Monday, December 04, 2023

Thought leader [Source]

  • Opinion leaders are imbedded in the medico-industrial complex
  • They are a very small minority of physicians but they exert much influence by their prescriptions, their talks, their articles, their recommendations / guidelines

‘As a general rule, I refuse to take any advice from anyone, even an ‘opinion leader’, who has taken even one cent from a drug company. I await an analysis from a group with no connection to ‘industry’ before I change my recommendations for prevention of cardiovascular disease.”1148

“I do not applaud the behavior of the members of the medical profession who are ‘thought leaders’ with manifest conflicts of interest.”1149

In marketing-speak, opinion leaders are people with a reputation who are likely to influence the buying behaviour of others. In the field of medicinal products, opinion leaders are well-known or renowned doctors or other caregivers whose opinion is trusted by a large number of healthcare professionals, thus influencing their practice…

For a pharmaceutical company, opinion leaders' value is maximised when they attain an influential position, sitting on a committee of experts or editorial board, for example. The ultimate stage is when the opinion leader is promoted to an influential position within a university, or better still on a committee of experts for a drug regulatory agency.1150

“Among drug reps the unofficial name for thought leaders who work for multiple companies is drug whores.”1151

“Experts not only gain profit but satisfy a need for public recognition and obtain academic influence when lobbying for the use of unnecessary technology and the inappropriate use of necessary technology… frequently adopt double standards when they write in peer-reviewed journals and talk to physicians.”1152

“As an additional benefit to companies, academics come a lot cheaper than putting a sales force in the field.”1153

“Disingenuous professors are paid generous salaries by the taxpayer to ensure the health and wellbeing of the general public. They should not allow themselves, for whatever reason, to be used as pawns by unscrupulous drug companies.“1154

Many academics lend their prestige and credibility of overtly-political, monopolistic Big Pharma firms, even though the overpromotion of dubious copycat drugs helps to sustain huge overcharges for medicines… As they move up the ranks some salaried academic and government physicians find it pleasant or professionaly useful to engage in subsidized medical party ing and politics at every major professional meeting, rather than providing care for patients back at home.1155

“Research sponsored by drug companies (or any other vested interest) has been shown repeatedly to exaggerate the benefits and obscure the problems associated with product use. There is an endemic conflict that goes on everywhere in the public spaces in our society, between those on the one hand trying to sell things, but trying to make if look as if they are simply gung-ho and public spirited, and those on the other who are actually public spirited but end up sounding like naysayers when they counter the carefully crafted ‘enthusiasm’ of the salesperson.“1156

“A new France’s public health code, passed in March 2007, requires health professionals when making public statements to declare ties to the manufacturers or marketers of a relevant product,”1157 but the code is not being applied ...

“I no longer believe it to be possible for educational courses paid for by drug companies to be free of corporate bias. But the practice of recruiting and paying doctors to give company-sponsored talks is alive and well … Blood-pressure pills, diabetes meds and cholesterol-lowering drugs are just some of the remedies for which doctors are recruited to influence their colleagues,"1158 writes a repentant opinion leader.

Money-Warped Behavior; and Key Opinion Leader

At the prestigious Cleveland Clinic, the chairman of cardiovascular medicine, Steven E. Nissen, calls industry-paid speakers ‘whores.’1799

“Some physicians become known as whores. Whore is a strong descriptor but I heard it repeatedly from colleagues about physicians who tour the country for drug companies. Still I held back using the ‘W’ word until the wife of a prominent academic physician in a major medical center used it to describe her husband,“1800 writes an academic physician who was Editor-in-Chief of the New England Journal of Medicine for 8 years.

1148 Colin Rose. Communication

1149 Nortin Hadler. Worried Sick, p 128


1151 Kate Howard, cited in Overtreated, Shannon Brownlee, page 221

1152 Juan Gérvas. J Epidemiol Community Health 2009; 63(10): 773

1153 David Healy. Mania, Baltimore, Johns Hopkins, 2008, p 206

1154 L. Thomas. Lancet 2009; 373 :810

1155 Arndt von Hippel

1156 Warren Bell, Communication

1157 Jeanne Lenzer. BMJ 2009; 338:1408 –Interview with Philippe Foucras

1158 Brian Goldman.

1799 Martha Rosenbrg 2014,

1800 Jerome P Kassirer. On the Take. New York: Oxford; 2005, page 25

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COVID-19 Transmission

Transmission of COVID-19 occurs mostly through news broadcasting. The virus settles between the ears and affects rational thinking. Symptoms may include hypervigilant cleansing, distrust of friends and neighbors, and an overwhelming urge to give up basic human rights in exchange for the perception of safety. Individual with larger vacuums between the ears are at higher risk. - Dr Vernon Coleman

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