Readers of my blog are well aware of the dangers that arise when doctors and drug companies serve each other's interest and put profits ahead of patients. Here's another glaring example: World-renowned Harvard child psychiatrist Dr. Joseph Biederman , whose work has helped fuel an explosion in the use of powerful antipsychotic medicines in children, earned at least $1.6 million in consulting fees from drug makers from 2000 to 2007.
The full extent of the payments only came to light recently when a congressional committee forced him to confess.
Unfortunately the problem is that Dr. Biederman is one of the most influential researchers in child psychiatry.
His work has helped fuel a controversial and incredible 40-fold increase in the diagnosis of pediatric bipolar disorder and, as a happy and not very surprising consequence for his drug sponsors, an astronomic rise in the use of antipsychotic medicines in children.
Oddly many in the medical community are asking belatedly whether this drug money influenced his findings. Why wasn't the question asked before?
Sadly, Dr Biederman is not alone in this healthcare jungle which abounds with doctors with hidden agendas. He is probably only the tip of the iceberg. All you have to do is watch the morning shows on network TV. Notice the majority of the ads are for drugs. Then watch how all too often the medical experts on the show recommend a path that leads to drug treatments benefitting the sponsors. And shockingly alternatives are nowhere to be found. Conflict or just oversight? You be the judge.
After 30+ years of taking care of patients I finally understand that doctors come in two categories:
- Those who are honest and true to their Hippocratic Oath and are dedicated to serving only their patients.
- Those who work for a different master - the drug companies, the health insurers, the fear of malpractice, anything but your best interest.
Run away from the second group. If you stay, they will harm you. If you stop going to them, being intimidated by their bullying and fear mongering, eventually they will disappear and along with their extinction, we will all benefit from a new health care system that will emerge.
You can identify the doctors who don't work to serve you very easily. When you bring information to them that does not mesh with their masters' marketing message, they will push back. They don't listen or respect your opinion and they always are very sure of themselves and the information they dispense. They are not open to your questions and they do not acknowledge you as a person. Enough said.
Doctors in the first category, those who are the doctors who care and are in practice to serve you listen to you, respect your opinion, are open to information you bring to them and are always willing to learn. And finally but very importantly when they don't know something they will tell you so. They aren't all knowing. They are humble and caring. Stay with that doctor and I bet your outcome will always be better than you expected.