Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Smells Like Bullshit, Episode 33,456,897



We're laboring over here -- laboring to get Sophie off the drugs that she was put on over eight years ago, numbers 21 and 22. I'm not going to tell you about it -- I have about ten times that many posts on this blog that recount the trials and travails. I rolled my eyes today when I read an article about presidential aspirants' medical marijuana platforms. With the exception of one Republican (Rand Paul, who's one weird mother in all other respects and therefore not someone I would even remotely consider voting for) and nearly all Democrats (whose "scores" vary from Hillary's C to Bernie's A), the statements were identical in their ignorance. I'm not going to talk about that, either, because immediately after reading Chris Christie's platform, I downed all the bottles of Sophie's cannabis oil, shot myself up with a few syringes of rectal valium, popped a couple of Onfi and ran my fingers over the Vimpat dust in the pill cutter we're using to divide the thing so that we can wean her off of it. I rubbed that on my gums.

I'm feeling fine.

A friend of mine told me about a ProPublica site called Dollars for Docs. Have ya'll heard about this? Basically, the amount of money a doctor gets from a pharmaceutical or medical device company for peddling their wares is public information, so you can type in any doctor's name and see just what he's being paid to do, along with treating you or, in my case, your child. Sophie's doctor was paid a little over $300 in 2014 by a drug company, but the head of the UCLA Pediatric Neurology Department, a doctor who is quite cordial, whom I've interacted with for nearly twenty years and who is superficially supportive of cannabis oil for the treatment of epilepsy (and I say superficially because there are plenty of neurologists in his department who are openly resistant if not downright condescending about it which leads me to believe his leadership behind closed doors is -- well -- different) received $100, 771 in 182 payments from August of 2013 to December of 2014.

Guess what pharmaceutical company gave him the most money as "honoraria?" For "travel and lodging?" For "speaking" and "education?"

Lundbeck.

$38,781

Guess what drug Lundbeck makes?

Onfi.

Dr. Sankar also received handsome amounts for peddling the vagal nerve stimulator and several other drugs, including Vimpat.

You can't make this crap up.

I don't think I need to state that this has got to stop -- that pharmaceutical companies should not pay doctors ANYTHING to promote their drugs or devices. And if this is impossible, doctors should be required to wear uniforms plastered with all the pharmaceutical and medical device companies that sponsor them -- a sort of NASCAR-style lab coat and scrubs. That way, when we bring our babies to them, we can just scan their bodies and know with whom we're really dealing.

I'm not sure why we, as patients or caregivers, can possibly trust these doctors to act in our best interests or in our children's best interests when these physicians are being paid large sums of money to peddle and promote drugs, medical devices or surgery.

Is this out of line to post on my blog? Will I be lobotomized, perhaps, for expressing my disgust and frustration? That was, in fact, a neurological procedure performed as late as the mid-1950s on those deemed mentally ill and ironically was discontinued when pharmaceutical companies stepped in.

Pardon me while I peel my child off the floor where she's seizing as she withdraws from Onfi and Vimpat and then go work my ass off to obtain and then pay for the cannabis oil that has actually helped her, even as politicians make asinine comments about marijuana and physicians call for "more research" and Children's Services if we step out of line and start giving the oil ourselves.

This is not the time to tell me that some drugs are great. I know that. Nor is it the time to stand up for good doctors. I know they are out there. I also don't pretend to imagine that my rant will make one bit of difference (even as I type, I can hear the fascistic drone of Donald Trump's voice on the television in the living room, the king of capitalism himself -- taken seriously).

What I do know is that I will trust no one in the medical community to know and do what's best for me or my children if they're on the dole from pharmaceutical or medical device companies.

Now I'm going to lie down on the bed in a stupor and contemplate the universe.

32 comments:

  1. AMEN!!!! Love the idea of a NASCAR style Lab coat!! Brilliant! I cannot tell you how much this pisses me off! And if I weren't so tired from taking care of my own child with seizures, I would sit down and look up every doctor we visit!!! ...but there is also tomorrow for that..*ugh* ---Meg Coldwells

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe we should demand that WE are reimbursed for all the money we've spent on these drugs.

      Delete
  2. Damn, This is so bad. Thank you for the information esp re: the public info site. I have a friend who works for Glaxo Smith Klein (or whatever that big pharma co is, if that's not exactly right). She used to regale me with stories of how she needed to shmooze with Drs, and yes, buy them lunch/ dinner, etc. so that they would be "educated" about their drugs (read: sell them). But after massive litigation about 3-5 years ago, they have changed their operations entirely in that respect, and now she is not allowed to buy anything for *her* doctors, nor is her compensation dependent on the amount that she sells. I think it's a British company? But her impression as a company insider for at least the last 7 years (where she has risen steadily) is that they are really changing things and trying to "do right" (whether forced my litigation or morals). Maybe a tiny bit of good news? That this process may be changing. But it will take more awareness, more lawsuits, more public reaction. So thanks for doing your part in that. And, I'm so sorry for all you and your family (esp. Sophie!) have endured. Goddess bless you all....xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It IS bad, but not unexpected. Thanks for your comment, Lyonmom!

      Delete
  3. I want to look this up for myself. I like the NASCAR-style lab coat and pants. Not hard to find out that way! It's an atrocity.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Good or otherwise, they all get paid for what they push. I recently heard of a local doctor who's been warned, or maybe threatened is a better word, that his licence is in danger if he keeps discussing his concerns about vaccines with his patients. So all he can do is tell them he doesn't vaccinate his kids...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes. The vaccination thing is explosive.

      Delete
  5. Now that's a RANT!!! Thank you kindly m'am.

    ReplyDelete
  6. This is absolutely appalling and I had NO IDEA. I thought the docs were given free samples only--bad enough--

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know. I knew about it, but it was so weird to put in my daughter's doctors and come up with those numbers -- particularly given the treatment we've received about medical marijuana.

      Delete
  7. Bravo, Elizabeth. You nailed it. Unfortunately, this problem is not just that doctors are being paid by big pharma to push drugs onto their patients. Why do you think that the federal government hasn't legalized medical marijuana or even rescheduled cannabis from a Schedule I (no accepted medical use; same classification as heroin and methamphetamine) to a Schedule II substance (which would allow researchers far easier access to marijuana to run clinically sound medical research on the efficacy of cannabis on epilepsy, autism, etc)?

    Big pharma spends 100's of millions of dollars per year in lobbying the federal government. Do you think they'll give up without a fight their monopoly on the production and distribution of anti-epileptic drugs? Drugs (which for the most part are nearly useless with horrific side effects) that earn these companies billions of dollars per year. Capitalism at its worst with our children its victims.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree -- have had the exact same thoughts. They just didn't make it into this particular rant! Thanks for your support and for commenting, Anonymous!

      Delete
  8. I think the NY'er has published stories about this but I did not know about the website.
    Speaking of the NY'er- this should be in it. This post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And I'm afraid it will change nothing except that we might all be more leery of doctors' recommendations and advice given the constant potential for conflicts of interest.

      Delete
  9. OH but did you know the pharamcuetical reps can no longer bring lunch or leave swag for the doctors? SO $100K is totally OK but leave a donut and it's considered bribery???

    ReplyDelete
  10. Beautiful. Understood and agreed. You are insanely good at writing. So great to meet you at Tomales Bay.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, I'm probably insane, certainly, but I do appreciate the compliment! And thanks for visiting. Yes, Tomales Bay. Seems like a dream.

      Delete
  11. Replies
    1. You are welcome Farmer Seth. I love your "handle," too!

      Delete
  12. That's mindblowing!
    Are there any doctor's who aren't on the dole?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So far, our pediatrician is NOT on the dole. So, yes.

      Delete
  13. this is so disturbing. why is this legal?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Of course I agree with everything you've said. I am impressed that web site is out there. I wonder where the information comes from. I guess the doctors or the pharma companies must be required to publicly report these payments somehow?This really illustrates the beauty of the Internet -- because even if this information had been available in the pre-Internet days, how would the public ever have gotten it? We probably would have had to write away to some government agency and request written reports and it would have taken AGES.

    But -- yes. Appalling. The American medical system is poisoned by profit.

    ReplyDelete
  15. It doesn't just smell like Bullshit...

    All government organizations are corrupt. ALL OF THEM. And they allow this kind of thing to happen. And I am fairly sure that when cannabis is legalized? The organizations that are behind that? They will find some way to fuck that up too. It is a polluted mess of an organized body, and I know it is a downer to say it, but it isn't fixable. It will have to crumble somehow and be rebuilt. How I don't know, but it has suffered to much damage.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Holy shit! How is that even legal? Didn't I choose the wrong line of employment.

    ReplyDelete

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...