Why Big Pharma Pays Your Doctor

The Truth Behind Your Prescription

If you or someone you know has been to the doctor recently for an illness or injury, it’s quite likely that you received a prescription from your doctor. Considering that doctors are pledged to aid their patients and are depicted as morally sound individuals who genuinely care for the betterment of their patients, you may not think twice about why your doctor is particularly prescribing that medication. Indeed, you may just believe that your doctor truly thinks that the prescription will help you.

It may not occur to you that your doctor is prescribing that specific medication because they were, essentially, bought to do so.

The Money Game

While not all doctors are interested in lining their pockets with as much money as they can, the harsh truth is that many are. While they certainly do wish for the improvement of their patients, if there is an added incentive to fill their pockets in the process, then they take it. Doctors aren’t alone in this either. Politicians, law enforcement, and other–should be–upstanding professionals can fall prey to this seemingly neat package.

However, doctors and physicians play a hefty role in the healthcare sector of the country. Not only do they directly affect your health, but they can offer their medical expertise to help influence certain bills in the political sector on behalf of certain pharmaceutical companies. Let’s break it down.

A pharmaceutical company has recently developed a new drug. This drug does seem to work to cure or alleviate certain symptoms or conditions of a particular illness or condition. However, it was not the first to the market and so there are other medications that do something similar. Perhaps they even do so at a cheaper price than what the pharmaceutical company wants for their medication.

As such, they need a way to push their medication and make money off of it. After all, they’ve spent a great deal of time, resources, and money into making that particular medication. The method they choose to take is to buy off certain doctors, physicians, medical experts, and others to push their medication before the others.

So, what ends up happening for you, as the patient, is that you come to your doctor seeking relief from pain or an illness or a condition, and they prescribe you the medication that comes from that pharmaceutical company. Where the problem rests is that there could be another medication that is cheaper for you to procure. Or perhaps one that even helps just a little bit more. However, because the doctor is receiving money from this particular pharmaceutical company to push their medication, that is the one that is prescribed to you.

You’re stuck with the–very likely–higher price of that medication. Where it really stings, however, is that, more often than not, you blindly believe that your doctor is prescribing the best prescription on the market to treat the problem you came to them with. That trust could potentially be violated–or is being violated.

The Facts

Before you write this off as another conspiracy theory, here’s a few facts to show just how much pharmaceutical companies are spending. Thanks largely in part to the Affordable Care Act, pharmaceutical companies are required now, by law, to reveal how much money they send to doctors. The numbers are worrisome.

In the most recent report, 607,000 doctors received money from pharmaceutical companies. The companies didn’t just seek to influence doctors either. They went right to the source and paid 1,121 teaching schools to push their particular medication or medications as well. This is quite the problem, especially in regards to teaching schools.

Because the school is designed to equip would-be doctors and nurses and other healthcare officials with the knowledge of how to treat their patients, their education at these facilities funded by the pharmaceutical companies is being influenced. Instead of being taught prevention methods, so that their patients don’t even have to develop certain illnesses or conditions, they are instead equipped with reactive methods. While these methods are important to learn, too, they are not given a broad scope of measures that can be taken when faced with a certain illness or condition.

Instead, they are lightly guided and conditioned to prescribe the medication that the big pharmaceutical company wants to be pushed at that given time. It is the students’ fault either. They likely don’t even realize that their education is being influenced because of a pay-off. It is when they take their degree, become doctors, and then further exacerbate the problem by accepting money from these companies to push their medications.

You may also think that 607,000 doctors don’t seem like that large of a number. However, it’s a large enough number to make an impact. As mentioned before, doctors oftentimes are called upon as medical experts when lawmakers are writing up new bills to better protect the healthcare sector. Considering that pharmaceutical companies tend to target those doctors who are considered medical experts, those individuals are then speaking to lawmakers and pushing the agenda of those companies.

As a result, lawmakers edit their bill based on this seemingly sound medical advice and that bill becomes a law that benefits the pharmaceutical company. It may benefit some patients as well, certainly, but at the heart of it is a big pharma company that is only growing in both influence, power, and money.

The Stark Future

Considering that those previously mentioned numbers were taken in 2014, you may hope that perhaps the close scrutiny of the pharmaceutical companies would have made them lay off the spending. It hasn’t. A study as recent as 2017 saw that 10 pharmaceutical companies paid out more than $75 million. One of those companies was Purdue Pharma who makes the popular opioid OxyContin. They, in particular, spent $1.9 million on health professionals. Consider the current opioid crisis.

There are obvious concerns in the healthcare sector. Don’t be a victim.