We’ve long known that medical companies of various sorts have sought to “buy” research which suits their respective agendas. As we’ve reported, pharmaceutical companies have tried (with success) to influence journals and experts via various means. One particularly egregious example we cited was with a group of scientists focused on influencing the official data on the efficacy of painkillers.
Of course companies try to buy practitioners as well as researchers. They hope the practitioners they have bought will persuade other practitioners who may not know about the payments. This doesn’t directly involve the government, but is still crony capitalism in action. Why? Because in a real capitalist system, the principal job of the government is to prevent the use of force and fraud against citizens. It should be obvious that a company making secret deals with crony dentists to promote their products, especially dangerous products to be used on children, is an egregious example of fraud. It is exactly the kind of conspiracy that Adam Smith warned about in the Wealth of Nations, which was an attack on crony capitalism published in 1776. But don’t expect the Federal Trade Commission or any government agency to be concerned about this kind of secret deal, done behind the public’s back, no matter how fraudulent or harmful it is. The companies and the government agencies are too close for the government to police it.