OUR DAILY MEDS
By Melody Petersen
The book is OUR DAILY MEDS: HOW THE PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES TRANSFORMED THEMSELVES INTO SLICK MARKETING MACHINES AND HOOKED THE NATION ON PRESCRIPTION DRUGS.
It is written by Melody Petersen who:
- Was a Drug Investigative Reporter for the New York Times for four years
- Won the highest journalistic award for her work (The Gerald Loeb Award)
- Spent the last four years doing her own investigations outside of the New York Times
Here are some highlights of the book:
- Until 25 years ago drug advertising on TV was non-existent
- Only the US and New Zealand allow drug companies to advertise directly to the public
- American’s spend more money on drugs than Japan, Germany, Great Britain, France, Italy, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Mexico and Brazil COMBINED!!
- 100,000 people die every year by taking medications EXACTLY as was prescribed by their Doctors!
- Selling Drugs has taken priority over discovering them
- Marketing is what drives the Industry
- In many cases, Petersen writes, it is the marketers and not the scientists who decide which drugs are right for the new you.
- Whether a medicine helps or harms a patient has become secondary to shareholder’s profits. The relentless marketing has enriched corporate executives and sent stock prices soaring.
- The group PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a creation of a public relations firm working for Pfizer to sell more Zoloft. Its offices were the same address of the public relations firm. The group PMDD (Pre-Menstrual Distress Disorder) is another creation of Pfizer as a way to sell Zoloft to females who experience menstrual discomfort.
- Prozac once an anti-depressant, was re-packaged and re-purposed as SARAFEM another drug to treat PMDD
- Congress, too, is in the grip of the industry. Petersen reports that in a recent six-year period Big Pharma spent more on lobbying than any other industry and now employs two lobbyists for every member of Congress. With doctors and congress compromised, what about that other gatekeeper, the Federal Drug Administration?
- Actually, the drug industry pays the FDA too. There was a change in the law in 1992. Before 1992, the FDA had one customer and that was us, the public. But, in ’92, the drug companies started to pay fees to get their drugs reviewed and approved. And so, the FDA has another customer now, the drug companies. And talking to scientists inside the FDA, you learn that there’s an awful lot of pressure for the FDA to do what the industry wants them to do.
- A very powerful technique that the drug companies spend millions and millions of dollars on is hiring physicians to give lectures to other physicians on their drugs. So, it looks like this physician is up there giving his independent opinion on this drug. But, he often, he’s been trained by an advertising agency. His slide presentation has been created by an ad agency. It looks like independent science, but it’s not.
- Another technique used by Big-Pharma is benignly called “publications planning”. And what this is they want to get as many articles published in our medical journals as they can that show their products in favorable lights, and will get physicians to prescribe them. So, they often hire a Madison Avenue ad agency to write up an article for them or a study and the name of the ad agency rarely appears in the published version. Instead, they hire doctors to put their names on as author.
- A seething review of this book called “Hard Pill to Swallow” appeared in THE NEW YORK POST and was written by Robert Goldberg. It says nothing about who Robert Goldberg is. But when you do a little investigation he turns out to be vice president of a group that receives funding from the drug industry. But, he does not disclose this fact in this review in THE NEW YORK POST.
**The system is so out of whack the way it is today, you really have to be careful.
- Don’t take any drug without understanding the risks that it could have.
- Find the doctor who has thrown the sales reps out of his office, who has said ‘I’m going to do what’s right for my patients’.
There are a growing number of doctors who feel that way and think the thing that could do the most good is to have a law that bans doctors from taking money from drug companies.
We need our doctors to be our independent advocates again.
“UNLESS WE PUT MEDICAL FREEDOM INTO THE CONSTITUTION, THE TIME WILL COME WHEN MEDICINE WILL ORGANIZE INTO AN UNDERCOVER DICTATORSHIP.
TO RESTRICT THE ART OF HEALING TO ONE CLASS OF MEN, AND DENY EQUAL PRIVILEGE TO OTHERS, WILL CONSTITUTE THE BASTILLE OF MEDICAL SCIENCE.
ALL SUCH LAWS ARE UN-AMERICAN AND DESPOTIC”
DR. BENJAMIN RUSH, PATRIOT, WAR HERO, AND ONE OF THE SIGNERS OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE (1789)
The above “right” was intended to be included in our Constitutional Bill of Rights but was defeated by just one vote!!