Saturday, 4 February 2012

The New Pharmaceutical Company Representatives: The Professor Peons

Can we trust Medical Professionals in the employ of Drug Companies to teach us about Drugs?

I just received something in the mail about one of the many new drugs to treat Diabetes, this one a long acting GLP 1 agonist that the patient can use once a week.
So a professor is presenting and enthusiastically endorses her drug, brushing aside the possibilities of Thyroid Cancer and Pancreatitis as side effect:
“I am really excited that we now have another drug and perhaps a drug that for some patients will make adherence easier. Because this is now just a once-a-week injection.” This is Dr A… P for MEDSCAPE.

As is my custom, now jaded by listening to professor peons of the pharma industry, I looked up whether or not she was in the employ of the manufacturer of the drug, sure enough.
Served as Director, officer, partner, employee, advisor, consultant or trustee for: Amylin Pharmaceuticals

The very same company that manufactures the drug she is enthusiastically endorses.
Is this ethical?
Or is this just the way of life in this postmodern world?
My title for them Professor-Peons is a good designation indeed!
The same day ADA EASD recommendations arrived in a slide form

You can expect a reduction in HgA1c of 0.5- 1.0 with GLP agonists…
To put every thing in context we need interventions that would bring down the A1C levels by 2 or 3 in most patients, that is certainly not going to come from medications, or education but what will become a global way of looking after patients with Diabetes: to pay attention to the person who is suffering, find out all the sources of his suffering, not just at his A1C level or Medication list: Psychological/Philosophical counselling, taking into consideration the cultural context. I can say this after working with American Indians in the USA, various native and non-native populations around the world.
Medications account for only 25 % of the treatment of patient with Type 2 DM
Treatment is too sterile a word; Healing would be a better word. So these professor peons can be entrusted with that 25 % and let others take care of the other 75 % and be given the credit they are due!

Which has come under increasing criticism for being a disguise for pharma advertising:
Allegations have been made that WebMD biases readers towards using drugs sold by their pharmaceutical sponsors in cases in which the drug is unnecessary.[12]
In February 2010, Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa investigated WebMD’s financial relationship with drug maker Eli Lilly.

I personally wouldn't read WebMD magazine nor will I direct my patients towards it and in our clinics, those magazines do not make appearances since we serve poor people and of no economic importance to these glossy magazines and drug representatives.