, where patients serve as the
chips, their lives the bets, and jackpots are won by doctors, hospitals and
At times, the bribes are obvious, such as when pharmaceutical companies send
physicians on exotic vacations in exchange for listening to lectures about the
companies' drugs for a few hours of the day, while the rest of the day is quite
literally a day at the beach (or the golf course). The ways in which some hospitals
bribe physicians are especially sickening, according to Professor Ann Blake
Tracy in Prozac: Panacea or Pandora: "Did you know that some hospitals
offer special incentive deals that give doctors valuable gifts like fax machines
and car phones, if they schedule surgeries when the hospitals are hurting for
business?" Incentives belong in car dealerships, not in doctors' offices.
Sometimes the corruption is not as conspicuous; it could be a matter concerning
conflicts of interest. "Conflicts of interest are institutional weeds.
They take root below the surface and become pervasive problems often long before
they show their ugliness," Dr. Jerome P. Kassirer quotes an "observer"
as having stated in his book, On the Take. Now, what are these conflicts of
interest, and are doctors really so susceptible? Dr. Kassirer asks a few questions
in order to determine the severity of this subtle corruption: "Have the
fees that physicians charge given them an incentive to bring patients back to
their offices too often, or to order too many tests that aren't needed? Or have
they skimped on tests if ordering too many shrinks their paycheck? Are they
more inclined to order certain expensive drugs or promote certain products because
of personal financial relations with some of the drug companies, contrary to
patients' best interests?" The answer to all these questions is, unfortunately,
yes, which signals the existence of a pervasive level of corruption.
Now you know why doctors' prescriptions follow trends and why the whole world
seems to be on the same drug at the same time. Now you know why so few doctors
prescribe alternative medicines for their patients: Nature doesn’t offer
One big question, however, remains unanswered: How can doctors accept these
bribes and look in the mirror afterward? According to Dr. Kassirer, it's all
a matter of self-deception: "Physicians know that pharmaceutical companies
don't provide these services simply out of altruistic motives, yet they are
eager to believe that they can preserve their integrity in the face of such
bribes. How then, do they cope with the gross discrepancies between the knowledge
that they are being bought and their need to believe that they cannot be bought?
Disavowal probably explains much of the mechanism of self-deception. Whereas
avowal is a capacity to identify one's true thoughts and motives, disavowal
aids self-deception by evading these motives." In other words, corrupt
doctors actively try not to question themselves about it, thereby perpetuating
their state of self-deception.
Physicians may not overly concern themselves about the bribery they allow to
take place, but we as consumers must. Gross asks, "What could be better
than stopping the waste of $100 billion (at the very least) in medical, dental
and pharmaceutical fraud, and using the money for any good purpose, including
lower federal taxes for all? And in the process, cleansing the stain that dishonest
doctors have cast on the profession and, by extension, on their honest colleagues?"
Ask yourself that same question. There is no downside to stopping medical corruption
right here, right now.
The experts speak on physicians and medical corruption:
The competition was fierce, and the hardest-fought battles took place in India's
largest cities, where physicians practicing all traditions of health care went
after the hearts, minds, and rupees of the growing middle class. By 1994 it
was glamorous to be an antigovernment physician who decried the stupidities
and corruption of state and federal authorities. It was fashionable to declare
as lies most government public health declarations. And intra-physician competition
often echoed this antiestablishment theme, making the most outrageous of "physicians"
chic among the middle and upper castes.
Betrayal Of Trust By Laurie Garrett, page 32
Analyzing why there is so much medical error Leape acknowledged the lack of
reporting. Unlike a jumbo-jet crash, which gets instant media coverage, hospital
errors are spread out over the country in thousands of different locations.
They are also perceived as isolated and unusual events. However, the most important
reason that medical error is unrecognized and growing, according to Leape, was,
and still is, that doctors and nurses are unequipped to deal with human error,
due to the culture of medical training and practice. doctors are taught that
mistakes are unacceptable. Medical mistakes are therefore viewed as a failure
of character and any error equals negligence. We can see how a great deal of
sweeping under the rug takes place since nobody is taught what to do when medical
error does occur. Leape cited Mclntyre and Popper who said the "infallibility
model" of medicine leads to intellectual dishonesty with a need to cover
up mistakes rather than admit them. There are no Grand Rounds on medical errors,
no sharing of failures among doctors and no one to support them emotionally
when their error harms a patient.
Death By Medicine by Gary Null PhD, page 10
Despite what many doctors think, vitamins and minerals are not something invented
by the health food industry; they are part of our biological system. Without
them all life stops and you die. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can often
lead to disease, and you do not have to be embarrassed about taking vitamin
and mineral supplements. The medical and scientific literature supporting nutritional
supplements is extensive and goes back over a hundred years. I know many doctors
who religiously take supplements themselves but will not recommend them to their
patients because of fear of being ridiculed by their colleagues. This is intellectually
and morally dishonest.
Health And Nutrition (see related ebook on nutrition) Secrets by Russell L Blaylock
MD, page 36
I am not implying that those who review manuscripts are corrupt or even conscious
of their bias. Nevertheless, doctors and scientists who are interested in nutritional
medicine almost invariably complain about how difficult it is to have their
work published in "peer-reviewed" medical journals.
Preventing And Reversing Osteoporosis By Alan R Gaby MD, page 250
Despite the obvious corruption of the drug company/doctor marketing connection,
I don't blame the drug companies, the detail men, the government agencies which
are supposed to police these activities, or the patients who badger their doctors
for drugs. doctors have enough facts in their possession to know what's going
on. Even where the drug is fully tested and the side
The Aids War by John Lauritsen, page 272
After all, I am not talking about overt corruption such as fraud, bribes, office-buying,
or kickbacks. Yet what we are concerned about is equally problematic, far subtler,
and largely hidden from sight. One observer commented: "Conflicts of interest
are institutional weeds. They take root below the surface and become pervasive
problems often long before they show their ugliness." The weeds in this
case expose physicians to powerful temptations to make money at the expense
of their patients' welfare. Aside from harm to patients, conflicts of interest
may be subconscious and as such can undermine judgment and integrity and lead
On The Take by Jerome P Kassirer M.D., page 52
...he and his colleagues receive funds that allow them to spread their educational
message to thousands of physicians. Dr. Libby believes that despite the drug-company
support of these efforts, strict adherence to published guidelines in creating
the content of the sites, multiple layers of peer review by experts, and assessment
by his audiences preserves the objectivity of these programs. By disclosing
all his financial conflicts of interest and by being involved with so many companies,
Dr. Libby believes he can maintain his independence, objectivity, and reputation
as an opinion leader in his field.45 The involvement of these high-level academics
in such ventures is open to various interpretations. Dr. Libby asserts that
they simply exploit a corrupt system in a way that benefits patients. Nonetheless,
to me these relationships between the academics and the companies (which may
include providing advice about drug marketing) are too close, too collaborative,
and too cozy. They generate income for some of the participants and thus induce
some obligation to advocate for the company in unseen ways.
On The Take by Jerome P Kassirer M.D., page 104
If Dr. Horowitz is correct, then allopathic physicians in this century knowingly
participated in an unarguably evil enterprise of medicalized killing that is
not much different from the corrupt heart-rendering Mexican Mysteries of an
older, equally sinister America.
Physician by Richard Leviton, page 524
Many doctors are paid by Eli Lilly and other drug companies to do drug studies
for them or they are affiliated with a university or hospital which do these
studies. The "don't bite the hand that feeds you" philosophy plays
a major role in their defending the safety of Prozac. Are the incentives being
offered to them by Lilly to prescribe this drug so great that they feel it is
worth "selling out" their own patients? What is it? Have they become
totally irrational themselves from their own personal use of Prozac? We are
aware that doctors in general have on of the highest rates of prescription drug
abuse. Just how serious is the abuse of these mind-altering drugs among the
individuals we are trusting with our lives? Psychiatric nurse, Joyce Strom-Paikin,
puts her license and credentials on the line to fight the "conspiracy of
silence" that exists in the medical profession with the use of drugs by
doctors and nurses in her book, MEDICAL TREASON. She feels this is a practice
which "threatens to corrupt the profession and cost lives of many patients."
In defence of physicians it should be stated again that they receive very little
training in medical school on the use of drugs. Our entire system is in desperate
need of revamping.
PROZAC Panacea or Pandora by Ann Blake Tracy PhD, page 176
Sometimes physician chicanery is the result of doctors entering the deep waters
of entrepreneurship, where there is always the danger of conflict of interest
between patient care and making a buck—too often a quick, dishonest buck.
The Medical Racket by Martin L Gross, page 112
Unscrupulous pharmaceutical companies, corrupt government officials, venal
physicians, stupid and cowardly media people, incompetent and dishonest researchers
— none of these things are new. They are business as usual. Where, then,
does the buck stop? Who is responsible for pharmacogenocide?
The Aids War by John Lauritsen, page 272
But we couldn't disagree more. Good news? That more and more people are spending
more and more of their money on drugs they don't need? In 2001,2.8 billion prescriptions
were filled in the United States, or an average of 9.9 per person. We think
that drug industry prescriptions have gotten far out of hand. Doctors have been
bribed and brainwashed by pharmaceutical companies to prescribe new, expensive
medications for every ailment—even when a
Ultraprevention by Mark Hyman MD and Mark Liponis MD, page 76
Of course, other professions don't police themselves so well either. How many
unethical lawyers are disbarred? How many corrupt judges are removed from office?
How many check-kiting legislators are impeached? And how many incompetent public
school teachers are fired? There is a lot of room for more policing of the professions.
Maybe methods used against doctors will be tried in your profession next.
Your doctor is Not In by Jane M Orient MD, page 193
The politically feasible course is to subject physicians, clinics, nursing
homes, suppliers of medical equipment, and other providers to the same law that
is used to wage war on drug dealers or Racketeer-Influenced Corrupt Organizations
(RICO). The RICO law provides for civil forfeiture of property.
Your doctor is Not In by Jane M Orient MD, page 200
Most physicians do not make decisions about which drug to use on the basis
of scientific research or cost. They base their decision almost entirely on
which drug is the most popular choice of their colleagues. What determines popularity?
The effectiveness of the drug company's marketing and advertising efforts. In
essence, doctors are often bribed or lied to so that they will prescribe certain
Natural Alternatives To Drugs by Michael T Murray ND, page 25
If the drug company didn't expect the gift to influence the doctor's decision,
why would it give the gift? According to a 1992 article published in The New
England Journal of Medicine written by Douglas Waud, M.D., the term gift should
read bribe. A gift implies that no strings are attached. Dr. Waud criticized
the American College of physicians' and AMA's guidelines because they seem to
Natural Alternatives To Drugs by Michael T Murray ND, page 25
When I was editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, I published an opinion
piece by Dr. Douglas Waud, a University of Massachusetts professor of pharmacology
entitled, "Pharmaceutical promotions.. a free lunch?" Waud asked:
"So where does one draw the line? I suggest that we simply not be on the
take, whatever the amount or context. I do not like the idea of a monetary limit
on bribes (unless it is zero). Nor do I see the subsidization of education as
appropriate. I believe that physicians can buy books and attend meetings without
fear of landing in the poorhouse. I also don't buy the argument that asks, Would
you be willing to have these arrangements generally known? My motivation comes
from within, not from a fear that the Boston Globe may be looking over my shoulder."
On The Take by Jerome P Kassirer M.D., page 65
[The internist] noted that your .. presentation .. created an emotional response
among the physicians greater than any he has seen in the past two decades. This
doctor was insulted by the implication that physicians can be corrupted with
trivial gifts or free meals. In fact, since the intent of the drug-sponsored
dinner lecture is clear at the outset (i.e. pharmaceutical marketing), sitting
through an obvious marketing lecture was considered by this physician as appropriate
"payment" in kind for the meal. I thought that the most interesting
of his remarks focused on the context of pharmaceutical marketing to physicians
in the greater world of business practice in this country. This physician asks
why we, as physicians, agonize so much about the ethics of what are standard
business practices in other industries. Sky boxes at sports arenas, high-priced
restaurants, and luxury hotels all survive as means for providing business to
business perks. Even the IRS recognizes the validity of "business entertainment"
as a standard part of doing business by allowing travel and entertainment as
tax deductions. This physician asks whether fast-food advertising in elementary
schools (to an unsophisticated audience) is any more ethical than giving medical
students medical instruments. Since we, as physicians, are not being treated
by payers as professionals but only as line "providers" of health
care services, why should we hold ourselves to values different than any other
On The Take by Jerome P Kassirer M.D., page 66
The ultimate drug company "bribery" is sending an M.D. on an exotic
vacation and including CME courses along with it. The physician spends a few
hours a day listening to lectures on how to prescribe the company's drugs and
the rest of his time on the beach or golf course.
Prescription Alternatives by Earl Mindell RPh PhD and Virginia Hopkins MA, page
Doctors Borison and Diamond pleaded guilty to the theft, bribery, and racketeering
charges brought against them by the Georgia Attorney General. They were each
fined $125,000 and were sentenced to prison. At the time of their highly publicized
indictment, Eli Lilly pulled all studies still in progress with Borison and
Diamond, reassigning them to other centers. Regarding the many studies the pair
had completed over the years for Lilly, however, a spokesperson said the company
was confident that none of the data provided was compromised in any way. But
Dr. David Hess, chief of neurology at the hospital where Borison was the chief
of psychiatry, told investigators, "This whole thing was very dirty. It
was basically a numbers game. These patients are purely used for the greed of
the researchers.. [It] was very apparent to me what was going on." While
some insist that the repeated exposes are not representative of the testing
of psychiatric drugs, others note that many of the most disturbing practices
highlighted in the exposes—such as the exorbitant sums of money involved,
employing staff with little training or clinical experience to evaluate patients,
and advertising for subjects rather than using real patients coming into doctors'
offices seeking treatment—are not uncommon in psychiatric drug testing.
Prozac Backlash by Joseph Glenmullen MD, page 211
...shocked to discover that their doctor's advice could be colored by less
than virtuous motives. You're supposed to believe that everyone in the medical
community is in it purely for humanitarian reasons. If you believe that, just
try to see a doctor or check into a hospital without flashing your insurance
card!.Did you know that some hospitals offer special incentive deals that give
doctors valuable gifts like fax machines and car phones if they schedule surgeries
when the hospitals are hurting for business?.If your doctor is prescribing a
certain drug for you, wouldn't it bother you to know that the makers of the
drug may have offered him a free trip to New Orleans in return for his patronage?
Drug companies regularly bribe doctors with free drugs, dinners, trips and even
PROZAC Panacea or Pandora by Ann Blake Tracy PhD, page 235
The Veterans Administration had been dispensing research money for several
years as a sort of bribe to attract doctors despite the low pay in government
service. The money from Washington was doled out by the most influential doctors
on the staff, not necessarily the best researchers, but I still felt I had a
good chance because the VA was having an especially hard time recruiting orthopedists.
The Body Electric by Robert O Becker MD and Gary Selden, page 70
Kickback scams are omnipresent in medicine. Dishonest and ingenious doctors
can take in sums much greater than $100,000 a year. In one case involving Caremark
International, a Minneapolis-based home care company, a federal grand jury indicted
them for paying astronomical kickbacks to one physician. How much? Caremark
pleaded guilty to mail fraud and paid a fine of $161 million. Suprisingly, the
doctor was convicted but that conviction was overturned on appeal; the charges
against the executives were dismissed entirely.
The Medical Racket by Martin L Gross, page 115
"Physicians: Pressures on"
Increasingly, people are questioning the values and the presumptions of medicine,
asking whether our way of caring for people is the best way. The administrative
structure of medicine is being overhauled from top to bottom by governments,
by market managers, by physician executives and health management consultants.
At the same time, new advances in medical science promise a new era of biologic
innovation, with everything from fetal surgery to gene therapy to treatments
to prevent aging. Each innovation comes with a promise and a price, and the
more we innovate, the more we are forced to question and compare and prioritize
among interventions, populations, problems, and allocation schemes. The individualistic
morality that sees virtue in the unencumbered and unswervingly loyal commitment
of each doctor to each single patient seems to be crumbling under the assault.
Medical societies agonize over the compromises that doctors are being forced
to make. Journals are filled with soul-searching articles bemoaning the changes
and looking for villains. We blame the corrupt government or the greedy managed
care administrators or the heartless market.
Do We Still Need doctors by John D Lantos MD, page 98
How much suffering and death are the American people willing to take before
they stand up to the bureaucracy? How many physicians must be put into prison
before all physicians cry "enough!" to the increasing government control
over their profession? How many Watergates do we need before we realize that
mortal men are corrupted by power, and that the solutions to one's problems
lie not in increasing the power of government but in decreasing it?
World Without Cancer by G Edward Griffin, page 330
Physicians and bribery: a closer look at this common medical industry practice