Drugmakers Pay an NPR Talk Show Host/Physician $1.3 Million for Lectures
“Neither thought getting money from drug companies could be an issue.” This quote from the New York Times article that broke the news has caused many to shake their heads in disbelief.
Sen. Charles Grassley uncovered ties between Frederick Goodwin, M.D., former director of the National Institute of Mental Health, and drug manufacturers. According to the New York Times, Dr. Goodwin’s weekly radio programs have often touched on subjects important to the commercial interests of the companies for which he consults. The guests on Dr. Goodwin’s program had affiliations with drugmakers. None of these affiliations were disclosed on the radio program.
NPR now states they would not have broadcast Dr. Goodwin’s program if they had been aware of Dr. Goodwin’s financial interests, and will remove his broadcast from their satellite service beginning next week. Dr. Goodwin’s program was underwritten by NIH and the National Science Foundation, again raising the issue of how vested interests can influence government institutions.
The New York Times article says that Sen. Grassley’s investigation “demonstrates how deeply pharmaceutical commercial interests reach into academic medicine, and it has shown that universities are all but incapable of policing these arrangements.”
As noted by such authors as John Abramson, M.D., in his book Overdosing America and Jerome Kassirer, M.D., in his book On the Take, pharmaceutical commercial interests have redefined illness by creating new normals for cholesterol, blood pressure, LDL, and blood sugar levels. Additionally, drugmaker interests have had a profound effect on the practice of medicine. The standard of care for treating hypercholesterolemia, for example, is defined on the basis of pharmaceutical commercial interests rather than objective science and clinical practice.
Sen. Grassley’s investigations speak to the lack of freedom of choice in the U.S. Vested interests skew medical school education, research, journal publication, practice guidelines, and FDA actions, as well as dominating consumer advertisement and education, all of which directly affects consumer health and safety. It is time to reform the FDA and support healthcare freedom for practitioners and consumers in the U.S. Sign the AAHF petition to reform the FDA and learn more about the critical steps AAHF takes on behalf of health freedom.