Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Prescription by Perks (8.28.07)

I noticed that a couple of women who responded to my last blog basically said, "If my pediatrician recommended it, I would do it." I wonder sometimes whether doctors have to do anything at all but hold the title "medical doctor" to earn that sort of unquestioning respect. That scares me. No one is infallible. Considering the fact that pharmaceutical companies do some heavy duty marketing in order to get doctors to prescribe their latest chemical concoction, can one really be sure that their doctor's seal of approval and smiling recommendation is really because they have researched and found the drug or vaccination to be truly wonderful and remarkable -- Or because they've been sucked in by slick marketing schemes?

Drug companies spend BILLIONS of marketing dollars to influence doctors in the USA. Quality medical care is often undermined by slick salesmanship. I should know: My mother died thanks to it.

My mother was given a "new" diabetes drug, Rezulin, back in the late 1990s. Her doctor, who we all liked (and who was great with me when I was sick), fell prey to the marketing propaganda. Parke-Davis said it was cutting edge treatment, her doctor believed the marketing hype and who knows what perks were involved. It was withdrawn from the market in 2000 - after severe liver toxicity had been reported since 1997. It was too late for my mother. She died in 2001 of a bizarre, rare form of cancer of the biliary tree. It turns out that studies had shown this development in dogs and monkeys on which the drug was tested. Slick marketing and it was given to humans anyway...and now my mother is gone. My father didn't have the heart to join the class action lawsuit.

My point is: Never blindly take a doctor's recommendation. Always, ALWAYS, research a new drug. If you are offered a new drug or a new vaccination, check the facts. Check what watch dog organizations are saying. It's bad enough when one's own self will be effected, but when something like Gardasil is being promoted to our girls we need to be doubly careful. If someone's 9 year old is one of the ones who winds up with the side effect of infertility and doesn't know it until 15 years down the road when she wants to start a family, how on earth will that be explained to her? "The doctor recommend it and I didn't check it out." That wouldn't wash with me.

Many doctors are good people, but they are human, just like the rest of us. Realize that there are conventions where doctors are taken out and wined and dine. Companies like Pzier write big checks to encourage those prescriptions get written.

ABC News reports this: "But doctors seemed thrilled to have been invited for a weekend in New York City with some seminars along the way, with all expenses paid by Pfizer on behalf of one of its drugs, Viagra. One Small-Town Doctor: $10,000 in Goodies "

That's just a piece of ONE report, which can be read here.

Another interesting article

THEREFORE, the moral of this blog is: Your health is in your hands. Your childrens' health is in your hands. Be careful with it. Be very, very careful. Always do the best to make yourself an educated consumer, an educated patient and educated citizen.

Oh yeah, and DON'T get me started on "natural" remedies being better. That's a whole other blog. Suffice it to say that belladonna is natural, datura is natural, as are many other poisons.

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