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“Of course Adriane Fugh-Berman is correct that we need to bite something tender and to get out of that lap.

But we are fighting the wrong beast. The beast is not the pharmaceutical industry – it is ourselves.

We, as doctors, have created the atmosphere which has allowed companies to malfunction. We have allowed industry to subvert the rules of science . We have watched quietly as governments and academics have colluded with industry to hide information critical to our patients. We have remained silent as our medical schools have churned out graduates who have no knowledge of the dilemmas and scandals of medicine. We have allowed many of our medical journals to become corrupted and timid. We have remained silent as the General Medical Council and other bodies charged with maintaining integrity have taken action against doctors for raising questions of integrity, while ignoring serious concerns brought to their attention. We have failed to support our colleagues who have raised concerns.

The soft parts that need biting may well be our own.”

BY: Dr Aubrey Blumsohn. Consultant, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, UK

http://www.bmj.com/cgi/eletters/333/7576/1027#149035

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Drug representatives are paid to be nice to us, as long as we cooperate, sustaining our market share of targeted drugs and limiting our continuing medical education lectures to messages that increase drug sales. This is an unspoken agreement, but no less clear for being covert.

The drug industry is happy to play the generous and genial uncle until physicians want to discuss subjects that are off limits, such as the benefits of diet or exercise, or the relationship between medicine and pharmaceutical companies. Any subject with the potential to reduce drug sales is anathema. Fair enough. He who pays the piper calls the tune.

BY: Adriane Fugh-Berman

http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/333/7576/1027?ijkey=g0spTSn4hbnro4G&keytype=ref

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