Shining a light on the subtle industry courting of nurses
Media reports abound on the corrupting influence of the pharmaceutical industry on healthcare practice. A voluminous academic literature also addresses industry’s grip on healthcare, with numerous articles in leading medical journals, and books with revealing titles such as Deadly medicine and organized crime: How Big Pharma has corrupted health care, On the take: How medicine’s complicity with big business can endanger your health, The truth behind the drug companies: How they deceive us and what to do about it; and most recently a Canadian version, Doctors in denial, Why Big Pharma and the Canadian medical profession are too close for comfort. Most of these focus on how industry money influences physicians and medical researchers. The reasons for the concerns are clear here: physicians prescribe drugs and are the intermediaries between industry and patients consuming their products. Academic physicians are often taking the lead in clinical trials, provide credibility to academic publications, and function as key opinion leaders and consultants to pharmaceutical industry. They are most directly involved in shaping clinical practice, including through their involvement with clinical practice guidelines. It is therefore not surprising that policy initiatives, such as Sunshine Acts introduced in several states and at the federal level in the USA to promote transparency of industry payments, target the relations between the pharmaceutical industry and physicians.
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