What does your doctor sell out for?
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How much influence could a free pen have over what medication your doctor prescribes for you? What about a cup of coffee? A couple of baseball tickets? A couple of baseball tickets from a 20-something woman wearing a short skirt and Rembrandt smile?
Think about it because the drug industry is. And they're convinced these gifts work otherwise they probably wouldn't have approximately four drug sales representatives for every doctor. Or spend twice as much on marketing as they do on research and development. Or have two drug lobbyists for every legislator in Washington.
None of this would be a problem if the drugs worked well, were safe and didn't cost much. But a new documentary from Kathleen Slattery-Moschkau called Money Talks: Profits Before Patient Safety shows that's far from the case.
After all, there's no need to heavily market a cheap drug with known benefits (e.g. Aspirin), and, I'm guessing a cure for cancer would sell itself.
Heather Gehlert is a managing editor at AlterNet.