Profit vs. People - Healthcare and the Drug Industry

February 5, 2009 :: Tim Doty
Moderated by

Does your doctor treat you while "under the influence"? It may be truer than you think - not alcohol or drugs, but the influence of Big Pharma.

The Pharmaceutical Industry (aka Big Pharma) is one of the most profitable industries in modern history. Industry spokespeople are quick to say how profits are what inspires innovation, with much of their earnings used to reinvest in research, and the development of new life-saving medicines. Despite this noble, selfless claim, what is the reality?

This week''s speaker will outline evidence arguing that the reality is quite the opposite. He will explain how Big Pharma wields its mighty fortunes to shape the health care system to best suit its needs, influencing physicians to prescribe the latest, most expensive drugs. You will hear about strategies like the fabrication and funding of patient ''advocacy'' groups; an attempt to convince millions of health care ''consumers'' that they''re not as healthy as they think, and that the only real solution is with the pen and prescription pad. Hear how Big Pharma uses its hefty clout to lobby government for increased patent protection, weaker regulatory controls, and a system focused on ''disease'' care rather than health care.

Has Big Pharma''s influence gone too far? How does it affect prescribing behavior and the doctor-patient relationship? Should drug reps have access to doctors'' offices? How can the public help remove marketing bias from the care they receive?

Speaker: Dr. Tim Doty, MD CCFP

Dr. Tim Doty is a family physician practicing in Lethbridge and an advocate for a "patient vs. profits" point of view. He provides a fresh perspective on conflict of interest in family medicine and medical education. Dr. Doty has written papers on the influence of Big Pharma and gives workshops for rural preceptors on recognizing, reckoning with, and restructuring institutional marketing biases in their own practices, encouraging them to nurture a "healthy skepticism" in their student doctors.

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