A behind-the-scenes look at medical education

Today, I’m going to take you on a little behind-the-scenes tour of what really happens with medical education and Big Pharma from my perspective as a community physician. Sometimes I forget that not everybody understands this, since many of my friends are physicians.

Doctors get continuing medical education (CME) through events like lectures and conferences. CME is necessary because many physicians practise for 30 or 40 years, and medicine is changing continuously, so they cannot rely on their medical school training, which might have happened in the 1960s. Doctors are required to get a certain number of hours of CME every year. You might imagine that doctors learn from unbiased experts dedicated to learning. Actually, nothing is further from the truth. The dirty little secret is that virtually all CME is sponsored heavily by Big Pharma giving them huge influence over what information is presented to doctors.

Every single level of CME has been corrupted by $$$. Let’s start at the bottom.

In virtually every hospital in North America, there are lectures called ’rounds’. They happen in every specialty and almost every single day, mostly at lunchtime. What a great idea. Doctors would spend lunchtime teaching each other the intricacies of their specialty. Sorry, no. Most doctors don’t prepare a full hours worth of lecture topic. Most are too busy to spend an hour listening a the lecture anyway. So, the friendly drug rep from Big Pharma helpfully gets lunch for everybody. Free lunch! That helps bring in the audience, but it doesn’t help the fact that they still need a speaker.GrandRounds2015

Once again, the drug rep is able to produce speakers! Big Pharma hires doctors to give lectures. Of course, these doctors are still don’t produce their own talk, so luckily, Big Pharma also makes the entire slide kit with full notes so all the doctor needs to do is parrot the words written for him. He only lends his name to give these lectures the sheen of respectibility. You can be sure that these ’rounds’ always support the use of more and more medications.

The standard rate in Canada to give one of these talks is $1500 for a single hour of work. Very lucrative, even if it means you need to intellectually prostitute yourself. Of course, there is no shortage of doctors willing to give these talks. Some doctors give talks several times per week.

Next, there are the dinner lectures. These, once again are helpfully organized by the Big Pharma drug reps. They invite local doctors to hear an ‘expert’. Once again, the doctor selected is ‘conveniently’ provided with the entire presentation to give like a trained monkey – delivering the exact message Big Pharma wants. Who are these doctors selected to speak? The ones that prescribe the most drugs, of course. So, they have no problem giving these talks because they already believe it. It’s essentially a giant infomercial.

According to regulations, these dinners are not supposed to be lavish. They should be the equivalent of cafeteria meals. Does that happen? Not a chance in hell. These dinners are held at the fanciest restaurants available. Of course, it comes with wine and a 3 course dinner, which normally would cost about $150 per person. The speaker gets $1500 for one hour.

I must confess here. I have given a few of these talks, but have only done 1 in the last five years, because it was a journal club specifically requested by my friend. However, I only present my own slides and I do not accept any restrictions on what I say. I stopped giving these lectures because I was just disgusted. The doctors in the audience were mostly interested in eating and clearly not even listening. It was awful. The money is good, but my soul paid the price.

The next place a doctor might expect to get CME is through conferences and other symposia. Often these are arranged through official sounding organizations – usually something like ‘Canadian Association of Superior Medical Knowledge’ (does not really exist). The public, of course, thinks these are legitimate organizations. The doctors know full well that these are puppet organizations funded by multiple drug companies. This allows them to pay salaries to physicians to do little other than be the figurehead –  always from a prominent university to give the organization a respectable veneer. You know, science director, medical liaison etc.

They organize one or two day conferences at hotels which usually includes about 6-8 hours of lectures full of ‘experts’. These conferences, if you had to pay for hotel space and speakers would normally cost about $500 per person to put on. However, doctors usually only pay $25 for two days of lectures and this includes breakfast, snack and lunch! With a wink, they are usually free.

Sad to say, these are, once again, thinly disguised drug infomercials. Almost all of the speakers are university doctors, who know a good payday when they see it. I attended one of these many years ago. Two prominent university professors presented about diabetes. “There is a wonderful treatment that lowers weight, blood pressure and blood sugar with no side effects. It’s called exercise.” Oh, this sounds promising.

He then spent the next 59 minutes of his 60 minute lecture talking about … drugs.

The very next speaker, who writes the Canadian Diabetes guidelines said “The first, second, and third line treatment of diabetes is lifestyle, lifestyle, and lifestyle”. Oh, this sounds promising. She then spent the next 59 minutes of her 60 minute lecture talking about … drugs. Oh, what drug whores.

Perhaps you think that things are better at the major universities. Sorry, that’s not really true either. The people who are promoted in the university hierarchy are not those that are the most intelligent. No, it’s those who bring in the most research dollars. Of course, it’s extremely difficult to get funding from governments. Instead, it’s far easier and far more lucrative to get drug company funding for research. This is often in the form of endowments and endorsed chairs.Research

What happens to all the money you donate to ‘support research into diabetes’? Well, most of it goes toward paying for fancy hotels, fancy meals and fancy trips. Oh, of course, they can’t call it that. Instead, conferences are held in swanky hotels in far-away places. Why do most doctors go to the ‘European Conference on Amazing Medical Knowledge’? (does not really exist). Let me tell you, it’s not to get amazing medical knowledge. Hell, that’s available online for free in your underwear.

No, the main purpose is to visit Paris, or Copenhagen, or Barcelona. You take the research dollars donated in good faith and spend several thousand of them to go to Spain. You listen to one lecture and spend the next 3 days going to the fanciest restaurants you can find – all for research, of course. I know. The research budget is used to pay for airfare, hotel and meals. Of course, you usually meet up with drug reps for even fancier meals. I did this 20 years ago, when I was a student at the University. Everybody knows the game. Except you, that is.

Too harsh? Well, let’s think about this logically. Consider the hundreds of millions of dollars raised for diabetes and breast cancer and heart disease and so on. What do we have to show for it? Almost all of the drugs developed for all disease are performed by drug companies.

All of the funding ever done at the universities adds up to a giant zero. While you might imagine that doctors and academics at major universities are immune to the influence of Big Pharma, you’d be exactly wrong. These institutions are on the take on a massive scale. They don’t simply take a few dollars here and there, they take millions of dollars.

The University of Colorado, for example, received $1 million from Coca Cola in order to establish an advocacy group that, surprise, surprise would downplay the risk of sugar. You, as the public would have assumed that this opinion exonerating sugar was coming from academic physicians who have thought long and hard and researched day and night about the best diet. You would have been exactly wrong. Their opinion, backed by the name of a prestigious university, is for sale to the highest bidder. These same doctors and researchers are always the ones talking about how you can’t trust all the opinions on the internet. Turns out, the last person to trust was them! Dr. Blair from the University of Colorado was busy blaming the media for the obesity crisis when he was taking blood money to fuel the crisis. They returned the money, but only when it was exposed in the New York Times. Otherwise, we would have been reading opinions that we believed were honest ones from university professors, but were nothing more than paid infomercials.

List of conflicts of interest
Dr Sievenpiper – List of conflicts of interest

The list goes on and on. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics received $1.7 million from Coke. They represent the dieticians of America. Do they have our best interests at heart? No, you can’t bite the hand that feeds you. So sugar is fine and calories are the problem. Yes, because eating 100 calories of sugar and 100 calorie of broccoli are equally fattening. Right.

Coke has spent $120 million since 2010 to fund research. Research that will undoubtedly show that sugar is not to blame for obesity. This makes the few bucks the community doctor makes seem like chump change. $120 million dollars! And then the academics will bleat on and on about how we must follow evidence based medicine when the entire evidence base has been corrupted by commercial interests.

Dr. Sievenpiper
Dr. Sievenpiper

Consider the case of Dr. John Sievenpiper. He is one of the most outspoken, staunchest defenders of dietary sugar. He is constantly in the media defending sugar. Oh, it turns out he receives money from the Corn Refiners Association!  In his paper in the Annals of Internal Medicine defending, you guessed it, sugar, here’s his list of conflicts of interest.

So be careful who you listen to. There’s a lot of paid infomercials out there that you don’t even know about. Ultimately, you must decide who to trust based on their message, not their titles. Your life, very literally, depends on it.

63 Responses

  1. Dr. Fung, You are the MAN!

  2. Well done again Dr. Fung. One thing about the Internet is regular folks can share info and find out the truth for themselves. Posts like this one and others will get the truth out.

    Your post tells the hard truth about the system. I’d assume few doctors have the integrity to share their honest thoughts. I’d also encourage you to see Dr. Peter Attias TED talk about changing his views on patients with diabetes. One of the most powerful talks I have ever seen. You and he are my heroes! Thanks again!

  3. So frustrating. So sad. And yet, the truth is finally coming forward, and it is through academic research, peer-reviewed journals, brave thinkers (like yourself), and brave patients (like myself) who educate themselves and are now educating our doctors.
    My GP, impressed with my reversing diabetes without medication, now has received links to your youtube series, and hopefully some of his other patients will get better care. Most doctors are good intentioned and want to be of help, and I am sure the tide will turn.
    So lets keep working! (I’m glad to think of myself as a junior partner…)
    Thanks again.

  4. Funny how when you say this it is credible and accepted, but when I say the exact same thing only without personal experience to reference, I’m called a conspiracy theorist. I wholeheartedly agree with you, conspiracy theories and all?

    • There are a few problems with the criticism of “that’s a conspiracy theory!”

      1) It’s always implied that if you believe in one conspiracy you believe in all of them, and therefore you’re a 9/11 truther. No, you can believe in some conspiracies and not others.

      2) Some conspiracies actually did happen in history which proves the point. For example, Bell Labs suppressed the commercial development of the recording machine because they worried it would undermine the telephone. Around the same time, the Nazis blamed the opposition for the burning of the reichstag.

      3) Some of these things are actually out in the open and thus not conspiracy theories.

    • I am too. I play along with it, and buy myself a warehouse-store-sized roll of tinfoil and say it’s “for making hats”. The last roll I bought lasted me 6 months–the cooking around here is more hot and heavy than the conspiracies.

  5. You’re speaking truth to power!

  6. Zofia Warenik

    Wow Dr.Fung! I love the way you say it as it is instead of pussy footing around a topic. And, of course,you have hit the nail on the head yet again.
    I have been an RN for 46 years and over the years have becoming more and more disillusioned with health care and the fact that, despite all the so called “advances” in medicine, people are unhealthier than ever before. The rates of obesity and the resultant issues with that, e.g.,Type 2 DM have skyrocketed and especially amongst our native Canadian population. Years ago when I worked in northern Labrador I had one Inuit patient with Type 1 DM in a population of 800. NO Type 2 patients. Today, working in central/northern Ontario, the numbers of obese, Type 2 DM in our native population is mind boggling. I realised several years ago that we are “treating” symptoms and not the cause of the disease itself. This really hit me a few years ago when I attended a cardiac symposium in Sudbury. I was looking forward to a presentation on Obesity and Heart Disease. I was horrified to find the WHOLE lecture from beginning to end was about gastric bypass surgery, NO mention of diet or lifestyle. When I approached the lecturer at the end of the presentation with my concerns, he looked at me as if I was some doggy-doo
    stuck on his shoe and never did answer my concerns!
    Since discovering LCHF I have been advocating this to all the patients that come under my care. I give them the link to the Diet Doctor website and encourage themto become their own health care advocates and do the research and ground work themselves. Very few of these patients have been told that their Type 2 DM can be reversible – they are just given more Metformin, insulin etc etc and we all know the ultimate outcome of poorly controlled diabetes.
    And no, I won’t donate to any of these so-called health organizations e.g. Heart and Stroke, Canadian Cancer Society etc. Breast cancer has become a billion dollar industry with this “Think Pink” campaign promoting everything from Kitchen Aid appliances to pink shoelaces and I see red when I see the Heart Healthy logo on junk food -the Heart and Stroke Foundation is being paid big $$$ to promote their logo on garbage processed food.
    I have also been to a “drug” information dinner-promoted by one of the big drug companies when the new anticoagulants were released- (anything so I don’t have to cook!!). It was held at the swankiest restaurant in town, the food and wine were great and no-one did really listen to the talk. It was quite obvious why everyone was there! Actually I felt quite sick by the end of the evening as the obvious lack of transparency by everyone involved in the presentation.
    Keep up the good work- I admire your guts for saying it as it is instead of accepting the status quo
    Zoe RN

  7. no wonder so many love and respect Dr. Jason Fung…thank you for putting peoples health first…and not being afraid to take on Big Pharma, and exposing the dirty secrets ..we love, and trust what you do is what you believe is best for us…

  8. All I can say is…thank you Dr. Fung for all you do. Truly.

  9. It’s so disheartening ! It’s as if there is no hope. Doctors cannot be objective after years of this onslaught. Whom can we trust ? Regular folks trolling the internet (me) “finding out the truth” as Steve puts it (above) can just as easily be mislead, misdirected and end up misinformed. There is still controversy about the low-carb theories… Each side presents “evidence” which I must consider to determine veracity. But I am no authority on chemistry or biology or any science.

    • Corrie
      There is hope yet! I think we ALL have to become responsible for our own health and take a pro-active approach. Prevention has long been known to be better than cure! Unfortunately the health $$ are not going into health promotion -that has long gone by the wayside and the results are obvious to see….
      The days of doctors being up in their ivory towers have long gone -thank God! We have a great resource called the internet where we can do our own research. I am constantly amazed that patients do not question what their doctors tell them but think because he/she is “the doctor” they know best. My comment is that 50% of doctors come in the bottom half of their class.
      Don’t get me wrong-I work with a very great bunch of ER docs- all very dedicated and obviously wanting the best outcome for their patients. It is the system that is totally wrong. It is totally geared to dealing with symptoms and not the cause of the disease. Also somewhere down the line patients have stopped thinking for themselves and have handed over responsibility of their health to the health care system – a simple example- a child with a fever- the parents bring them straight to ER instead of trying simple remedies including giving Tylenol, cool drinks, cool baths etc.
      Health care has to undergo a renaissance – it is just not sustainable in its present format whether that is in Canada, the UK and even the States.
      Meanwhile be positive and question, question, question!

  10. Raymond Brisebois

    Although I have come to be increasingly aware of the depths to which greed, corruption and blatant conflict of interest infects the “health care” industry, I must say I am gobsmacked to the max at the extent of nefarious behaviour as outlined in this very significant article by Dr. Fung. We can not only hope and pray but actively agitate for change towards not only curative health but, more importantly, towards solid, science-based strategies for effective preventative medicine via the potential but still unawakened power of social media. For Canadians, this means flooding the federal Minister of Health with requests to implement all of the recommendations made by the Senate Report on Obesity (published in February 2016) as a start.

    • Kate Miller

      Gobsmacked! A great word!

    • Raymond, actually I am not surprised at all. Read Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime how big pharma has corrupted healthcare by Peter Gotzsche. I watched a TV interview with an Australian brain surgeon, recently. He said another brain surgeon visited him and said he must stop doing these ‘difficult’ cases, because he is making other surgeons look bad. “Do you want me to tell patients their tumours are inoperable?” Yes. “Do you want me to lie?” Yes “Do you lie?” Yes, often. The interviewer was stunned.

      • Just last week, I read an article that said diabetes drug invention has been stifled because people are keeping too tight a rein on their blood sugar! If you want to live with all your limbs and organs intact, ISN’T THAT THE OBJECT?

        According to the author, what we need is moderation of blood sugar, not complete and absolute control–why? Is Big Pharma THAT desperate to make solutions with no problems, and half-hearted ones at that?

        As we here know, the word MODERATION has no real meaning because it’s different for everybody. What the article really meant was “go ahead–eat some grains, some fruit, and some high-carb junk food. We’ll gladly clean up your blood sugar mess (half-heartedly, and for a price).

        I look at it as another sign of Big Pharma’s desperation.

  11. The old expression goes ..

    “Free advice is worth exactly what you paid for it.” So people think because they paid a Doctor it must be worth something. Right!

    I would add .. “Do your own research.” Which is why I love this site.

  12. Thanks Dr. Fung for this honest and unbiased report on what really goes on in the medical world.

  13. Paula Story

    Once again, you prove to be our hero! Thank you for saving my life and the lives of so many. You have the courage to step out and tell the truth, There aren’t enough words to say how we love and respect you for it.

  14. leavemealonegoaway

    Absolutely 100% bang on.

    I used to attend a few ‘drug dinners’, but I usually ignored the (usually droning) ‘speaker’, so little harm was done. No more..they are boring and I learn zero (since I tend to daydream during the parts where ACE inhibitor A is .0005% ‘better’ than ACE inhibito B).

    A few years ago (1990’s),Pharma used to take us docs golfing to promote their stuff. What happened was 3 male doctors and one ridiculously perky female rep wearing obscene shorts would ‘golf’–premium course, free beers of course. Her job was to parrot her brand name (it may as well have been emblazoned on her butt). She was a horrid golfer, and invited us to stand behind her and help her swing..you know arms around her etc…no joke… These events are now banned.

    Even longer ago (1980s), the med tech companies would invite docs to try new echocardiogram devices, The patient ‘volunteer’ was usually a swimsuit model with a towel draped where her bra should be..the deadly serious expressions on the docs as they ‘studied’ the inframammary acoustic window was hilarious. The line-up was like Universal Studios. Now these are banned.

    I do the mandatory CME (failing to do so can cause revokation of college recognition) but almost all of it is online in the form of a text book with exam-style questions. The hard sciences topics are relatively clean. We are obliged by college bylaws to attend a certain minimum of in-person events, but it is possible to avoid the infomercials (eg bedside ultrasound skills for diagnosing a ruptured abdominal aneurysm at 0300h is lifesaving..I will keep on top of that stuff).

    The BEST reason to attend the Pharma Orgies is to familiarize oneself with the new drugs that will be presenting to emerg as toxicities a few months after launch. I’ve spent more time reading about the antidotes for the new Coumadin alternatives than the drugs themselves.

    Jason, this is the best summary of big Pharma abuse and manipulation of (generally speaking) honest health care workers ever written.

    Gratitude and respect as always. R

  15. When I had my first baby I just knew that something was wrong with the advice I was getting from my doctor, but of course you want to the do the “right” thing so I went along with what he said I should do. I ended up with an unnecessary c-section. I had him on a Sunday and low and behold, the c-section rate goes up dramatically on the weekends. (Maybe something to do with doctors wanting to get back to the golf course) My second child I found an excellent mid-wife and had my daughter at home. Since then I rarely go to doctors and when I do I question absolutely everything. When my husband was diagnosed with T2D we went to the doctor… I told my husband, “We’ll listen, but trust me, we’re not going to follow his advice”. Shortly after we found Dr. Fung. Like I have posted many times before our health is stellar and my husband has completely reversed his diabetes and followed NONE of the advice given by his doctor. We are forever grateful for Dr. Fung.

  16. Cracked: if drug companies were honest.. https://youtu.be/rbFYsYMA3No

  17. The article today makes me remember two good books 1) from Peter C. Gotzsche Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime : How Big Pharma Has Corrupted Healthcare and 2) from Dr. Jerome P. Kassirer and his book ON THE TAKE, you can find some videos from them in youtube

    Thanks Doc for a good piece of writing, Thanks to the internet the message will be shared

  18. Hey Jason Fung, good article. Maybe you could do one about vaccine hoax too? Dr Suzanne Humphries talks about it: http://drsuzanne.net/dr-suzanne-humphries-vaccines-vaccination/

    • I too have wondered what Dr. Fung’s thoughts are regarding vaccinations. When my son was three months old I took him for a “well baby check” (my one and only for both of my kids) and I expressed some concerns over vaccinations. My doctor told me that there was a 3 month old baby at our local hospital with whooping cough right now. I almost complied but stopped short, but I was scared to death! A friend told me that the doctor most likely lied. So I called the hospital (this was 28 years ago so you could get information more readily) and it turns out she WAS lying. I even called the medical records department and they said they had no record of whooping cough in over 20 years. I was so stunned and hurt that my doctor lied to me to try to scare me into compliance. FYI ~ my kids never did receive any vaccines and were remarkably healthy growing up. And when they were 10 and 12 they did get whooping cough. No fun, but they survived. 😉 I understand this can be deadly for a baby and I certainly respect any parent for vaccinating!! It can be a very difficult decision but we truly are often mislead, to put it mildly.

  19. Thank you so so much for what you are doing through this website! Hats-off to your guts to talk about these things so openly! I am learning a ton from you. Thanks once again!

  20. Dr. Fung writes on a topic that our corporate media won’t touch. The 2nd paragraph sounds like a paste from Prof. Ben Goldacre’s Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients. The rest of this blog could have been taken from chapter 8 of Prof. Marcia Angells, of The Truth About the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What to DO About It. And if you want to read about the consequences of this there is by Prof. Peter Gotzsche, Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime: How big pharma has corrupted healthcare. His book won the British Medical Association’s Medical Book Award. Another great article by Dr. Fung.
    This article needs sequels: 1) that government legislators are in bed with Pharma and how their changes made starting with Reagan has changes has made the universities business partners of industry (a topic covered by Prof Angell, supra); 2), How the FDA sees its job as promoting drugs (an insider’s account of the approval process, condensed from Gotzsche’s book supra ); 3) How the evidence basis of medicine has been systematically distorted to promote chronic conditions and then treat them with fake fixes (see healthfully.org for some examples); 4) the broken reporting of side effects; 5) that most drugs worth their side effects (see book by doctors Debre and Evens); 6) the take-over of medical education by pharma through their KOL (Key Opinion Leaders) system. Their KOLs besides giving CME classes (as Dr. Fung reports), they also write the medical textbooks, the clinical guidelines, and are the experts appearing in our corporate media. I have written a sympathetic account of the working situation of doctors. It is as Prof. Goldacre states, a perverse system produces perverse results. To change the results, we need to change the system.

  21. This page with the embedded links will be published at http://healthfully.org/rdt/. I though the links would have been posted, but they weren’t

  22. Debra Smith

    In the ’60’s, pharmaceutical companies sent samples directly to our home mailbox. My father was a physician, OB/GYN and family physician, and surgeon, but not a hypocrit. We had a big drawer in our kitchen filled with samples. I was a teenager then and I found some meds in there that are now controlled substances. Representatives, usually attractive women would show up at his office and try to see the doctors, interfering with scheduled appointments to leave samples, in the ’70’s when I worked at his office. They would only see them if they had samples that they could then give to patients who couldn’t afford medications, like oral contraceptives, hypertensives and antibiotics.

    My father, early on, refused to prescribe antibiotics to patients with viruses. He thought it was useless and would promote drug resistant bacteria. (1970’s) He would do anything to prevent doing a c-section. He was shocked at how the newer generation of doctors, with all their fancy equipment, were over zealous in doing c-sections. All he had was a stethoscope and his hands and he managed to deliver healthy babies, mostly vaginally, all without complications.

    One day he came home, furious. Unknown to him, in the late 70’s, he predicted another problem. These G-damned insurance companies are going to be telling doctors how to practice medicine! How true that is today. The final blow to his beloved career came when his malpractice insurance was increased, to the degree that it would cost more than what he was making from delivering babies. He loved delivering babies and was called at all times day and night, then had to go to his office to see his patients. He was so embittered by this, that he stopped delivering babies and concentrated his practice to family practice and surgery. Incidentally, he never even came close to being sued. Do no harm was his mantra.

    One day he was on one of his tirades about nutrition. He said: we know more about feeding race horses a healthy diet than human beings. He told me he hardly got any education in medical school about nutrition. He went to school in the ’50’s. Seems like nothing has progressed since then. I feel paranoid, but I do believe that current nutritional information is withheld for a purpose. It’s withheld to protect the interests of the food industry, the cancer industry, pharmaceutical companies and health insurance companies. The incorrect information (lies that cause extreme suffering and shortened life spans) is then spewed by ALL of our esteemed associations: ADA, AMA, ACA, FDA, etc. Even if we have non bleating doctors, they would have to go against all these powerful organizations and chance being charged with malpractice. Only a handful of courageous doctors are willing to become scientists and practice true medicine. Some of us are seekers of knowledge and most are bleating sheep.

    I love the way Dr. Jung says it like it is. He’s angry and disgusted by this conspiracy. Provide false dietary information (our very own governmental agencies), pack grocery stores with aisles and aisles of processed foods.(food industry) Some of us believe these non foods are what we’re supposed to be eating. It’s all they know, the norm. Some processed foods are labeled “heart healthy” (American Heart Association) and we dumb sheep throw them happily into our carts and bodies. Then we get sick and we access the medical system and of course the pharmaceutical industry and health insurance industry.

    Diabetes type 2, is a huge business. I wanted to check my own blood sugar and found that the supplies, particularly the strips, were very expensive. The price of insulin is high and going up. The phlethera of diseases caused by DM: cardiovascular, dementia, eye damage, renal disease, infections, amputations, the list goes on and on, is a money making industry. So, we are lied to, fed foods that sicken and kill us and then our symptoms are treated, making us sicker.

    I have given my opinions on this blog before. I can’t help but see the similarity to the tobacco industry and all these groups I’ve mentioned. We all need to wake up from the illusion that our governmental agencies and healthcare industry are to be trusted! All over the world, millions of people are sickened. Hallocaust by design. We live long enough to reproduce a new generation, before we die miserably, then the cycle proceeds.

    I am a retired RN. I didn’t want to be a physician, because I lived with one and he shared all his disillusment with me. All I ever wanted to do is heal people and give compassion and hope. From the neonatal intensive care, pediatrics and then eventually I was literally forced to practice medical and surgical nursing. When you live in a community with only 1 nearby hospital, you have to make changes. My eyes were opened then. I couldn’t figure out why so many patients had diabetes. At first I believed they were non compliant. Then it’s the patients’ fault and not the medical care. So, I started my journey 5 years ago into figuring out the truth. Why was I overweight, when I had free access to licensed dietitians and I religiously followed their advice? It was shameful for me to be 50 pounds over my youthful weight and be giving the same advice to my patients.

    I read and read, coming to the conclusion that it was all about carbs. and good fats. Thus began my journey to a ketogenic diet. I still didn’t lose much weight and then I feel as if I was enlightened by one of Dr. Jung’s lectures on insulin resistance, just several months ago. So, it’s now all about insulin and how to keep it low. I’m doing intermittent fasting, and once a week 24 hour fasting. The weight is now coming down and I believe that means my insulin resistance is as well improving. I refuse to become like cattle to the slaughter!

    Thank you, Dr. Fung. You are a seeker of knowledge and practice medicine to benefit your patients and us seekers of knowledge. Have you written
    yet re. the high costs of medicines, diabetic supplies and high cost interventional treatments yet? How us tax payers are paying for this mess?

    • Some processed foods are labeled “heart healthy” (American Heart Association) and we dumb sheep throw them happily into our carts and bodies.

      Just yesterday, I had a friend brag about the yogurt she bought while out grocery shopping–she showed me the carton, and on the front was plastered “no sugar added” with the AHA symbol on it (of course). I turned it around to see the nutrition facts label, and found it had more carbs in it than soda has sugar. I then proceeded to teach my friend to look at the BACK label, and not the front when it comes to nutrition claims, and then also proceeded to inform her about lactose.

    • It’s good to hear that doctors used to practice a real medicine in the past! Today everything is written in national guidelines and recommendations , and physicians have to be “the followers” not the practitioners. Education about nutrition at medical school is poor, too (I studied medicine during ’90), low-fat and all-the-calories-are-the-same diet is still recommended. Everything I learned I did because I had a problem which nutritionist couldn’t solve. I even gained more fat after the diet and got hyperinsulinemia, I felt tired and fog-minded, my ankles started to ache every day… Now I am on gluten-free and LCHF diet, and feel great, I don’t have “hunger attacks” even after night shifts. I still have 5-7 kg more, but not 15!
      Everybody has to listen own body, but physicians have to ask and listen to their patients complaints and to be committed to the patients and the job!

  23. Golly I was wrong!!! So, I’m standing in line at the grocery store and the clerk, who is completely innocent, says, “Would you like to contribute to . . . . . xyz. . . . . medical charity.” And I say, “Sorry, I disbelieve in their type of research.” Little did I know that the dollars, for the most part, aren’t even going for research. Many of those dollars are going to support various 5-star hotels in Europe. Well, at least I got the value of the contribution right, even if I got the flow of dollars wrong.

    • Roger, take a look at the salaries paid to the top people in medical charities. I get most upset when people knock on my door selling sweets to fund diabetes research.

    • Read up on what happened to the Susan G. Komen breast cancer “research” drive. That was (as I recall) the first time the media actually got involved with charity fraud, exposing how the money goes to paying for ongoing fundraising activities and none for research. The campaigns were PERPETUAL and touched every corner of the universe. As it so happens, Susan Komen herself was a marketing guru, and knew how to market her disease. Too bad she didn’t think to market to market PREVENTION, isn’t it?

  24. I do so hope that you-all will share at link to this post with your friends and other contacts. I am.

  25. In fairness, the best astronomy conference I’ve been to was in Sesto, Italy.

    8:30am – 11:00am, talks
    11:00am – 4:00pm, skiing, spa, swimming
    4:00pm-4:30pm, coffee and cake, high-caffeine high-carb and high-fat lol
    4:30pm-7:30pm, talks
    7:30pm – 8:30pm, swimming, showering, sauna, sulfur bath
    8:30pm -> dinner (Italians …)

    It looks really corrupt on paper but in practice I’ve never learned more at a conference. It was very specific to my field (which includes a lot of Italian scientists who have made a lot of contributions to the field and have every right to host conferences).

    In contrast, for conferences that have non-stop power-point from 8:00am – 6:00pm (I’ve been to those too), my attention span simply whithers away by the end of the day and then by the end of the week. I stop learning. In contrast the skiing/exercise break rejuvenates me and to my shock I was actually understanding people’s scientific points in late evening talks.

    I’ll note that a trip to a conference in the Italian Alps is not necessarily more expensive than a trip to a conference in New York, Sydney, Tokyo, or London. In the latter you will have cheaper airfare since they are hubs, but the hotel costs and conference location rental costs will be maximized. Major convention centres in major cities are extremely expensive.

    • I guess the biggest difference with astronomy compared to medicine is that there’s no equivalent to the drug companies. There is some early infestation from Christian groups (Templeton Foundation, etc) trying to promote “god and the universe” research but it’s currently a small infection proportionally.

      The closest analogue might be climatology, which the petroleum companies are trying to infest. At this time they’ve succeeded in capturing a few climatologists, which is all they need for newspapers to present “both sides”.

  26. Dr. Fung, you are my Hero!!!

  27. It’s a disgrace.
    We were banned from attending a CME at my practice (Veterinary, NZ) because we were not retailing any products from the sponsor (because we choose not sell food to our clients which we believe contributes to the development of chronic disease).

    • If people would simply apply the implications of the theory of evolution (paleo thinking) to their buying of their dog food (and their human food), these kinds of dietary abuse against dogs would stop. It really isn’t rocket science.

  28. In case you are wondering why your physician won’t get behind your LCHF diet and IF protocol…

    Great read. Many thanks to Dr. Fung!

    • So true. They never hear about it and they think that you and me and the rest of us are a bunch of nincompoops.

  29. The dirty little secret is that virtually all CME is sponsored heavily by Big Pharma giving them huge influence over what information is presented to doctors.

    The exact same thing goes for conventionally-practicing nutritionists and dietitians, only their CME is sponsored by fast food companies, as well as Big Food. You wonder why people are consistently misled about what consists of healthy food, and how many times we should eat daily? The sponsors of this mis-education want us to eat as much of their junk as often as we can…ANYTHING TO PROMOTE CONSUMPTION OF THEIR PRODUCTS!!

    And what happens when we consume their products? I think we all know the answer. It’s a giant, vicious circle that keeps a portion of the economy alive.

    Note to Roberta above: my doc doesn’t approve of what I’m, doing, but she can’t stop me from doing it. She also can’t make me fill the statin prescription she wrote for me some years ago (and I never filled). I do what I do IN SPITE of her, and get copies of my lab work sent to the house so I can keep track of myself BY myself. I see that I’m fine, but she sees me as a cholesterol mess. I know she isn’t going to wake up any time soon, because the medicine SHE practices is expedient enough for someone practicing for money, and not for true wellness–that’s why I only use her for physicals and insurance-covered lab tests.

  30. Thank you for this scathing article. It is brave to say the least. I would also add that there is a good place to donate money that is working to produce reliable science on nutrition and health and that is NuSI.org

  31. Using Doctors authority to sell products which harm us and keep us reliant on them. Operating the most profitable industry on earth. Their sheer audacity is absolutely breath taking.

  32. TJtheGrouch

    Dear Dr. Fung:
    As always, great post! I am a retired orthopaedic surgeon and I am sure that you have, maybe not saved, but certainly prolonged my life. Please, be careful! I am sure that you are going to wind up on some “harm” list, these bastards have money.

  33. Juliet Chin

    Hats off to you, Dr Jason Fung. My sincere gratitude and admiration for you is evergreen. I am on my way to reversing T2, all thanks to you. I pray that God bless you and yours.

  34. Dr fung,

    I can’t believe the set balls you have on you to speak truth to power! I’m sure you have received covert support and overt push back from some your colleagues. I wonder, however if there has been any official or quasi-official sanctions you have received or if the powers that be have taken action? My own view is that that most doctors are real people who want to help others, but many believe that most patients won’t follow through or they can’t combat the huge marketing efforts of big sugar and big grain.

    I have found since going low carb, I have lost 60 pounds and many health problems I had melted away with the weight. The only issue I have now is people not recognizing me or changing official id… I think the fact that food producers are in fact adding a toxin or poison to our food supply (sugar) and trying to claim it is benign, and ignoring the science is not surprising especially with the profits involved.

    If you look at this from an economic view it’s clear. Tea was used with copious amounts of sugar in industrial northern England to keep workers awake on their dangerous weaving machines. Sweet tea is still a treat in poor India, where diabetes is rampant. Companies like Cadbury, have chocolate bars in vending machines in the uk in ubiquitous locations, as is here in Canada, but less frequently. The famous hospital vending machines with soft drinks, juice, hot chocolate, chips, chocolate bars and granola bars, they might as well be vending cigarettes.

    My own physician is a great guy, he is supporting me on the “down low” regarding keto or lchf, but the nurse at the clinic and diatician are aghast! They can’t argue with the numbers, but what I find amusing is they attribute my success with losing weight, not how the weight was lost. The dietician still tries to ply carbs and eating small frequent meals daily, I just ignore her to keep the peace with the rest of the health team, but wonder how ethical this is on her part and mine. I could go on, but I applaud your actions and have viewed all your lectures and read your books. They are pitched at good level, not too technical, but enough to get the point across, with lots of humour to leaven this deadly serious message.

    Good luck and please continue, I hope that we in Canada can develop an alternate path from the us, and avoid the health outcomes they have there…

  35. In June I went for my physical. My LDL is high (I have a fatty liver) and although my FBG is 6.3, it is down from last year. My doctor wants me on statins. We’ve had this discussion before and I have expressed my refusal due to the side effects. He was trying to convince me that the statins would lower my FBG, which he said was getting out of hand. He was so angry with me and said I was just anti-Big Pharmacy and he was angry that I was getting my information from the Internet.

    I am glad I am getting my information from the Internet and not being brainwashed by the Big Pharmacies so that I know better than to take one of their poisons. My father had type 2 diabetes and I think the guidance given him by the doctors and the Canadian Diabetes Association, is partially to blame for him being so sick before he died. Probably even led to his early death.

    I am now eating one meal a day, losing weight and I am going to go for longer fasts in the next couple of weeks. I am using Dr. Fung’s methods for healing myself. Thank you for writing such a great book as The Obesity Code. I have pre-ordered The Complete Guide to Fasting: Heal Your Body Through Intermittent, Alternate-Day, and Extended Fasting and am looking forward to receiving it.

  36. I enjoy reading your blog and admire your effort to continuously write and share your knowledge! I’m pediatrician from Europe (Serbia), and I used to think that things are different in CME in Canada in USA. How wrong I was!!! The same is in Serbia and Europe, and at universities, too. There are some professors from medical school who still have their integrity and decency, but they will disappear soon…
    I work in small town, but nobody can stop me to think. My hospital, like many others in Serbia, hasn’t money to buy medical journals, but I use Serbian National Library service (KoBSON) to read medical literature. If you rely only on lectures and presentations from “Big Pharma’s payed doctors and proffesors”, you can be manipulated and start to think as they told you to think.
    Someone says that your knowledge is up-to-date if you hear nothing new at CME lectures. Physicians have to read every day, think and ask themselves, not to be “blind followers”.
    Congratulations for your brave text again! Your patients are happy to have you!

  37. The Bible book of Daniel at Daniel 12:4 says the “true Knowledge” will become abundant in the last days. This not only concerns Bible prophecy but true knowledge of what’s happening in our world of the corrupting and dishonest things going on. People are being exposed as fraudulent and only get away with it for so long; God knows what’s happening and His purpose is to cleanse the earth of all wicked men, and that’s coming very soon. God is not a mean Creator, and there is no burning hell as some would believe. The Bible states that Jesus body did not see corruption in hell, (King James version). This means it did not decay in the grave, for hell is the old English term for grave.
    I also applaud those who seek the truth in everything and want to benefit others with true knowledge.

  38. Thank you for the fine article. I can feel your frustration from the words in your paragraphs.

  39. Dr. Fung, I have read your book The Obesity Code and I found I just couldn’t put it down. I am now telling anyone who listens to me to buy the book! I have watched you and a few others like you (Dr.Stephen Phinney is great too) on You Tube and I want to thank you for your honesty! My husband and I feel let down by the UK health service and our government but it is our own fault if we allow ourselves to remain ignorant. We are in our 50s and we are fasting and eating LCHF and we feel and look great. Thank you again!

  40. Another wonderful article Dr Fung. Blowing the lid on big Pharma and how it’s trying to keep us all sick and on medication for the rest of our lives. Thank God for the Internet. Looking forward to your new book.

    • Dolorese Plante

      Same for my husband and I, the Obesity Code was a life-saver (literally)!
      My husband was type 2 diabetes taking 70 units of insulin a day. After two weeks following a LCHF diet, with intermittent fasting (and some longer fasting periods too), he discontinued his insulin. Now after 40 days, his blood sugar readings are now between 7-7.4 daily!
      Myself, I’ve lost nearly 20 pounds and feeling great, no longer have IBS symptoms or fibromyalgia pain!
      I’m frustrated with the medical community and perplexed to see so many MD’s acting as sheep for the Pharma companies. Neither my husband and I have any medical training and trusted our MD’s to guide us to good health, I’m just glad that we’ve had the common sense to question them before they killed either of us.
      Our new motto is: Don’t believe everything you’re told, look for evidence, the “proof is in the pudding”.
      If a MD is prescribing treatment- ask and look for evidence:
      What is the success rate?
      What is the contraindications?
      How will it affect your overall health?
      Will the treatment heal you or create a life-long dependency on them (and their drugs)?
      Thanks to Dr. Fung I feel empowered and educated.

  41. Even more frightening now Monsanto and Bayern are merging !!!!

  42. I think I am your newest fan! Thank you for putting it all out there. I felt this way about big Pharm ever since watching my favorite movie of all time–The Fugitive. I sure hope folks in the medical field read this and look inward to see what they can do to make a change.

  43. Shame on them!! Prostitutes are more useful for the society than these bastards.
    I wish there were more doctors like you.

  44. My father was a mining engineer taught in the late 1940’s before plate tectonics was discovered and proven in the 1960’s. He said there were completely different explanations for everything geological, mountain formation, volcanoes, earthquakes..etc. Kind of similar to what Medical Doctors are going through, realizing that their education is maybe all wrong.

  45. Dolorese Plante

    Dr Fung,
    You’re my hero! Keep on telling the truth.

  46. Thanks again, Dr. Fung, for your straightforward insight and practical style. It’s sad, disgusting and horrifying that people are dying everyday because of Big Pharma and Big Food. I follow you and read everything you write – just finished your FASTING book and it really is the best resource of it’s kind. Like Sara says above – I wish there were more doctors like you. Keep up the great and life-altering work.

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