A new study performed by a sociologist named Donald Light has found strong evidence that the pharmaceutical industry is a “market for lemons” where the sellers are much more informed than the end customers. They profit from selling products (drugs) that are less effective and more harmful than patients are led to believe. This startling study is going to be presented at the 105th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association.The study is titled Pharmaceuticals: A Two-Tier Market for Producing ‘Lemons’ and Serious Harm.
The fact is that pharmaceutical companies often conceal and/or downplay the serious side effects of their drugs and exaggerate their benefits.
Dr. Light is a professor of comparative health policy at the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey. In addition to this, these companies spend anywhere from two to three times more funds on the marketing of these drugs than they do on the research so that they can get physicians to prescribe these drugs, and so that patients will actually request these drugs from their physicians.
It gets even worse when you consider that these same pharmaceutical corporations are actually in charge of the testing of their own new drugs. This gives them the opportunity to conceal information that may indicate that their drugs are not as safe or efficacious as they claim. The shocker is that independent reviewers found that approximately 85% of new drugs offer few, if any new benefits. But the toxic side effects or misuse of prescription drugs have been shown to be a major cause of death in the United States. This analysis was based on analysis from independent researchers, sources and studies that include the Canadian Patented Medicine Prices Review Board, Prescrire International and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The basis of the paper is the work that Dr. Light performed for his book, The Risk of Prescription Drugs, which is scheduled for release this fall by the Columbia University Press.
Light identifies a phenomenon he calls the Risk Proliferation Syndrome that he claims is increasing the number of patients who are given new drugs that have relatively low effectiveness and use, but yet have higher risks of causing harmful side effects. The pharmaceutical corporations then craft studies that are designed basically slant them so that the benefits appear to be high, and the side effects appear to be lower than they really are. They also are known to recruit leading researchers to try the drug for off-label or unapproved uses in order to expand their markets. Physicians often become proselytizers for these companies since they profit from the sale of the drugs, but are also supposed to be the fiduciaries of their patients’ health and safety. Many times, when patients complain of adverse side effects, studies show that physicians are likely to discount or dismiss them, according to Dr. Light.
This information is a huge ‘red flag’ for people, especially cancer patients, as well as all patients who are treated by the Medical Establishment and the medical industry. There are too many conflicts of interest and ancillary motivations at work for the average patient to be oblivious to these hidden realities of the medical profession. This is a strong signal to patients to caveat emptor (let the buyer beware). It is better to be aware, awake and informed than to blindly trust your health care professional.