It’s a very real sickness in medicine. It is doctors in the thrall of the drug industry. It creates what British cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra calls ‘an epidemic of misinformed doctors and misinformed patients’. It causes biased research funding – research funded for profit, not patients’ benefit, says Malhotra.
It leads to biased reporting in medical journals, commercial conflicts of interest and medical curricula that ‘fail to teach doctors how to understand and communicate health statistics’. This year, for the first time, the US Surgeon General has reprimanded doctors for promoting Big Pharma at patients’ expense.
At heart, it’s about doctors who flout the Hippocratic oath for a quick buck. Here, Canadian nephrologist Dr Jason Fung takes a scalpel to expose the scandal of ‘continuing medical education’. He eviscerates doctors who, by default or design, act as agents – pushers, really – for drug companies. He calls them ‘drug whores’. It’s a disturbing read. – Marika Sboros