We’ve long known that medical companies of various sorts have sought to “buy” research which suits their respective agendas. As we’ve reported, pharmaceutical companies have tried (with success) to influence journals and experts via various means. One particularly egregious example we cited was with a group of scientists focused on influencing the official data on the efficacy of painkillers.
Of course companies try to buy practitioners as well as researchers. They hope the practitioners they have bought will persuade other practitioners who may not know about the payments. This doesn’t directly involve the government, but is still crony capitalism in action. Why? Because in a real capitalist system, the principal job of the government is to prevent the use of force and fraud against citizens. It should be obvious that a company making secret deals with crony dentists to promote their products, especially dangerous products to be used on children, is an egregious example of fraud. It is exactly the kind of conspiracy that Adam Smith warned about in the Wealth of Nations, which was an attack on crony capitalism published in 1776. But don’t expect the Federal Trade Commission or any government agency to be concerned about this kind of secret deal, done behind the public’s back, no matter how fraudulent or harmful it is. The companies and the government agencies are too close for the government to police it.
The Times even reported that the Journal of the American Dental Association allowed one cone-beam manufacturer to fund an entire issue devoted to the technology!
To regular Pulse readers, this cronyism may sound all too familiar. We recently reported on some of the latest numbers in the long-established trend of Big Pharma paying doctors to promote their products, shelling out millions for doctors to attend conferences in exotic locations like the Cayman Islands and bankrolling lavish food and beverage tabs, or paying doctors to help with “research.”
One need only follow the money to understand why this happens. In 2010, more than 3,000 scanners and thirty different models had been sold, for up to $250,000 apiece.