Arnold Relman, Former NEJM Editor: Medicine, Academia, And Research Have Been Bought By The Pharmaceutical Industry

In this 2003 article in the BMJ, Arnold Relman is quoted as saying:

Who Pays For The Pizza? Redefining The Relationships Between Doctors And Drug Companies. 1: Entanglement, British Medical Journal (BMJ), May 2003

The medical profession is being bought by the pharmaceutical industry, not only in terms of the practice of medicine, but also in terms of teaching and research,” says Arnold Relman, a Harvard professor and former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine [from 1977 to 1991, whose recent critique of the industry’s influence in health care, published in the New Republic, won him and his co-author one of the top awards for magazine journalism in the United States. “The academic institutions of this country are allowing themselves to be the paid agents of the pharmaceutical industry. I think it’s disgraceful.”

Here’s part of an introduction to his book “A Second Opinion: Rescuing America’s Health Care A Plan For Universal Coverage Serving Patients Over Profit” published in 2007:

The U.S. healthcare system is failing. It is run like a business, increasingly focused on generating income for insurers and providers rather than providing care for patients. It is supported by investors and private markets seeking to grow revenue and resist regulation, thus contributing to higher costs and lessened public accountability.

And, from Amazon’s intro:

The greatest threat to U.S. health care, as he sees it, is the commercialization of medicine since the late 1960s, which, according to free-market ideology, should bring better care at lower cost but hasn’t delivered (and never will, Relman believes). Doctors need to renew the sense of themselves as disinterested and compassionate healers rather than money-grubbing entrepreneurs.

So, the pharmaceutical industry bought the medical profession. They bought academia. They bought science. And as you will see in my next post, they bought government. Their influence in this country and around the world is profound.

In the decades since Relman sounded the alarm, it’s gotten worse – by his own admission. If someone with Relman’s credentials couldn’t turn the tide, who can?

Arnold Releman:

    • Educated at Cornell University and the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University
    • Professor at Boston University School of Medicine
    • Frank Wister Thomas Professor Of Medicine and Chair of the Department Of Medicine at the University Of Pennsylvania School Of Medicine (now the Perelman School of Medicine)
    • Professor at Harvard Medical School
    • Editor of the Journal of Clinical Investigation from 1962 to 1967
    • Editor of The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) from 1977 to 1991
    • President of the American Federation for Clinical Research
    • President of the American Society for Clinical Investigation
    • President of the Association of American Physicians
    • Awarded Honorary Fellowship by the New York University School of Medicine

Update: Here’s the follow-up post, as promised.
When We See Pfizer Exec Scott Gottlieb Talking About COVID, Are We Watching A Commercial?

3 thoughts on “Arnold Relman, Former NEJM Editor: Medicine, Academia, And Research Have Been Bought By The Pharmaceutical Industry

  1. Pingback: When We See Pfizer Exec Scott Gottlieb Talking About COVID, Are We Watching A Commercial? | Fanatic Cook

    1. Bix Post author

      I did. I wrote about another former editor of the NEJM, Marcia Angell, who said:

      “It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.”



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