So pharma isn t the evil empire after all?

I just read a review of Marcia Angell s book, The Truth about the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What to Do about It in Health Affairs that suggests perhaps Angell is a little harsh on pharma, particularly the R&D economics.

Unfortunately, the reviewer finds "most enlightening" Angell s excoriation of the pharma/CME connection. A snip:

    I was surprised to learn that more than 60 percent of the costs of continuing medical education (CME) for physicians is paid for by pharmaceutical companies. This and other types of support for physicians come from companies marketing budgets. Whether or not educational activities cost the industry almost $35 billion a year, as Angell contends, the chapter has enough anecdotes about company-funded medical "education" to make a patient feel sick.

She also seems to like the idea of more government regulation of CME something that Angell doesn t call for, though she asks CME providers to do more self-policing, which is what I think is a better solution. The review ends with this nice little blood-boiler: "The medical profession has attempted to reform its own policies regarding financial conflicts of interest in CME, but the changes are modest. Surely Angell could have pointed government regulatory guns at her own profession as directly as she did at the drug industry. It takes two sides to seal a bribe."

And here s another review of this book, plus a couple of other similar ones.

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