Corporate Influence On Medicine

Andrew D. Coates | Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) | November 8, 2013

Physicians tend to be a conservative group, in the sense that we’re cautious when it comes to new ideas. For example I find myself very reluctant to prescribe medications that have been on the market for only a few months or a short year or two, no matter what benefit their manufacturer’s claim they offer. Caution seems a better practice when it comes to our patients, especially if hundreds of millions have used a traditional treatment without harm, while the new medication in question is so slickly advertised.

Over the last couple of years, medicine as a profession has stood on the shore of a kind of health-systems continental drift. As a profession, we doctors have tried to keep doing what we have been doing, perhaps with a belief that our coastal province will eventually come (back) under our individual control.

It is almost as if we would so prefer to embrace a sedimentary but predictable process, a layering of generations of responsibility within our profession, measured in geological time, that we are loathe to try to decipher our own experience.