The Los Angeles Times is putting together a nice record of articles exposing the practice of government physicians getting paid by the drug companies whose product safety they are supposed to oversee. Today’s front page story discusses the Merck consultant Dr. Thomas J. Walsh, who, as a member of the National Institute of Health, testified on behalf of the marketing of the drug Cancidas, an antifungal agent “for patients whose immune systems had been ravaged by chemotherapy and who were presumed to have a potentially deadly, invasive fungal infection. In its first five years on the U.S. market, Cancidas would generate $859 million in sales for Merck.”
The story shows the lack of objectivity of government physicians who are supposed to be in place to protect the consumer from the very thing of which they are guilty—greed. This blog has referenced prior pieces about the NIH’s allowance of physicians to be paid by drug companies while they work for the NIH, but today’s story gets into the nitty gritty of how much corruption is possibly going on, and how much possible pain is being caused.
It’s nothing new to those of us used to big pharma’s tactics and motives, but the depth of the Times’ expose may shed more light on what kind of shabby medicine we are really getting, and for a huge price.