It’s about time!
From the beginning of a student doctor’s medical education is taught by professors with deep financial ties to the traditional pharmaceutical industry. One might say that these young doctors in training are brain washed into the belief that there is only one way to practice medicine.
As the Harvard Medical Student Organization discovered, the clinicians and researchers who lead preclinical medical education at US medical schools are usually drawn from affiliated medical centers and therefore are likely to have financial ties to industry.3 Out of Harvard’s 8,900 professors and lecturers, 1,600 admit that they or a family member have ties to drug companies that could bias their teaching or research.
• The pharmaceutical industry contributed more than $11.5 million to Harvard in 2008 for “research and continuing education classes.”
In the context of physician education, financial relationships to the subject matter have been shown to induce selective presentation of data and definitely created the medical mantra that the only good and safe medicine is the Big Pharm. one.
Drug companies were the greatest influence on doctors’ decisions of which drugs to prescribe. Further, about 70 percent of doctors regarded drug representatives as an efficient way to obtain new drug information! One professor’s disclosure list had 47 company affiliations!
Drug companies spend $4 billion each year on direct-to-consumer ads in the United States, but 400% more, a massive $16 billion, to influence your doctor. That is $10,000 per year per doctor in the United States.
Two hundred Harvard Medical School students have challenged their school’s administration, demanding an end to pharmaceutical industry influence in the classroom. These organic changes will take years to unwind and reeducation of staff to open their eyes to safer natural ways to care for people.
Harvard received the lowest possible grade, an “F,” from the American Medical Student Association, a national group that rates how well medical schools monitor and control drug industry money.
The students were joined by Dr. Marcia Angell, a faculty member and former editor in chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, who has vigorously advocated for an end to liaisons between academia and Big Pharm.
Image courtesy of smat.us