Big Pharma has corrupted your healthcare

Medical researchers at Dartmouth have issued a dire warning about your doctor and the drugs he dishes out: They’re part of a system designed for profit not for improving your health.

Researchers at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice have issued a report that puts the spotlight on significant ways that international pharmaceutical corporations have bought off doctors and slanted research to favor their bottom lines. The researchers say that the entire health care system, as a result, has been distorted by “obvious corruption.”

As the scientists note, when it comes to research: “finance dictates the activity.” In other words money talks and studies on how drugs work are designed to prove their effectiveness even if the pharmaceuticals are basically worthless.

“We do not know when healthcare decisions are guided by sound interpretations of the evidence and whether patients are engaged in the process,” write researchers Glyn Elwyn and Elliott Fisher. “Rather we observe that in the United States, one of the most highly developed healthcare systems, consumer demand for healthcare is manufactured and manipulated, driving up cost, waste and harm.”

According to the report the main areas of concern include:

  • Researchers are biased when they investigate pharmaceuticals because their studies depend on drug company financing. That funding dries up if they get negative results.
  • The studies done on new drugs are poorly designed and don’t show whether the drugs being tested are any better than older drugs that are cheaper and already being used.
  • Drug companies manufacture demand for their products with consumer advertising. In many cases the ads push drug use that is unnecessary and which can cause dangerous side effects.

“Solutions to these problems are visible but will be difficult to introduce unless there is a much wider recognition that healthcare has become less about well-founded, trusted relationships between healthcare professionals and patients,” Elwyn and Fisher say. “Rather it looks more like a profit-driven service industry, where commercial interests have influenced the value chain.”


Carl Lowe

By Carl Lowe

has written about health, fitness and nutrition for a wide range of publications including Prevention Magazine, Self Magazine and Time-Life Books. The author of more than a dozen books, he has been gluten-free since 2007.