Dr. Michael Kirsch, a private-practice gastroenterologist in Highland Heights, Ohio, who manages www.MDWhistleblower.blogspot.com and occasionally favors us with comments, kindly sent me a copy of his recent paper:
Basically, Dr. Kirsch is upset with the media for vilifying the pharmaceutical industry. He attempts to set the record straight by listing some of the recent sins of industry but also the many things they do right, and the many sorts of social good for which they are responsible.
On the one hand I am happy to see this paper for two reasons. First, I try to stay abreast of what’s being written about the medicine-Pharma interface. Second, for those readers who think this blog is too one-sided in condemning industry behavior, here’s a chance to read something more to your liking. (If you don’t feel better after reading it, take two aspirin, lie down, and call me in the morning.)
On the other hand, I am also tempted to point out that this paper, however lovely and accurate it may be, is utterly irrelevant to this blog. Dr. Kirsch titles his piece: “The Pharmaceutical Industry: Angels or Demons?” My overriding attempt in this blog is to argue that I don’t know which they are and I don’t care. I care about exactly one thing—are the interests of the pharmaceutical industry reliably and consistently aligned with the goals and ethical duties of medical science and medical practice? I suggest that the answer is “no,” and once we know that, we know what we need to know. Calling them names is quite unnecessary, whether the names are nice or nasty.