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.


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.

Anonymous 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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