Giving gifts not good for doctors
Giving Gifts To Doctors Not Good For Patients 25 Jan 2006
The medical profession is challenged by the conflict of interest between a doctor's commitment to his/her patient's interests and drug companies' product promotion. The prestigious Institute of Medicine as a Profession at Columbia University, New York, says that current self-regulation on giving gifts to doctors does not protect patients enough.
In a paper, the Institute says more stringent regulation is needed. It proposes a policy for academic medical centers to take the lead in eradicating doctors' conflicts of interest. This would include stricter controls on support for continuing medical education activity carried out by pharmaceutical companies.
The paper also calls for the end of free samples. The President of the Institute, D Rothman, says a gift requires reciprocity. Even though doctors say they cannot be bought, he believes gifts do influence prescribing patterns. He says that what should underlie doctors' prescribing ought to be scientific knowledge and patients' interests, not reciprocity - be it conscious or unconscious.
You can read the paper in the January 25 issue of JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association).The pharmaceutical industry in the USA spends $21 billion on marketing. According to the report, a large part of this is directed at physicians.
Even medical students get gifts and attend events paid for by drug makers.
Written by: Christian Nordqvist - Editor: Medical News Today