Do gifts from pharmaceutical companies influence how physicians prescribe? This blog post gives a quick overview of the general angst over this much-flogged question. Let’s forget about the particulars of tchotchkes, samples, dinners, and cheerleaders-as-sales-reps for a moment. Think about the bigger issue – why is there some overhang of “WRONG” constantly overhanging this question of influence and sales? Consider this quote from the post:
“Until these issues are addressed, the drug industry will maintain significant influence over physicians’ prescribing patterns.”
Duh. Who else is supposed to have influence – journalists, politicians, and garbage collectors? Of course drug companies will influence the use of drugs – just as EVERY company in EVERY industry seeks to influence users to use their products. Let’s just change the quote a little bit:
“Until these issues of advertising, speech-making, earmarking, and over-promising are addressed, politicians will maintain significant influence over citizens’ voting patterns.”
“Until these issues of politically-correct agendas, union power, anti-school choice, and undeserved tenure are addressed, teachers will maintain significant influence over students’ learning patterns.”
Some people have very selective views of free markets, free speech, and influence. Just saying…
Medtronic and physician payments. Check out the numbers here. There is a difference between staying (technically) within legal lines, and something that really has an appearance of impropriety. In light of my rant above, I’d like to see a lot healthier dose of good judgment (rather than ten more rounds of regulation). Exposure, in this case, is good for the whole system.
Of course, sometimes things both look bad AND are outside the lines of legality. Allegedly, here may be one of those cases. But this sort of stuff happens everywhere, not just with drug companies. Lest people forget that the problem is corrupt PEOPLE, not simply a single industry.
Bit of a ranting mood this morning. Hopefully by tomorrow there will be some bigger news items to report!
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Impactiviti is a pharma consultancy focused on helping pharma/biotech/medical devices companies identify optimal vendors for training/marketing needs.