Who should influence health care — peddlers or your doctor?

By Marilyn Singleton, M.D.

Note: Dr. Singleton is a member of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, AAPS.

More than 50 years ago, professor Marshall McLuhan posited that the medium is the message. Now it seems that money is the medium of the message.

This month Medical Marketing and Media magazine published its 2017 Health Influencer 50, a “list of professionals across the health care spectrum.” The magazine writes that these “influencers” made their impact by innovative thinking and “patient-centric” strategies. As expected, the ever-present Google, Facebook, Twitter, and several medical marketers were amply represented. Disturbingly, five of the top 11 influencers were pharmaceutical companies. The only physician on the list (No. 12) was Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D.

Only three of the named organizations were actually involved in the delivery of medical care: Dignity Health, the fifth-largest health system in the nation; Ascension, the largest nonprofit health system in the U.S.; and the Cleveland Clinic.

One troublesome “patient-centric” strategy is the ubiquitous, brazen, direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical ad. One crafty example is an “informational” or public service-type announcement persuading the viewer to get vaccinated against pneumococcal pneumonia. Umm … was the ad sponsored by a health plan? Medicare? The American Academy of Family …read more

Source:: World Net Daily