As we all learned earlier this week, Dr. Sanjay Gupta is President-elect Obama’s choice for Surgeon General. Numerous questions have been raised, however, about Dr. Gupta’s ties to pharmaceutical companies and his tendency to promote vaccines and pharmaceuticals while dismissing safety concerns about those drugs.
Do we really need another pill-pushing bureaucrat in Washington? And why couldn’t Obama choose somebody who stands a chance of actually reforming the Big Pharma / FDA racket that has caused so much health and financial harm to America already? (Marcia Angell would be a good choice for Surgeon General, it seems…) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcia_Angell)
Before getting into some of the potential conflicts of interest that might be haunting Dr. Sanjay Gupta, it’s important to note that there are, in fact, TWO Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s in the U.S., and one of them has all sorts of financial ties to pharmaceutical companies. This is disclosed in the AMERICAN PSYCHIATRIC ASSOCIATION 2007 ANNUAL MEETING document (http://www.psychconflicts.org/pdfs/APA_…) which reveals that Dr. Sanjay Gupta has financial ties to all the following companies: Abbott Laboratories, Inc.; AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP; Bristol-Myers Squibb Company; Eli Lillyand Company; Forest Laboratories, Inc.; GlaxoSmithKline; Johnson and Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Development; Memory Pharmaceuticals; Myriad Genetics, Inca; Neurochem, Inca; OnoPharmaceuticals, Inca ; Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inca; Pfizer Inc; Solvay Pharmaceuticals, Inca;Somaxon Pharmaceuticals
It is important to note, however, that this is not the same Dr. Sanjay Gupta appointed to Surgeon General. There has been considerable confusion about this point on the ‘net, which isn’t surprising, because most people assume that a name as unique as Dr. Sanjay Gupta isn’t going to appear more than once. (Then again, Sanjay is a very common name for children of Indian couples, and the last name Gupta isn’t exactly rare, either. Combine that with the fact that Indian parents tend to encourage their children to become doctors, and you can see why there are two Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s in America today.)
Will the real Dr. Sanjay Gupta please stand up?
The “real” Dr. Sanjay Gupta (the CNN one) is, nonetheless, well known as a defender and promoter of vaccines, psychiatric drugs and Big Pharma’s prescription medications.
In defending antidepressant drugs for expectant mothers, Dr. Gupta said on CNN (June 28, 2007):
“You may remember a couple of years ago there was a study coming out saying if you take antidepressants when you’re pregnant, it increases the chances of heart defects in your baby. …People got concerned about that. So there were some new studies now actually looking at specific SSRIs, which are a type of antidepressant, and trying to figure out just how likely a birth defect is. With regards to Paxil and Zoloft, two specific antidepressants, the risks appear very small of three kinds of birth defects: skull defects, brain defects and gastrointestinal defects. They happen, but a very, very small percentage. In general, SSRIs, those class of antidepressants, appear to be pretty safe. And what they — one thing they did agree on is that not taking them, not taking the medications if you are depressed, could be a greater risk than taking them in the first place.”
Classic PharmaThink, isn’t it? “The benefits are worth the risks,” they say, even if the risks include committing suicide, contracting diabetes or even going so crazy that you kill your own baby.
(Thank you to Evelyn Pringle for finding this particular quote from Gupta.)
Heck, Gupta even thinks Vioxx is safe… you know, the drug that caused over 140,000 heart attacks (according to the FDA’s own drug safety official) and was so dangerous that its own manufacturer pulled it off the market. As reported on DailyKos (http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/1/7/…), Dr. Gupta had this to say on CNN’s “American Morning” on October 30, 2003:
Miles O’Brien: Let’s talk about Vioxx. Some indication it might increase the risk of heart attack?
Gupta: This stat has been around since August of 2001. They talked about the increase of heart attack with Vioxx. The numbers are very small. Perhaps a small percentage increase in the overall risk of heart attacks with Vioxx. They say 37 percent to 39 percent but that’s of a very small number. After 90 days, no increased risk.
Huh? A 39 percent increase in risk of a heart attack is a small number? Funny how 39 percent is a “huge” number when these health experts are talking about a reduction in the risk of something from a drug, isn’t it? It’s only when talking about people dying from heart attacks that Gupta seems to think 39 percent is a “small” number.
By the way, Vioxx ultimately killed more than 60,000 Americans, according to estimates by Dr. David Graham at the FDA. Does Dr. Gupta think 60,000 dead Americans is also a small number? I wonder…
Stumping for Big Pharma
But there’s more to this story: Gupta was a frequent host on a promotional news-like show called “AccentHealth” that was actually a series of thinly-disguised pharmaceutical infomercials that played on televisions in doctors’ offices. The show was marketed to drug companies by touting its ability to “brand” consumers with commercial messages. Here’s some promotional text from the AccentHealth literature:
AccentHealth is America ‘s #1 integrated health media company offering advertisers multiple consumer touch points in the place where health matters most the doctors office. AccentHealth’s waiting room TV network produced by CNN and hosted by CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Robin Meade, reaches 132 million viewers annually in 185 Nielsen Markets…To complement your broadcast message, and the consumer focused product information you can provide in our 10,800 offices, AccentHealth offers another channel into the physician’s office — a unique fax program that can help you strengthen your physician relationships…Reinforce product credibility through the “Halo Effect…” How would you like to see your product on our show? AccentHealth runs frequent on-air promotions to engage viewers and ensure more focused viewing…Our healthy mascot “Abby Apple” has been reminding our viewers to lead a healthy lifestyle for 4 years! Abby can appear on-air using your product… AccentHealth is committed to meeting your campaign expectations. With an audience of receptive, health conscious consumers and a direct line into the physician’s office we will customize your AccentHealth initiative to meet your specific brand goals…Use our production facilities to create a custom message for our unique environment…Let us organize a consumer event to coincide with your AccentHealth on-air campaign….”
Read more at: http://blog.lib.umn.edu/schwitz/healthn…
Notice how, in the promotional material, they equate pharmaceutical propaganda with teaching viewers to “lead a healthy lifestyle”? That’s what we’re like to get with Gupta as Surgeon General, too: New “health policy” focused on medicating the snot out of every American they can get their hands on.
Mandatory vaccinations, mandatory depression screening for pregnant women, mandatory ADHD screening for adults… who knows what madness will emerge from the office of the Surgeon General with Gupta at the helm? If you thought he was a joke on CNN, just wait until he has the cumulative health illiteracy of the entire U.S. government backing him!
How much money did Gupta take from Big Pharma, anyway?
The real question on everyone’s mind, of course, is whether Gupta will publicly disclose his financial ties to drug companies and medical device manufacturers. How much money, exactly, has he accepted from these companies over the years? And how much money did he make on CNN, pimping pills while the ad space was funded by drug companies?
We’ve also seen Gupta misrepresent statistics on CNN when he falsely accused Michael Moore of saying that Cuba only spends $25 per capita for health care (Moore actually said $251). He also downplayed the rather serious conflicts of interest of the very person he claimed to have used to fact check Moore’s documentary (Paul Keckley). Watch the YouTube video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oR2U_SAWHdQ and see if you can find the other half of Dr. Gupta’s missing eyebrow…
Did we really need to elect a whole new President to get the same pill-pushing stooges seated in Washington? Gee, we could have left the Bushes in the White House and got the same result. I’m pretty sure the people voting for Obama were hoping to see some actual change in Washington and not just the same recycled Big Pharma agenda repackaged behind faces that are brown and black instead of white. Natural News