The New Palgrave Dictionary defines Bribery as “Gratuity for favorable consideration.” It’s a harmless little effort to gain favored nation status in a world gone wrong, isn’t it? NPR is removing “The Infinite Mind,” a very popular radio program hosted by Dr. Frederick Goodwin, for failure to disclose significant relationships with pharmaceutical firms that resulted in millions of dollars of consulting revenue in 2007.
The question brings us back to “Croupier Economics,” an expression defined as a systemic enviornment where money is moved from many to few by design, rule, law or propensity. When drug companies solicit the assistance of physicians in an era of difficulty for the economics of practicing medicine; more drugs get prescribed, people have information that leads them to believe that drugs are wonderful, and the environment for healthcare is tilted towards the pharmaceutical companies.
Dr. Goodwin was a bit more biased, according to the NY Times. He “warned that children with bipolar disorder could suffer brain damage,” and “that mood stabilizers in particular-have been proven safe and effective in bipolar children.” It’s the insanity of the denials in the face of this that are disconcerting. Apparently, he and his staff thought the relationship with big pharma was adequately disclosed, which of course would make sense since he was dispensing advice that was synchronized tightly with the views of his patrons.
I wonder always at the end of these stories, if the loss of a career and credibility are worth $2 million dollars. Dr. Goodwin is a well known Doctor that did well as a public figure, and chose that path, as opposed to working for a pharmaceutical company. I wonder how much employees of the pharma with like credentials make for speaking and promotional tours, absent the stealthy influence wielded as a public on-air personality. Think Dr. Goodwin earned more or less?
I guess there really is no free lunch, so eat up when the food is around or else you might find your trough slopped by the big pharmaceutical hog masters. Who knows what you’ll have to do, or how much of your moral self will remain, once you’ve eaten your fill.
Be careful, be mindful and good luck!