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Monday, May 7, 2012

How Pharmaceutical Companies Influence Doctors

Natural Alternative to Doctors & Big Pharma -- Health Blog

Here's an interesting site you might want to take a look at. Although designed for doctors, the information is fascinating for the layperson as well. The MGH Institute of Health Professions, an academic affiliate of Massachusetts General Hospital, launched a new continuing education documentary and interactive websitedesigned to educate doctor/prescribers about drug industry influence. Ironically, the program is funded by Pfizer as a result of the Neurontin settlement.
In particular, you might want to check out their documentary film modules that explain how drugs get approved and marketed -- and the influence pharmaceutical companies have on those outcomes. It's surprisingly pointed, considering that it came out of mainstream medicine. Then again, the documentaries were produced by former pharmaceutical rep, now filmmaker and consumer health advocate, Kathleen Slattery-Moschkau.

Rebutting Robert Carroll's Skeptic Dictionary -- Natural Health Newsletter

Rebutting Robert Carroll's Skeptic Dictionary -- Natural Health Newsletter

Several weeks ago, the staff here at the Foundation brought to my attention Robert Carroll's "Skeptic's Dictionary" website that focuses on "exploring strange beliefs, amusing deceptions, and dangerous delusions." High on the site's list is alternative medicine. As the site says, "Some will be harmed by AM [alternative medicine] and many people will benefit from it, but the entire benefit from AM comes from the placebo effect and the reduction of stress hormones due to the calming effect of good ritual" -- a rather sweeping indictment, I must say. In any case, the reason the staff brought it to my attention is that there is now a featured page on the site -- dedicated to me.1 When I read the page, I found it uproariously funny, filled with misstatements, distortion of fact, and packed with innuendo and a number of juvenile comments -- surprising, considering that the site's author is a retired teacher of "logic" and "critical thinking," albeit at a city college. In any case, the staff insisted we craft a response, even though the site has no facility for leaving comments, and the site says that it will only rarely post them anyway. Nevertheless, I wrote one up, which the staff then toned down and sent on to Dr. Carroll (Ph. D.). The rebuttal was never published, and no response to the email was forthcoming from Dr. Carroll.