My problem is that most of what I receive comes from sources which do not disclose whether they represent vendors of drugs and equipment or are truly independent. How can I trust information which comes from cloudy sources which may be forwarding advertisers' hype? Why are providers of medical information not required to fully disclose conflicts of interest to the people who write the prescriptions and orders for the products they are promoting?
Even more confusing are academic sources. How do I know whether a report from a well-known investigator or institution is truthful, is part of an effort to attract more and better paying patients, or part of a plan to attract more grant money to support a training or research program?
It would not be improper for patients to ask physicians for their evidence supporting medical diagnoses and physician recommendations for testing and treatment and then to further ask the physicians for hard information about the reliability of the source of that information. The patient may get some strange looks and responses to such questions, but the physician being questioned will be more careful with, and respectful of, the person who asks. And as a patient - that's what you deserve.