By Dr. Mercola
Pharmaceutical companies spend billions of dollars to influence, “educate,” and entertain doctors around the world.
According to ProPublica’s “Dollars for Docs” website, which you can use to find out if your doctor accepts money from the drug industry, 1,630 companies have made payments to more than 681,000 doctors, totaling more than $3.5 billion.
You can also find out if your doctor receives payments from Big Pharma by visiting OpenPaymentsData.CMS.gov. This site has tallied nearly $6.5 billion in payments since 2013.
Drug companies have long tried to influence doctors’ prescribing habits by paying them for research activities, speaking and other “consulting,” or offering gifts of free meals and travel. However, it hasn’t always been possible to find out what gifts your own doctor might be accepting.
The Physician Payments Sunshine Act, which is part of the Affordable Care Act, went into effect in 2013. For the first time, the Act requires drug and medical device makers to collect and disclose any payments of more than $10 made to physicians and teaching hospitals.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is in charge of implementing the Sunshine Act, which it has done via its Open Payments Program. You can easily search the site to find out what (if any) payments your doctor has received, along with the nature of the payments.
Many Doctors Believe They’re Not Affected by Drug Company Freebies
It is the rare physician who has not been given something by a drug company at some point during his or her career. Many physicians have regular contact with the drug industry and its representatives.
One study found physicians began interacting with pharmaceutical reps in medical school and continued at a rate of about four meetings a month.
A New England Journal of Medicine study also highlighted the prevalence of physician-industry relationships, noting that “most physicians (94 percent) reported some type of relationship with the pharmaceutical industry.” This included:
Receiving food in the workplace (83 percent)
Receiving drug samples (78 percent)
Reimbursement for costs associated with professional meetings or continuing medical education (35 percent)
Payments for consulting, giving lectures, or enrolling patients in trials (28 percent)
Despite these cozy relationships, many physicians believe they’re immune to the effects of free food, free travel, and speaking gigs that essentially amount to free money.
They understand there’s a conflict of interest there, but employ a number of psychological dynamics, including denials and rationalizations, to justify the relationship.
According to a study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, in order to resolve their state of cognitive dissonance, the physicians:
Avoided thinking about the conflict of interest
Disagreed that industry relationships affected physician behavior
Denied responsi [...]
Submitted by Carey Wedler via TheAntiMedia.org,
This summer, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) demonstrated its incompetence and exposed its archaic ideology on more than one occasion.
First, in defiance of public opinion, the agency announced it would continue to classify cannabis as a Schedule I drug, meaning the plant will continue to be categorized as one of the most “dangerous” drugs in America. Then, the DEA announced it would schedule kratom’s active ingredients in the same Schedule I category, even though the increasingly popular Asian herb, like cannabis, could potentially help curb the nation’s current opiate addiction epidemic.
To some Americans, these two actions demonstrate just how hopelessly out of touch the DEA is. But the agency’s ineptitude isn’t limited to misguided and stubborn decisions to ban plants. It’s actually out in the open for all to see on the DEA’s own website.
The DEA’s “Top Stories of 2016” page, which contains a selection of press releases the agency has issued throughout the year, is intended to highlight the valiant efforts of DEA agents in the fight against drugs.
But a simple analysis of the headlines reveals just how little the DEA has done to achieve its goals.
Here’s a sampling of their top stories:
“Rogers Man Sentenced to Maximum of 20 Years in Federal Prison for Drug Trafficking”
“Overdose Investigation Leads to Heroin Distribution Charges”
“Over 65 pounds of heroin recovered from truck axle in Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y.: Two arrested”
“Methamphetamine Trafficker Sentenced to 12 Years Prison”
“Colombian Narcotics Kingpin Sentenced in Manhattan Federal Court to 35 Years in Prison for Massive Cocaine Conspiracy”
“Cumberland County, New Jersey Man Sentenced to More Than 10 Years in Prison for Methamphetamine Conspiracy”
“Two Brothers Charged with Distributing Heroin Involved in Overdoses”
“Owner of String of Marijuana Stores Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison”
“Major Takedown Leads to Indictment – Seizures of Over Half Million Dollars in Heroin and Cocaine”
At first glance, it appears the DEA is doing a bang-up job. Look at all the bad guys they’ve caught! Can you believe they seized half a million dollars worth of scary drugs in one mission? Bless the men and women in uniform who fight to keep our children safe!
At second glance, however, one might begin to wonder why, nearly fifty years after the Drug War’s inception in 1971, the DEA is still struggling to contain the flow of illegal drugs in the United States.
Search for yourself. Perform a simple Google query on drugs seized by the DEA and law enforcement agencies around the country. You’ll find that seemingly every day, shipments of cannabis, cocaine, methamphetamines, heroin, and other drugs are seized by government agencies. Traffickers are charged with crimes and, to be fair, significant quantities of drugs are removed from the [...]
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