Conflict(s) of Interest in Medicine today

Dr. Weeks’ Comment:  For years, I have encouraged patients who seek a mutually trusting and respectful relationship with a medical doctor  to insist on conflict-of-interest free medicine.  Perhaps that is not a term you are familiar with.  We have clarified that, by the simple virtue of a doctor being paid, not by the patient,  but by a third party, the doctor is operating under a dangerous conflict of interest. This is very clearly explained on line:

“Who pays my doctor? We think that it is very important to clarify in advance that we do not bill or accept payment from any third parties like insurance companies or from Medicare/Medicaid.

Why is this important?

Well, we think that the only way you can be assured that your doctor is working exclusively for you and has your best interest at heart is quite simply to be the one to pay for the care you receive. We have seen such compromise in patient’s care when third party payers insinuate themselves and their profit motive between the patients and the doctor that we decided a decade ago to work exclusively for our patients.

Ask yourself this question: “Who pays my doctor?” The answer to that question is the person your doctor is actually working for.”

By way of contrast, anyone who has any familiarity with the legal process knows that one is best represented, generally speaking, by hiring (and paying) one’s own lawyer as opposed to accepting a state appointed (and paid) public defense  lawyer. This is not debated. It is generally accepted. And have you recently asked your lawyer “Do you take insurance?” Both Life and Liberty are constitutionally protected rights. Why does one, Life, require that its servants (doctors) to be paid by 3rd party payers yet the other, Liberty, allow its servants (lawyers) to operate exclusively on a fee for service basis (excepting public defenders for the poor)?

However, there is another huge area of concern for patients who expect that their health is their doctor’s top priority.  That is the role that Big Pharma, in addition to 3rd party payers, play by asserting their profit needs ahead of the patients’ need for the trusted doctor to maintain their health as the doctor’s top priority.

Here is a very  powerful and entertaining albeit it terrifying “comedy” piece  on the epidemic of doctors working more for Big Pharma than for patients. In this FDA/Big Pharma commercialization of medicine, the time-honored initials  “M.D.”  have increasingly come to mean that the physician is a “Marketing Director”  ….. for Big Pharma.   WATCH IT HERE   Take notes.  You’ll learn that Big Pharma spends more marketing to and with doctors than it does on research…   Poignantly, the video suggests  that you  “Ask your doctor if his or her taking Big Pharma money is good for you.”

Real health care reform starts with the simply verity that the customer (the patient)  must be able to hold the provider (the doctor and clinic/hospital) accountable for quality of service. Today, that is increasingly less possible because, whereas the patient looks to the doctor for care, at the same time, the doctor looks elsewhere for his or her livelihood. This is bad medicine indeed and bodes poorly for the trusting, vulnerable  patient.

 

Facts that bode poorly for the trusting patient:

Beginning in 2012,

– 70% of Americans take 1 prescription medications

– 50%+ of Americans take 2 prescription medications

– 4 billion prescriptions were written in America

– $330 billion was spent on prescription medications in America

– averaging:  $1000/person was spent on prescription medications in America

 

Who is the target?

$4 billion was spend marketing to patients

$24 billion marketing to MDs (prescribers)

In 2013, 9 out of 10 of the biggest drug companies spent more money on marketing than they did on research. – SOURCE: November 2014 BBC report Fierce Pharma

“Drug companies are like high school boy friends, they are much more concerned with getting inside you than being effective once they’re in there.”

 

It is tragic, but not surprising, that the top MD for GlaxoSmithKlein (GSK) – Mark Reilly, M.D. the “country chief” and principal investigator is now in prison in China.

 

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