Hanover, NH — Researchers at The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice produced a damning report on the U.S. health care system, describing how evidence-based research has declined and how the pharmaceutical industry manufactures demand.
“The pharmaceutical industry has influenced medical research in its favor by selective reporting, targeted educational efforts, and incentivizing prescriber behavior that influences how medicine is practiced, the researchers say. The pharmaceutical industry has also spent billions of dollars in direct-to-consumer advertising and has created new disease labels, so-called disease-mongering, and by promoting the use of drugs to address spurious predictions.”
The degradation of health care is one of many ills brought about by corporatism. When big government and industry moguls come together, the truth and human rights suffer.
The authors note how “finance dictates the activity” instead of the rigorous scientific process that guides research in other fields. It has a direct negative effect on funding, on what gets published, and on communication about harms and benefits.
Drug trials that show positive results are quickly published and promoted, while trials that do not show beneficial effects remain unpublished. Industry-supported trials dominate the field, with an almost exclusive focus on health problems that expand market share.
“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 influence the value chain.”
The authors make several recommendations to address the corruption in the health care system, seeking to strengthen the integrity of research and increase transparency and access to information.
The problem of industry manufacturing consumer demand is perhaps the most difficult to address. The recommendation here is obvious: be skeptical of industry claims, and that goes for the media too. Unfortunately, we know that mainstream media is but a mouthpiece for the pharmaceutical industry, and they’re both owned by the same barons.