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Doctors: Going the way of the Telephone Operator and the Milk Man

April 17th, 2008 | by Tom Harper |

How quaint. Remember those halcyon days when people got their medical advice and treatment from a D-O-C-T-O-R? These were people whose entire profession was devoted to the practice of medicine. They couldn’t even set up their own practice until they had a Ph.D.

Well, savor the memory. At the rate things are going, doctors will soon be joining the hula hoop and the stage coach in those nostalgic “remember when…” articles.

More and more articles in medical journals — and the “research” behind them — are being written by the pharmaceutical companies. Doctors and medical researchers are allowing their names to be used, but the actual writing is done by the drug companies. Doctors, regulators and publishers have all been taking bribes and other “gifts” from Big Pharm, and in return they’re rolling over for them.

This shouldn’t be surprising. It’s similar to the change that’s already taken place with politicians. Face it — our senators and congressional representatives are pretty much just secretaries now, taking dictation from the CEOs and lobbyists who are actually writing the laws. Or you could say they’re prostitutes, bending and gyrating according to their johns’ instructions.

(Er, didn’t mean to insult either secretaries or prostitutes by comparing them to politicians.)

And now doctors. So when your doctor gives you medical advice or a prescription, will this be based on medical research conducted by scientists? Or will it come from the latest market research by GlaxoSmithKline?

The word “doctor” is totally ingrained in our everyday vocabulary. Think of all the common phrases that will need to evolve in order to keep up with the times. “Ask your doctor about…” — those ubiquitous TV ads will have to change that to “ask your pharmaceutical consultant about…”

That warning label on your medication will read “if symptoms persist, see your Merck sales rep immediately.” Practicing medicine without a license — that won’t matter any more. But practicing medicine without an MBA, that’ll get you in some big big trouble.

This post was brought to you by MerckPfizerRocheBayerJohnson&Johnson. (Yes we’ve all merged; I thought you knew.)

  1. 2 Responses to “Doctors: Going the way of the Telephone Operator and the Milk Man”

  2. By mr bigstuff on Apr 18, 2008 | Reply

    there are more pharmaceutical reps in doctors offices now than patients. the pharmaceutical commercials don’t tell you to consult your doctor, but your health car provider. the commercials tell you what to tell your health care provider so he/she can respond with a trained reaction writing a prescription for whatever chemicals are being pumped out of the assembly line for symptoms you didn’t know you had or even cared about. only the fools too dumb to change the channel when a commercial comes on fall victim to these pushers. everytime the narrator goes through the long list of side effects which always include a 2% chance in very rare occasions: death, the alleged disease sounds much preferable to the side effects. have you seen the commercial for the drug that the narrator advises not to take if you have trouble standing or sitting for 30 minutes? wtf? if that’s the case, you’re damn near dead. don’t take that pill. don’t call the ambulance. call the fucking undertaker. medical schools don’t train doctors, the pharmaceutical reps do. only a fool dumb enough to vote for w twice would think we have anything close to an adequate health care system here in the good ole usa.

  3. By Guess who in the UK on Apr 20, 2008 | Reply

    Couldn’t let this go. Sorry Tom, no offence intended, but your post was rather naïve. Contrary to your (and popular) belief, the medical profession isn’t filled with philanthropic individuals dedicated to the practice of medicine. It never has been. And, if history is anything to go by, it probably never will be. Medicine is no different to any other ‘profession’ – the law, the media, politics…etc - it’s filled with people just out to make a buck in any way they can. Sadly, as with all other professional spheres it seems, for some of those who’ve reached positions of power, this means even if that way isn’t necessarily philanthropic, ethical or moral.

    I hate to burst your (or anyone else’s) bubble but, the collusion between the higher echelons of the medical profession and the pharmaceutical industry isn’t recent. These two, now virtually impenetrable, entities have been in cahoots for well over 150 years – shit, that’s how they both became established back in the mid/late19th century. Briefly: during that period the incipient, newly professionalized, medical industry was struggling to gain a foot hold in a society which, on the whole, was both unused to much scrutiny and unable to pay what it would cost to be scrutinised anyway. Likewise, the incipient infant formula industry – which was to become the behemoth we all know as the pharmaceutical industry today – was struggling to find a market for it’s (as it turned out for many, lethal) products which, again, ordinary people back then didn’t seem to want, need, nor have the cash for in any case.

    Undoubtedly fearing failure, someone eventually had a brainwave: why not join forces? So, that’s what they did and – despite their claims to the contrary - they’ve been verifying, distributing and authorising each others propaganda and wares ever since.

    The early realisation that woman were the key to gaining the trust and custom of the entire family was a key part of their efforts – a tactic which pays incalculable dividends to both parties to this day. Pretty soon, in return for state of the art technology for their expensive to equip practices and other perks, newly qualified medics began to commandeer women in their designated communities by undermining and mystifying something that had previously been passed down from generation to generation via grandmothers, sisters, aunts, and traditional midwives: breastfeeding. Along with wet nurses, those who’d previously offered women advice and guidance about it (and child related issues in general) were ousted and replaced with not only a (for them) far more lucrative alternative which, would undermine the health of both the women and children involved for generations to come (breastfeeding consistently demonstrates that it significantly reduces the risk of a wide number and range of diseases and conditions), but also with their own, medically trained and sanctioned lackeys. Despite almost immediate (and intermittent ever since), rapidly suppressed protests from real infant feeding experts, ever ‘improving’ formula concoctions from certain, now very well established and well known, companies were recommended/pushed by increasingly God-like Doctors - the labels of which still, to this day, carry the legend ‘ask your doctor for advice about infant feeding’ – in what has since become the longest ongoing, uncontrolled mass experiment in history, all under the guise of medical/commercial science, and at the expense of countless generations in the past and still to come.

    There is much more to say on this subject and there’s certainly much information in the public realm about it for anyone who cares to look. However, suffice to say that unified, both the medical profession and the formula/drug industry became very powerful entities as a result of their ongoing foray on infant feeding, with successive governments around the world subsequently unable – and, thanks to the usual interconnecting ties, increasingly unwilling - to control them. Consequently, the apparently still secret, and very lucrative - and, for the rest of us potentially and actually hazardous - collusion continues (Can you honestly, in your widest dreams, ever imagine an industry-sponsored event/study concluding anything that could prove catastrophic for that industry?)

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