Stents, defibrillators, and other profit-making opportunities 16. April 2006 William Davis (2) As a practicing cardiologst, every day I receive a dozen or more magazines or newspapers targeting practicing physicians, not to mention the hundreds of letters, postcards, invitations to "talks", etc. that I receive. All of these materials share one common goal: To get the practicing cardiologist/physician to insert more of a manufacturer's stents, defibrillators, prescribe more of their drugs, etc. This is a highly effective and profitable area. Pfizer's Lipitor, for instance, generated $12.2 billion just last year alone. This kind of money will fund an extraordinary amount of marketing. I'm on the www.heart.org mailing list, a website for cardiologists. I'd estimate that 90% or more of their content is device-related: discussions of situations in which to insert stents, the expanding world of implantable devices, the ups and downs of various drugs. Rarely are discussions of healthy lifestyles, exercise, nutritional supplements, part of the dialogue. How can you protect yourself from the brainwashed physician, flooded with visions of all the devices he can put in you, all the drugs that can "cure" your disease? Simple: information. Be better informed. Ask pointed questions. The idiotic lay press tells you to ask a doctor about his education. That's not generally the problem. Some of the best educated doc's I know are also the most flagrantly guilty of profiteering medicine. Ask your doctor about his/her philosphy about the use of medications, devices, etc. If their word is God, take it or leave it, run the other way.