Thursday, May 24, 2007

You thought the pharmaceutical industry was slimy... version 2

In this season where time is valuable and finals are so close, I'm resorting to a sneaky measure basically the same as re-gifting... putting some nice new wrapping paper on a previous gift and handing it off as something new. Yes, I'm re-dating a blog post as if I just wrote it today.

Okay, not really. I'm just kindof supplementing it. There's a reason to this, beyond the fact that I'm too busy to actually write a whole new post: it's that though my daily study time devoted to procrastination, I found another incredible article about drug reps.
It's hefty, but well-written and choc-full of fascinating and jaw-dropping anecdotes.

Take, for instance, the drug rep who arranged for a doctor to receive an "unrestricted educational grant" of $35,000 from a drug company...the doctor requested the cash so he could install a swimming pool in his back yard.

This whole crazy world of drug reps is one that I'm just starting to learn about. As a medical student, it's a little scary. I'd like to say that I'll be immune to it, but if I'm faced with accepting the kleenex box with a drug company's name on it, what's wrong with that? And if that's ok, then what's wrong with taking the pen? then the anatomical poster - it's for my patient's benefit! then lunch for my office staff, and then the dinner at a steakhouse, then a trip to Paris, and then asking for an unrestricted educational grant of $35,000??

Here's the link to the article.

And here's the link to my previous blog post, in case you missed it.




2 comments:

Richard said...

Good article, and interesting discussion at the end about the idea of "free market medicine", where the primary ethic of the physician is no longer beneficence.

Alice said...

I don't think the slope is quite that slippery. I think you can draw a line quite neatly, somewhere between lunch and dinner. :) Perhaps, to be quite safe, one should draw it excluding lunch - which will make your nurses and secretaries rather unhappy with you. But I don't see why being willing to go out to a fancy, only partially-educational dinner directly leads to asking for, and taking, $35,000 to build a pool with. The means of getting it, the amount involved, and the purpose, are all quite out of bounds.

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