DRUG LOBBYIST
How Drug Lobbyists Influence Doctors

Lobbyists influence how the government spends your money, but financially conflicted physicians can threaten your well-being!

An OpEd piece in The Boston Globe by Dr. Jerome Kassirer, distinguished Professor at Tufts, a former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, and author of “On the Take: How Medicine’s Complicity With Big Business Can Endanger Your Health,” should make taxpayers and Congress stop and consider:

“While lobbying groups spend about $2 billion to convince politicians to do their bidding, pharmaceutical companies spend nearly 10 times that much to influence the nation’s 600,000 to 700,000 physicians to prescribe the newest and most expensive drugs.

I imagine that many people who regularly watch television assume that the companies are spending most of their advertising budget to influence consumers, but no: I imagine that many people who regularly watch television assume that the companies are spending most of their advertising budget to influence consumers, but no:

Nearly 85-90 percent is spent on doctors, for free drug samples, speaker’s fees, consultation fees, and “‘educational’ grants.”

So, while much is being written about Big Pharma’s lobbying influence on legislators and direct to consumer advertising, the amounts spent on those ads pales when compared to the amount spent by Big Pharma – close to $20 billion – on influencing those who are licensed to write prescriptions.

As Dr. Kassirer rightly notes, “Lobbyists influence how the government spends your money, but financially conflicted physicians can threaten your well-being.”

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