On Thursday, October 4, controversial British psychiatrist David Healy spoke at the American Psychiatric Associations’ annual meeting about conflicts of interest between psychiatrists and the drug industry. This is a topic that is very close to our hearts at Kirkendall Dwyer, where our attorneys are committed to fighting.
Dr. Healy spoke about the dangerously close relationship between the drug companies and doctors and urged the doctors present to take the urgency of this problem seriously. While our media is saturated with advertisements for drugs across the board, the majority of drug industry marketing money is spent marketing directly to doctors. As Time Magazine writer Maia Szalavitz reports, in 2004 the drug companies spent $58 billion on marketing, and 87% of that was aimed at doctors.
Dr. Healy argues that the greatest harm doesn’t come from the relationships themselves, but the fact that the drug companies do not disclose all the data that doctors would need to make informed prescribing decisions. Ghostwriters are hired to spin the data, and often unfavorable data is kept out of the public realm altogether. Doctors often believe they are receiving valid and objective data on these powerful drugs, but they are not. It is the patients who suffer the consequences in the end.
The attorneys at Kirkendall Dwyer care about the ways the drug industry influences our health.