I freely admit that I hate that I have to post this, but it’s because of what will surely come of the news. GlaxoSmithKlein, the gigantic drug company, are being fined three billion dollars (that’s $3,000,000,000, or approximately $2,999,999,992 more than I seem to take home each month) for being shitty. The article I link to on Science-Based Medicine goes into quite a bit of comment on the three separate charges that GSK were faced with, and I suggest you read it.
I don’t hate writing this because I love GSK or drug companies or drugs or BIG FARMA. I hate writing this because it becomes food for the foamy-mouthed gits out there. OMG A COMPANY WAS LIYING OBVENOUSLY BIG PHARMA IS ALL LIERS AN CHEETS WHO WAANT UR BABIE ADINCTED 2 DRUGZ.
Let me make sure that we’re on the same page here. This behavior is criminal and disgusting. Any corporation who engaged in it should be the subject of serious penalties and the like. However, I’m just as furious with GSK for this story as I am with all of the homeopaths, naturopaths, Reiki magicians, chiropractors, hand wavers, boot shavers, and all the rest of the ghouls who feed on the gullibility of people and directly imply medical benefits to their products without having either FDA approval to do so or reasonable grounds to stand on.
GSK, you screwed up. I have a funny feeling that three billion is going to be missed greatly. I’d say, “learn your lesson,” but corporations don’t really seem to do that. Unless you really mean “learn to lie more sneakily”.
But the argument does raise interesting arguments regarding the relationship between health care professionals and drug companies. Really, we know that there are benefits and detriments to the ways that drug companies interact with doctors (and vice versa). As Dr. Novella points out, this relationship is probably more beneficial than we give it credit, and it really is a matter not of forbidding it, but of finding ways to both enable it and cleanse it of corruption.
Anyway, read the article. If you want to post something in the comments and you’re midway through saying something about how Big Pharma is the enemy, maybe you should re-read it before you hit Save.