Unethical practices - drug industry

J Aldridge aldridge at netcom.com
Tue Sep 12 01:13:06 EST 1995

maikai at aol.com (MAIKAI) writes:

>>>>It appears there is some concern on the part of at least one individual
>our group about the abundance of promotional literature in doctors'
>offices.  He or she stated that if they enter an office with a lot of
>promotional literature, they leave (not a quote but a paraphrase).<<<

>NO NO NO!!! I said promotional "items" not literature. By items I mean
>computers with the drug company's name plastererd all over it, briefcases,
>etc......items that are given as gifts to docs---with the drug company's
>name and drug in plain view.  Literature---particularly brochures that
>outline adverse side effects of drugs and symptoms to be aware of is a
>good idea.....since not all docs or pharmacists tell the patients of
>adverse effects, or why they are even prescribing the drug.      

Well, I've not met many doctors who prescribe egregariously. Doctors do
tend to prescribe but by tradename but I don't see a problem with that in
most cases since I can choose to take generic at the pharmacy.

I kind of favor some of the promotional stuff given by companies. If a
doctor knows a patient doesn't have money for medicines very often they can
make up the supply from their closets. And it's a good way to introduce
patients to non-prescriptions drugs they might otherwise not bother to try
out. For example, my gastroenterologist gave me a packet of Fiber-Con a
couple of weeks ago. I wasn't sold on the idea of trying it but since I
didn't have to go out and buy the first one I used it. Now that I like it I
find that it's the only brand on the pharmacy shelves. The pads and pencils
and other small stuff isn't likely to sway most doctors. 

Cash kickbacks, vacations, other likely to lead to abuse. I know that as a
heavy database user the database companies send me entry forms for vacation
drawings. As a matter of policy I don't enter. But I don't have qualms
about taking the free time offered for using a new database when they're
introducing it. Otherwise I'd probably not try most of them at all.

This is an area where professional standards can be imposed. Basically, the
medical societies can state where the line is drawn on accepting gifts from
pharmaceutical companies. And the public can dictate to the medical
societies, a letter to their committees might to the trick.


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