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How would you compare the ethics of alt med purveyors to conventional pharma companies, generally?
Alt med are much worse 10
Alt med are slightly worse 2
Alt med and conventional pharma are about equal 2
Conventional pharma are slightly worse 1
Conventional pharma are much worse 2
Total Votes: 17
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Ethics: Pharma vs. Alt Med
Posted: 09 August 2009 02:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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Tough question, since it implies an insight into the intent of entire industries composed of thousands of people, which I don’t think it is possible to have. The discussion so far illustrates how easily issues of ethics and motives get mixed up with issues of epistemology. FWIW, I don’t think individual people, on average, are any more of less ethical in the pharmaceutical industry or scientific medicine or homeopathy or whatever. There is a mix of individuals with good intentions and bad intentions in all these industries. The sins in one camp don’t mitigate or cancel out the sins in the other, and neither has anything to do with the epistemelogical question of what actually works and what doesn’t.

Now, I have made abundantly clear in the thread this spun off of, and elsewhere, that I think scientific medicine, including most of what comes out of the mainstream pharmaceutical business as supervised by FDA, is a lot more likely to be of benefit than CAM. And while we have unrealistic expectations in the US about risk, so we react irrationally when drugs turn out to have unanticipated side effects in small numbers of people or in circumstances not forseen during pre-market testing, I think we know a lot more about the risks of pharma products than the untested, unregulated stuff circulating in the CAM world.

CAM purveyors often try take marketing advantagge of the idea that mainstream medicine is corrupt to portray themselves as somehow ethically purer, this is BS (as I’ve discussed in the David and Goliath Myth.) CAM is just as interested in making money as anybody, and in fact the pharmaceutical companies would love to tap into that evenue source. But this doesn’t negate the fact that at least somebody is watching what they do when they make prescritpion products, and nobody is watching when they or the pure ALT MED folks sell their herbs, vitamines, acupuncture, chiropractic, and so on. Granted, FDA doesn’t have the authority or manpower to do the job as well as they ought, but that’s mostly a result of Republican anti-governmentism over the last 30 years and the lobbying power of industry, both CAM and mainstream pharmaceutical. Many of us fighting nonsense in medicine may get a little testy when the evils of Big Pharma are trotted out. We acknowledge they exist and need to be remedied, and in fact many of us who fight unproven therapies are also critical of this industry. But the bogeyman of Big Pharma is so often used as a tool to distract from the lack of evidence of CAM or to claim a totally illusory moral superiority on the part of CAM that it’s hard not to be annoyed at having to once again try and explain why it has little to do with the very real differences between scientific and alternative medicine.

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Posted: 09 August 2009 03:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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New York Times

Trial Puts Spotlight on Merck
By NATASHA SINGER
Published: May 13, 2009
Australians have been riveted over the last month by a class-action lawsuit that is pulling back the curtain on strategies that the American drug giant Merck used in its international marketing of the painkiller Vioxx.

The revelations in court testimony and defense evidence include accusations that Merck’s Australian affiliate circulated a marketing publication in the guise of an independent medical journal for doctors and countered safety concerns by giving its sales representatives a training manual called the “Vioxx Objection Handling Module.”

Australian newspapers have been covering the court proceedings in daily installments like a soap opera — with headlines like “Drug Representatives for Merck & Co. Given ‘Cheatsheets’ ” and cliffhangers like “the trial continues.”

Merck removed the drug from the global market over safety concerns in 2004. Compared with the $4.85 billion Merck agreed to pay in the United States two years ago to settle with nearly 50,000 people who claimed cardiovascular injuries from Vioxx, legal experts say, the company’s potential liability in Australia is a pittance.

This must be exactly what Chicken was referring to when she wrote about her experiences as a Pharma Rep. Interesting.
I feel for ya Chicken. That must have been a tough job.

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Posted: 10 August 2009 06:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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VYAZMA - 09 August 2009 03:15 PM

This must be exactly what Chicken was referring to when she wrote about her experiences as a Pharma Rep. Interesting.
I feel for ya Chicken. That must have been a tough job.

Thanks, Vyz.  It sucks when you know that you are perpetuating a lie, but you need money to live.  I got out of it though.  Still a little sticky from my ethical slide.  sick  Especially since my job right before was Sierra Club!

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Posted: 10 August 2009 10:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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George - 09 August 2009 08:41 AM

As far as I can tell things only work when you can make a profit. I grew up in a country which used to make eighteen cars before the communists took over. By the time communism collapsed they made only two.

I agree things only work if you can make a profit.

But I don’t think making a profit should be the immediate goal. The immediate goal for any business should be providing something which meets peoples needs. Putting making a profit first, throws this out the window .

So I think that if we want companies to make a profit and provide us with genuine solutions to our problems, then we need to create a framework in which providing genuine solutions is profitable.

Stephen

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Posted: 10 August 2009 05:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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Chicken - 10 August 2009 06:00 AM
VYAZMA - 09 August 2009 03:15 PM

This must be exactly what Chicken was referring to when she wrote about her experiences as a Pharma Rep. Interesting.
I feel for ya Chicken. That must have been a tough job.

Thanks, Vyz.  It sucks when you know that you are perpetuating a lie, but you need money to live.  I got out of it though.  Still a little sticky from my ethical slide.  sick  Especially since my job right before was Sierra Club!

I’m guessing that Pharma paid alot more than the Sierra Club. Of course this makes perfect sense in this world… LOL

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