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To heck with negative publicity! Doctors still dig those drug-company freebies

June 22, 2010 | 12:10 pm

Doctor The public may have begun to raise a collective eyebrow at the largesse offered to doctors from drug makers and medical device manufacturers. Even the companies themselves have started to acknowledge the potential conflict of interest, or the perception of it. Medical schools too have begun to take a harder line on the matter. But individual doctors? They still kind of like this whole gift-giving, or rather, gift-getting practice.

Researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine surveyed doctors and medical students there to assess their opinions of industry interactions, gifts and the appropriateness of such things. True, the results are a reflection only of doctors and medical students at that institution, but the data offer a snapshot of how perspectives can vary, by specialty, by training level, by type of gift.

Overall, surgeons were fairly enthusiastic about relationships with drug and device manufacturers; pediatricians ... not so much. Here's the full doctors-and-gifts study.

The researchers write in their conclusion:

"Our overall finding of favorable physician attitudes toward industry suggests that individual physicians may be out of synch with trends among medical schools and public opinion and even industry itself. Although the evidence that physician-industry marketing relationships result in patient harm is inconclusive, US medical schools have increasingly adopted restrictive policies toward industry interactions, and there is widespread public concern that financial relationships between physicians and industry lead to conflicts of interest."

Here are two stories that provide a fuller examination of the broad issue: Doctor, Just a Little Something for You and And Now, There's a Growing Push for Reform.

Plus, a look at what medical schools are doing, A Pox on Drug Maker Freebies, Say Some Doctors, and the beginning of drug company pullback, Eli Lilly to Disclose Payments to Doctors.

Of note, this new survey found that most respondents believed other doctors were more likely to be swayed by such gifts than they themselves were.

-- Tami Dennis

Photo illustration credit: Myung J. Chun

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Comments (2)

Akin to the USA legal "system" in that it was designed to maximize the income of those earning their wealth from that system the USA medical "systems" have been manipulated by those earning their living from those systems to maximize their incomes.

A brief search about the American Medical Association (AMA) will reveal the many instances of collusion between the AMA and the USA governments (state and federal, mostly) to convey wealth and power to doctors and others (various organizations, firms, etc. etc.) at the expense of the masses of American people who are mainly powerless against the entrenched power structures and bureaucracies.

Note the constant, ongoing propaganda against unions that mainly assist the blue-collar "working class" underlings of society while the "upper-class" unions... that is all the AMA actually is, a doctors' union that economically benefits the medical industry at the great expense of those using the medical systems is seldom, if ever, lambasted or wrung out over the coals as those damnable commoners' unions are.

It is a racket and Obama's feeble attempts to "alter" the medical systems do not go anywhere near the root cause of MANY of the defects in the medical system that make the USA medical care so expensive and unavailable to so many USA citizens.

One, just ONE of MANY defects....

A working-poor USA citizen pays CASH for medical care. The TOP RATE is charged whereas somebody with health insurance and their health insurance provider receives a bill that is typically less to MUCH less than the bill received by the CASH PAYER.

The non-insured cash payer has basically no paperwork for the medical provider to contend with. No hoops to jump through. The uninsured cash payer is SUBSIDIZING the medical care of the insured AND the health insurance industry.

The cash payer also subsidizes the free medical care MILLIONS of illegal aliens receive while those illegals stagnate or reduce the wages of many low-income working poor who are so often cash paying medical care recipients.

Those illegal invader's demand for housing, to shelter their MILLIONS, increase the demand for affordable (if there is such a thing anymore) housing and due to the supply/demand law, drive up housing costs.

Renting for the working-poor can be upwards of 50-75 percent of the working-poor citizens income!!!!!

Cash-paying medical care recipients are hit triply hard!!!!!!

Subsidizing a HUGE group who should net even be here to so severely economically harm uninsured working-poor USA citizens!!!!!

It is an ongoing travesty offering proof of an actual class war.

There's class warfare, all right, Mr. (Warren) Buffett said, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning."

Why are people able to graduate from medical school and become a doctor in four years nearly anywhere outside the US?


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