TRANSLATED FROM DUTCH:
The mighty pharmaceutical industry propagates pills with false claims, which they mainly benefit from, warns GP Hans van der Linde.
Van der Linde works one more day a week in the group practice in Capelle aan den IJssel where he has been practicing since 1975. In addition, he spends at least as much time on his activism. For the past 10 years he has been known for his criticism of the pharmaceutical industry, medical opinion leaders with conflicting interests, sponsored in-service training and flu vaccinations.
According to Van der Linde there is no evidence that the influenza vaccine works. He notes that by far the majority of GPs do not allow themselves to be vaccinated against the flu. “It has been vaccinated for 40 years so a study of efficacy could have been done long ago,” he says. “It is very strange and very suspicious that the pharmaceutical industry has not done that research.”
Just for the money
The general practitioner states that the vaccine has been put on the market purely out of self-interest and that there are many indications that it does not help. “It’s all about the money.”
In the Netherlands, the Health Council advises the government and the parliament on issues relating to public health. The minister must do what the Health Council says, says Van der Linde. He points out that unfortunately many people in the Health Council were related to the pharmaceutical industry. “And then you get and you have a closed circle.”
“Pharmaceutical companies are really trying to convince doctors and to deceive that their medicine is the best,” says the doctor. They use many complicated medical-technical arguments. Because general practitioners often do not have the time to dig through all relevant literature, they usually switch over.
Burden of proof is paper thin
Another problem, according to Van der Linde, is the hype about cholesterol. It is said that high cholesterol is dangerous, but that is in the eyes of the GP all terribly exaggerated and for a very large part not true.
Still, in the Netherlands every year 200 million euros are spent on pills that lower cholesterol. This unnecessary medication does lead to serious side effects, according to Van der Linde. “That while the burden of proof that it helps is thin.”
In the video above, Dirre van Wijk (11) talks to Hans van der Linde about how we are fooled by the pharmaceutical industry: