Free me from Pharm Free

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Today is Pharm Free Day, a day where the shackles of the pharmaceutical companies–chaining physicians with their clever wiles–are finally broken in a day of defiance, of revolution! It’s a day where David beats the Goliath of Big Pharma, where we find that the Lipitor pen is not as mighty as the sword. It’s a day where refusing to eat a catered lunch to listen to deceptive statistics bought and paid for by the company giving the presentation sends a message that we will not be controlled!

Give me a f-ing break. I hate this Pharm-free shit. The reason I love the fact that today is Pharm Free day is that maybe–JUST MAYBE–my inbox won’t be so polluted for a while with all this crap. Trust me, at least as far as AMSA has been concerned, there’s been this tantric build-up for weeks that hopefully will find its release today so people can go back to writing with their Zocor pens on their Avandia clipboards while writing patient instructions on the Toprol XL Post-it notes.

What bothers me most about the whole “No Free Lunch”/Pharm Free zealots (truly the PETA of the medical community, and like PETA, are full of people who can’t even see their own hypocrisy most of the time) is the inherent lack of respect that says that a physician will be swayed without their even realizing it by using the drug tchotchkies, that somehow a physician will lose the ability to become objective by having eaten a P.F. Changs lunch paid for by Pfizer or have his/her brain slowly affected by the Cymbalta laptop bag. This will lead down the Dark Pathtm, first attending a nice dinner to hear a speech, then to eventually becoming a Big Pharma minion, where said oatmeal-for-brains doctor-whore is now mindlessly giving talks FOR them, having sold his soul by allowing the drug company to slowly own more and more of his life with a cruise, a new car, and on and on…

Of course there are unscrupulous doctors who will do anything for a little somethin’-somethin’, and of course, the deep pockets of the pharmaceutical industry can do some heavy damage. But these self-riteous guns should be aimed at removing direct-to-consumer advertising–that’s the real evil. Unsuspecting patients (mostly) don’t have the background to see through the bullshit to the heart of the medical matter, being swayed mainly by the woman running through the field having been cured of her depression with a pill. To lump trained physicians in that category as broadly as these people do is insulting. They have replaced one Big Brother with another, having a less obvious agenda.

Side effects from reading this post may include drowsiness, apathy, flatulence, depersonalization, uncontrolled fits of anger, and constipation. If you have an erection that lasts for more than 6 hours, call your doctor.

  • By Jon Mikel, November 16, 2006 @ 1:46 pm

    Funny! I never knew that such a day existed

  • By topher, November 16, 2006 @ 1:56 pm

    Very Funny

  • By punchberry, November 16, 2006 @ 4:15 pm

    We are trying to start an AMSA chapter here, and have been getting swamped with emails asking us to mail in our pharma pens for some big demo of… um, lots of pens. AMSA was actually going to reimburse people for shipping for this.

    It seems that it is pretty trendy for the medical community to be anti-big pharma, and there sure are a slew of medical blogs that rant and complain about every freebie being tossed their way. I think the anger here is misdirected. If we are a society think that medical innovation and manufacturing (both being expensive ventures) are to be paid for through a free-market economy, then we cannot turn around and lash out at the pharma industry when they try to get paid for their work. Corporations promote their products and services in order to make money; it is as simple as that.

  • By enrico, November 16, 2006 @ 4:31 pm

    Ory: That’s my point exactly–they’re just trading one branding for another. So my mind might be swayed to lean towards Effexor (venlafaxine) for a patient with depression complicated by anxiety, but then the Orwellian Pharm-Free deprogramming machine kicks in making me wonder, “Am I choosing Effexor because I have a clipboard?” Evidence-based medicine is their mantra, but “evidence” is in the eyes of the beholder, always. Anti-economics, then? Is giving an older generic the best for this patient? It’s almost as if giving a name-brand drug is a last resort for these people.

    I will say there have been some sleazeball games certain pharm companies have played–isolating one stereoisomer from a racemic mixture (omeprazole = Prilosec, esomeprazole (S-omeprazole) = Nexium; citalopram = Celexa, escitalopram (S-citalopram) = Lexapro) and re-marketing it as a “new” medication complete with a new patent is probably the worst. No more research dollars needed, and billions more of pure profit — nice business strategy. But all in all, everyone’s out to make a buck, and if something makes a patient’s life better, they can afford it, it’s a rational clinical choice, I’m not interested in a solution-looking-for-a-problem kind of retrospection of did the clipboard I had influence me…

    …I have leftovers from my free lunch I need to heat up.

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