DOCTORS CAN BE BOUGHT: Why You Always Need to Get a Second Opinion

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

More than a decade ago, I worked in Montreal for a company that did what was known as 'Continuing Medical Education' - aka CME.

The purpose of CME was to gather prominent doctors in a particular field in order to - as the name implies - continue their medical education.

Now on the surface, that all sounds well and good. After all, you want your doctor to be knowledgeable about the latest medical breakthroughs with information on the newest and best treatments available.

But what if you found out that the workshops I organized for these doctors to attend were all funded by drug companies?

And that the only "medical education" that a doctor received when attending those events was a presentation by the drug company on their newest drug?

Also, that all expenses were paid (first-class flights and luxury hotels), and that the "workshops" took place over a 3-hour steak and lobster-dinner?

Oh, and that the doctors were given a financial "gift"** for attending.

What would you think then about a doctor's recommendation when prescribing you a new drug?

**(INFORMATIONAL TANGENT: At the time I worked there in 2010-2011, the "gift" was $1000 CAD for any doctor who attended, and $2000-$5000 for any doctor who spoke.

But wait, isn't that illegal - as in bribery?

The "gift" was called an "honorarium" which is defined here as "a payment for a service...on which custom or propriety forbids a price to be set."


Not a bribe, just a..."gift."

There was one doctor whom we all referred to as a Pharma-Wh*re because he would attend a handful of these events EVERY MONTH - often as a speaker - and we calculated that on average, he was pocketing an extra $5000-$10,000. EVERY. MONTH.

Anyhow, I digress...)

Not a bribe, just Photo by Jess Bailey on Unsplash

Back to my question; based on everything I've just told you, what would you think about a doctor's recommendation when prescribing you a new drug?

Would it give you pause before filling that prescription?

Would you question your need for it?

I'm not suggesting that every single doctor out there receives "honorariums" or - as depicted in the movie based on true events Pain Hustlers - receives kick-backs from drug companies for every script they write for that company's drug.

What I'm suggesting is that - medically speaking - second opinions are never a bad idea.

Ask another doctor.

I think a lot of doctors (most?) are ethical and have their patient's best interest at heart. (She said hopefully...)

But some don't.

So check.


Do some research about your ailment, and the drug that your doctor wants to prescribe for it.

Because the thing is, until you know if someone - anyone - has an incentive for their opinion, then you can't know whether that opinion is unbiased or is entirely self-serving.

In the mini-series Painkiller, we follow a fictionalized character from the first time he's prescribed OxyContin to his eventual death.

The whole world is now aware of how dangerous a drug OxyContin is; how addictive and destructive it is. But it wasn't widely known then.

My point with this post is not to frighten readers into not taking doctor-prescribed drugs; we need medication. Modern-medicine is truly amazing in what it can do.

I only want to provide a reminder that doctors are not beatific deities beaming down their benevolent knowledge upon us.

Not your doctor. Photo by Marek Studzinski on Unsplash

In fact - sometimes - doctors have been given incentives to prescribe certain medications. That's part of the reality in the world we live in; denying that is naive.

As I've said before, we all need to do our own research and ASK QUESTIONS. We must take responsibility for our own health in every way we can.

Question all opinions - medical or otherwise - until you understand if there's an INCENTIVE for that opinion.

As for me, I left the world of CME after less than two years because I was disgusted with the whole thing. It went against everything I stood for and believed in.

Instead, I went back to school and got a diploma in Holistic Nutrition with a specialization in Sports Fitness Nutrition.

I wanted to become a better advocate for my own health, as well as the health of others.

Knowledge is power, and there's no greater asset that anyone can possess than good health; we all need to learn to manage our health with the careful consideration we would our financial portfolios.
Photo by Owen Beard on Unsplash

You might be asking yourself "How does this topic relate to recovery from binge-eating?" What I found is that - for me - finding new ways of thinking about life and its challenges helped me to stop stress-eating, and has been a very big part of my ability to stop binge-eating.

For more on changing your mindset and imagining good things click ⭐ here ⭐ to get my guide on Visualizations — yours FREE with subscription to my site.

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