Our doctors are working for used car salesmen. Oh, they’re smart used car salesmen that use silver dollar words like myocardial infarction and gastroesophageal reflux. But they’re still used car salesmen.
Their game is simple; sell more junk. A study published in PlosOne reveals how they’re doing it.
Between 2000 and 2013, 10 of 16 publications from medical guideline panels proposed widening disease definitions. And 12 of the 14 panel chairs had financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry—an outstanding 86% capture rate for pharma.
The study discussion reads:
In this cross-sectional analysis of panels making recent decisions on definitions of common conditions in the US context, we found most panels proposed widening definitions and most had a majority of members with multiple ties to pharmaceutical companies. Proposals to widen fell into three inter-related categories: creating new categories of “pre-disease”; lowering diagnostic thresholds; and proposing earlier diagnosis or different diagnostic methods
Ah, the wide new world of profit-doubling “pre-disease”. Pre-dementia, pre-asthma, pre-ADHD, pre-depression, pre-diabetes, and let’s not forget pre-hypercholesterolemia. Basically, we’ve all been sick since a long time ago and we just never knew it until today’s pharma-connected experts captured our medical guideline panels. Golly-gee and gee-whiz, thanks for caring about my family’s health, distinguished captured guideline panels. I’ll be sure and pre-trust you about my two-year-old needing pre-GERD medication.
Sadly, our doctors are barnacles fixed to the doughy love-handles of these used car salesmen. Presumably for two reasons. Some doctors have parroted their way to success and have no idea how to think on their own. The rest know it’s wrong but must get in line to protect their careers.
Regulatory capture of our medical guideline panels might be the single biggest change between our parents’ healthcare and ours. In the old days, the people at the steering wheel were navigational experts. Now, they’re hired hands, paid to shipwreck us on the island of pharma as they shake hands, wink, and call it science.
One of the biggest gaps I’m seeing is that older generations still think that medical guideline panels are honest. Probably because they used to be for the most part. But now, the panels are almost all financial derivatives of pharma, and the few remaining independents will be strategically swapped out for pharma proxies over the next decade.
Pharma, set on expanding the already over-treated status quo, can easily take advantage of trusting older generations to shatter any political reform that would improve our healthcare, such as independence requirements for medical studies and guideline panels.
So, update your mental imagery. It’s not just slick-haired lobbyists in Washington who are throwing logs on our hyper-priced healthcare bonfire. It’s the decorated, pharma-purchased doctors who have captured our medical journals and guideline panels. They’re at the top of the pyramid and have full-control over the norms of the doctor who’s over-treating your family.
Source reference: Moynihan RN, et al “Expanding disease definitions in guidelines and expert panel ties to industry: A cross-sectional study of common conditions in the United States” PLoS Med 2013; DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001500.