Doctor's Note

No wonder physicians undervalue lifestyle interventions! See The Actual Benefit of Diet vs. Drugs and Why Prevention is Worth a Ton of Cure. Inundated by Big Pharma without so much as a free mug from Big Broccoli Physicians May Be Missing Their Most Important Tool. And even worse, sometimes the drugs can do more harm then good. See my video on How Doctors Responded to Being Named a Leading Killer.

Financial arrangements can affect prescribing behavior for more than just drugs. See my recent video Should We All Get Colonoscopies Starting at Age 50?.

PS: I have never knowingly accepted gifts from the pharmaceutical industry, but “knowingly” is an important caveat. If you search for my name in the Dollars for Docs database you’ll see I apparently accepted money from a vision care company two years ago. I was giving a continuing medical education lecture at an optometric physicians conference and unbeknownst to me they had the corporation pay for my travel and lodging.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

To post comments or questions into our discussion board, first log into Disqus with your NutritionFacts.org account or with one of the accepted social media logins. Click on Login to choose a login method. Click here for help.

  • chris

    Does this practice operate in the UK – and if so do we have an equivalent web site?????

    Any UK Dr’s please step forward….

    • Noe Marcial

      thank you for rise this topic NF team :)
      i also would like to know how it works in spain.. I only know that the prices for the treatments and medicines it is the higher possible to the pharmaceutical to sell it. and nothing have to do with the cost of the research or production of it.. thats sad when it comes to terminal disease that is when the prices are the hierst and are the only option.

    • Noe Marcial

      here the link to find out if your doctor is taking money from the pharmaceutical companies
      https://projects.propublica.org/docdollars/

      • Noe Marcial

        Michael i have found you name in Open payments data… and 100.000 dollars from Broccoli company! :P hahah
        just joking..I think we have to donate some money to you.. :) , good Job!

    • Christo

      Doc in Indonesia also take money and reward from pharmaceutical company. i guess, few of them stay out from this practice… and am sure its getting rare

  • mbglife

    Off topic question: I seem to recall that a few years ago Dr Greger advised not to get more than 40% of daily calories from grains. Am I remembering this right and if so, what’s the reasoning for this?
    Mark G.

    • Julie

      Not sure about what Dr. Greger advises. However, grains promote acidic pH in the body. The more grains you eat, the more alkaline plants, especially greens, you’ll need to eat to counter the acidity. Personally, although I do not eat acidic animal products, the only way I can keep my morning urine pH close to healthy 7 is to restrict grain intake. Instead of grains, I get my complex carbs from alkaline starchy veggies like winter squash, sweet potatoes and potatoes.

      • mbglife

        Interesting. Thanks.

      • Jeremytd

        Julie: Evidently you’ve checked the pH of urine upon waking up in the morning. Do you see any clear difference among grains? For example, wheat vs rice? I eat a lot of rice but little of other grains, which why I’m curious.

      • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

        But not all grains are acid forming, and if I may add the acidify of grains pales in comparison to beef, tuna, chicken, or cheese. Pasta is actually alkaline and another reason why I am big on pasta is because it has a low GI.

        • jeremytd

          Thank you for referring me to the video Joseph. It doesn’t mention whether the experiment used whole-grain pasta or conventional kind. Do you happen to know whether both kinds are alkalizing or just the whole=grain pasta?

          • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

            Whole grain is preferred, but I think this was regular pasta.

          • shanepell

            What do you make of millet as far as being bad for thyroid?
            I have come across some bad news on millet re: thyroid. Dr Greger have any
            info. on this?

          • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

            Yes, many foods can affect thyroid function the key is making sure to have enough iodine in the diet.

        • Thea

          Ohhhh, big on pasta! I can get on board with that!! :-)

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      I am not sure where this came from. If I know Dr. G he typically avoids speaking in percentages. The quality of the foods matters most, not necessarily the quantity. In some videos, Dr. Greger highlights clinical research conducted by the Physicians Committee showing that excess body weight and poor diabetic control could be improved by a whole foods plant based diet. In this study (and the GEICO one), there was no limit on the amount of grains one consumed. No one was asked to portion their grains. Dr. Greger presents the study in this video. And Dr. Greger’s book, Carbophobia, has much more solid information.

      • mbglife

        Thanks, Joseph. I asked because from time to time I’ll want that extra serving of farro or Manna brand bread (which is lightly ground/lightly cooked) and I’ll wonder if I’m eatting too much grains for the day. Nice to know I didn’t recall that one right. It might have been a reader comment attributed to Dr Greger. Doesn’t matter. Thanks for the info.
        Mark G.

        • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

          Anytime! I am big on grains, and especially pasta since it’s not only alkaline but low in the glycemic index. And delicious :-)

        • Thea

          mbglife: re: “…from time to time I’ll want…” My 2 cents is: While the devil is in the details, if it really is “from time to time”, I don’t think it is worth worrying about. Slightly overdosing on a very healthy food on occasion seems like a pretty good way to indulge to me. If that’s your worse diet “sin”, I think you are miles and miles above so many people.

          None of which is meant to discount the question. I can see why you want to know and it’s a good question. I was just putting a different perspective on it. Take care.

  • Julie

    This is really helpful information. I looked up our pediatrician on the Dollars for Docs page and she was not listed–yay! Before going to any doctor from now on, I will look up their connection to the drug industry. The more ties they have, the more of a drug pusher they’ll be.

  • So, basically, some Congressman passed this bill telling doctor’s they ‘couldn’t hide anymore’, which I totally agree with. But isn’t that a bit hypocritical? Considering the amount of kickbacks they get in Congress and the fact that they don’t have to disclose all the dirty money going to them which is FAR more than the money doctors are getting, I’m sure. If they feel it is so important for doctors not to hide, it’s time for full disclosure from Congress, too. So we can see just how many Monsanto/Big Food/Big Pharma stooges we have in Congress. But, of course, they won’t. They’ll just point the finger at someone else, instead, as usual.

    • peseta11

      Alexander, I wrote Sen. Grassley (of Iowa) quoting your email and suggesting he try that quixotic idea, if only for the publicity, which would be free from various orgs upset by the influence of the interests you cited. You, and others equally upset by Congress’ behavior or absence thereof, might think of doing the same.

  • George

    Dear Dr. Greger: I have a suggestion. It’s very difficult to find nutritionally oriented doctors, for two reasons: 1) There aren’t many of them 2) There’s no systematic way to find one at a convenient location. The only way then is to ask around, which doesn’t usually work because most patients only want a pill that takes care of their symptoms as fast as possible regardless of the long-term consequences. Please create, on nutrtionfacts.org, a data base of nutritionally oriented doctors in the US, searchable by zip code. Presumably, such doctors would not be taking bribes from pharmaceutical companies, and you’d be doing a big service to both patients who don’t like to take drugs and doctors who believe in prevention. Thank you

  • plant_this_thought

    Payola.

  • Craig

    one man’s conflict of interest, is another man’s confluence of interest.

    • plant_this_thought

      It is perhaps ultimately fruitless to try to legislate greed, but laws can protect the innocent and unwary. I don’t expect doctors to be saints, but I do hold them to a higher standard. There is no substitute for being informed, however. By the way, Dr. Greger himself shows up as having accepted $449. This seems like a very reasonable number that is nonetheless short of perfection.

      • Craig

        i think all this can be legislated and stopped. the problem is there is no will do so by the same entities that make all the laws- LAWYERS! i.e. the congressional lawyers that make all the rules, while the rest of us do real work raising our families. We have the best government money can buy.

      • Dominic

        From Dr. Greger’s Doctor’s Note:

        PS: I have never knowingly accepted gifts from the pharmaceutical industry, but “knowingly” is an important caveat. If you search for my name in the Dollars for Docs database you’ll see I apparently accepted money from a vision care company two years ago. I was giving a continuing medical education lecture at an optometric physicians conference and unbeknownst to me they had the corporation pay for my travel and lodging.

        • lilyroza

          Shouldn’t the doctors who contracted with the corporation be listed in your place? You worked for your money, they received the gift. Otherwise doctors can get out of being listed by having the corporations pay their bills?

        • plant_this_thought

          Oops! Missed that note. My bad.

      • Rhombopterix

        I think if you dig a little deeper you’ll find that all 449 bucks was from the Kale R Us foundation. They’re keeping him in golf balls and those little wooden tee’s.

        • plant_this_thought

          :)

  • Peter Westphal

    Thank for a video on this important subject. If you are a patient it a good idea to educate your selv in order not to get hurt or killed: http://www.deadlymedicines.dk

  • Toni

    I found a doctor, luckily not mine, that received $104,000 when I searched on Dollars for Docs. Wow!

  • Noe Marcial

    it is sad that we live in a corrupt world. I wonder if could be created a University for good Physicians with No influences of industry and where personal interest be questioned hardly and each person have to really learn about corruption in one self… it is possible to create a university like that? or it will be illegal? if it possible lets do it! and if exist please let me know :)

    • Rhombopterix

      Everything is illegal now Noe…the Man just selectively enforces to suit..the Man.

  • Joe Caner

    Whoa Righteous bucks! Dr. Sujata Narayan of San Diego, CA has the dubious distinction of being the most highly rewarded doctor in California by the pharmaceutical industry receiving $43,860,020 from four different companies over seven payments. Although, after a little digging, I found a news paper article that reported that they’d received $54M for the sale of the their medical device company to Abbott Laboratories.

    The article went on to site Dr. Peter Newton, chief of orthopedics and scoliosis at Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego, who received 102 payments totaling nearly $1.4 million, according to the data. Newton said he does not receive gifts, and the payments are royalties for a spinal implant device he developed.
    http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2015/jul/29/doctors-got-84m-from-drug-companies/

  • Panchito

    If you have ever tried to educate someone about something unwelcome, you know about resistance. Some people ‘chose’ the version that favours them economically at the expense of morality. And being exposed, makes them uncomfortable. History is also very uncomfortable to read to those that benefited from ruthless actions.

    More articles here:

    https://www.propublica.org/series/dollars-for-docs

  • Rhombopterix

    How long has this been going on? I vaguely remember hearing something about the sunshine thing..but how is it possible that this is the first we’ve heard these details? Fox news? NBC, BBC(!) somebody…can’t they see the story in this? Name and shame.

    Don’t despair, the good news: the tide is slowly turning in our favour…except the less good news is its flooding Vanuatu!

  • HemoDynamic, MD – NF Volunteer

    Great review. One thing I would like to say though is that if you do look up your doctors don’t just look How Much monies they have received also look at the details. Why? Because some of the doc’s who have sums given to them (especially in the millions) have developed a device that they sold to a Drug or Device company and they are being paid for that development and/or royalties on their development. There are some doctors that do take questionable monies though.

    Here’s a fun one to look at and read about: Search for Dr. Sujata Narayan. He was paid $43,860,020 from Topera Inc.
    Click on the “additional details on this payment” area and it reveals that this payment was an acquisition.

    Dr. Narayan and his colleagues created an amazing wire mesh that can map out the entire heart and see where abnormal impulses (heart beats) come from and then ablate (burn and destroy) those areas so the patient can live a more normal life without having life threatening arrhythmia (irregular heart beat).
    He created this wire mesh and then wrote the computer program that analyzes the data received from the mesh which can show in real time the 3 Dimensional structure of the heart and the areas in the heart of concern. Topera Medical

    I just want people to know that some Doctors are not scamming the system and are ethical, have morals and integrity!

    If you want to know about me search James Bennie.

    Sorry not much to share, I’m kinda boring.

    • chris

      I would like to call into question the “$2000 Charitable Donation” you made to the Las Vegas franchise of Spearmint Rhino. Are prostate massages really that expensive in your country – have you not heard of Thailand….

  • Rebecca Cody

    How can we know which research to trust? Everybody, regardless of the diet they promote, backs up what they say with research. Although I’ve been reading nutrition books since the early 1960s, and I’ve studied nutrition more formally, enough to become certified as a nutritional therapy practitioner, I’m not educated in science enough to understand research papers. Sometimes I can get good information from the abstract, but sometimes even that is unfathomable to me.

    • Wade Patton

      Many times the research falls on it’s face for other than statistical analysis reasons, such as: size, duration, group studied, controls, funding/influence, etc. Statistical significance in the data generated is necessary, but don’t forget all the other things that necessary for validity and applicability.

      Also, find a doc or two you can trust to dig through all the mess _for you_, and sort it out with a ditty and a viddy now and then. ;-)

  • Ravish K

    Hi Doctor,

    Hope you are doing good. Thanks a lot for all your videos, I learn a lot from them.I have a question but sorry its not related to this topic-

    I read an article
    that whey protein alone does not increase igf-1 levels in blood as it
    gets destroyed during digestion BUT casein protein can increase igf-1
    levels in blood as casein provides a protective effect to igf-1 during
    digestion and Igf-1 does not get destroyed.
    Is it true ?

    Because I read in your article that whey protein alone also increases igf-1 in blood levels that can promote cancer risk.Request you to please clarify my doubt.
    Thanks a lot in advance.

    Regards,
    Ravish

  • Terry Newman

    In China doctors are paid miserably and work very hard. They are often physically attacked by patients because queues are very long and service levels are often poor – usually a few minutes per patient. The hospitals get commissions from pharma companies and these are divided up among the doctors depending on rank. I suppose you could at least argue that the payment is indirect, but it still smells. I am not sure if it is the same everywhere, but my doctor friends where I live have explained it this way. There are also direct gifts to doctors (red envelopes) from patients but this is becoming less common I am told.

  • Matthew Smith

    Selenium, found in Brazil Nuts is a cure for anxiety. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1873372

    • basehitz

      Thank you. Info has been added to my electronic library. . . which has become really ginormous thanks to Dr G and many others who are educating me.

  • shannon abernathey

    Thank you for all the work you do, Dr. Greger. But please tell us how a corporation paid for your travel and lodging without you knowing about it. Thanks

  • Wade Patton

    Now back to food/nutrition. Speaking of fiber…am I the only one who eats dry roasted peanut hulls along with the peanuts? Probably adds some fiber. Wonder how much. Can’t find any nutritional data on the peels, hulls, and shells of things normally tossed out. Go figure.

    • largelytrue

      I’ve eaten sunflower seed hulls out of convenience, and cooked with the semi dry parts of onion (concentrated flavor), but somehow the hulls of peanuts seem a bit much to me. A little known fact about peanut skins though is that they have appreciably dense in in polyphenols, including that much-hyped chemical, resveratrol.

      • Wade Patton

        I would have never considered eating peanut hulls but that some years back a company in this region was selling deep-fried whole peanuts. The sold them ready-to-eat, “Shell and all”.

        Of course deep frying isn’t a healthy choice, but later I was craving more salt when eating dry-roasted peanuts. I ate some hulls. Not bad, a bit fibrous but not bad. Now I generally open the peanuts, and if there are no signs of mold or other discolorations, I’ll eat half the hull with the nuts.

        I am wise to afla-toxins and therefore dodge any off colors.

  • 4Baccurate

    A cardiologist tried to prescribe at least three (3) drugs to my husband, saying that if he didn’t take them he could lose a leg. However, the adverse side effects history I had given him, he said he had read, “sort of.” Two of those drugs he tried to prescribe, had been associated with a bleed to the brain and intestinal hemorrhage. Checked ProPublica.org Dollars for Docs, and found that this doctor had taken at least $12,000 from Merck.

  • William George

    It’s not surprising that most people, don’t know that a lot of doctors get educated by the pharma industry, on how to use their products. So why would it be a surprise to have doctors paid to push the pharma products, it business as usual.

  • Karl Young

    Hey the docs can get a lot of junk food for $10 !

    And in the meantime Caveat Emptor ! And try to point everyone you know towards nutritionfacts.org.

  • GeminiRat

    Comedian and television host John Oliver of the show Last Week Tonight presented a “serious” spoof, if I may be allowed to use this oxymoron, on the marketing practices of pharmaceutical companies to both the pubic and to doctors.. Big Geek Daddy wrote “…if you want to put the pharmaceutical industry out of business ask your doctor if diet and exercise are right for you.” The 17 minute clip is both funny and troubling… http://biggeekdad.com/2015/02/ask-doctor/

    • Thea

      GeminiRat: Wow! I just had a chance to watch that clip. It was real eye opener. I knew about some of those details, but not all of them. For example, I’m appalled to learn that pharmacies sell our data to the drug companies. As upsetting as the clip is, it was also very entertaining. It’s a fun way to learn about the criminal situation we find ourselves in. Thanks for the link.

  • Grigory Syrkin

    1. Here is another fine example diverting attention from the REAL conflict of interest problem in healthcare while perpetuating negative physician stereotype.

    2. Where on that site are the names of the legislators and insurance executive that take money and how much? Also, just for comparison sake that front page should list how much tobacco, fast food and soft drink companies spend on lobbying and advertisement. Since it does not, I looked up some facts below.

    Straight from CDC.gov: 2013 tobacco ad spending $8.95 BILLION on cigarettes and another $503.2 MILLION on smokeless tobacco.
    BusinessInsider: McDonalds ~ $1 BILLION per year.
    Yale study: Soft drink companies in 2013 ~$866 MILLION, most targeted to children and teenagers.
    From opensecrets.org: pharmaceutical companies lobbying in 2015 $240,218,911.

    There are about 900’000 active physicians in US. Even if every single one went to a $100 pharma dinner TWICE a year, that would still be a small fraction of the marketing expenses of just one fast food company.

    Instead of shaming doctors, how about passing a law that would prohibit direct marketing to prescribers?

  • Glenda Hill

    Hi there,
    I am in Australia. Is there a similar register for doctors here?