In this interview, Paul Thacker, investigator for Project on Government Oversight (POGO), discusses conflict of interest between physicians, academia and the pharmaceutical industry.
The pharmaceutical industry puts billions of dollars every year into ensuring that their products are used, all the way from ensuring that if someone has a problem, that they’re treated with their product or to ensure even sometimes that products are used when they’re not really needed to be used. These are very sophisticated marketing campaigns where money is shoved through a variety of channels to create influence. — Mr. Paul Thacker
Topics discussed are:
- The different clinical trials and their functions
- How phase 4 trials are designed primarily as marketing events
- Why FDA approval of drugs does not guarantee their safety
- Pharmaceutical industry influence on integrity in medical reporting
- How doctors decide which medicines to prescribe
- Why doctors are the best sales representatives for pharmaceutical companies
- How doctors increase their publications and status through unethical ghost writing
Total time: 19 minutes.
Paul Thacker is an investigator for POGO (Project on Government Oversight) after working for three years as an investigator on the Senate Finance Committee for Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa. Mr. Thacker’s investigation into Avandia pressured the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to place patient safety before drug industry profits. In 2007, Mr. Thacker helped initiate an ongoing probe of the financial ties between industry and physicians who receive research grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The investigations were critical in helping to pass Senator Grassley’s Physicians Payments Sunshine Act, which recently became law. Prior to working on the Hill, Mr. Thacker spent several years as a journalist writing about science, medicine, and the environment. His work was profiled in the first season of the award-winning PBS series “Exposé: America’s Investigative Reports.”