Tuesday, April 29, 2008

"Free" pizzza may be gone for students and house staff but speaker's bureaus may be another matter

Go here to read the NYT article on the recent statement made by the Association of Medical Colleges.

The Association seems adamant when it states ""drug and medical device companies should be banned from offering free food, gifts, travel and ghost-writing services to doctors, staff and students."

However, in regard to the sometimes lucrative and sometimes very lucrative speaker's bureaus a somewhat weaker statement emerges;

...medical schools should 'strongly discourage participation by their faculty in industry-sponsored speakers’ bureaus,' in which doctors are paid to promote the benefits of drugs and devices."

On the one hand, banning on the other discouragement.

Dr. Robert Alpern, Yale's Medical School dean, is quoted by the NYT as saying :

“I don’t have a problem with doctors making $3,000 or $5,000 a year on the side, but it’s a totally different thing when it’s $80,000,” he said. Even more distasteful, Dr. Alpern said, is that the slides used in many of these presentations are created by drug makers, not the speakers."

Is he really saying it is ok to be a "ghost speaker" (Alpern's term) if you don't get paid too much?
(We have already determined what you are, Madam, we are just negotiating the price now.)

Dr.Carlat believes we are entering a new era which he labels "post deceptive" Dr. Wes is less impressed.

Dr. Howard Brody who has had much to say about this general issue makes these comments.

My non-insider take is that there will be a flurry of high profile (within the institutions at least) announcements of "no more free lunches" and much self congratulation and talk of professionalism but somehow I doubt the faculty will give up the lucrative lecture gigs although a veneer of word smithed propriety and oversight will be grafted onto it.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

The fine print tell us that free food can still be handed out if the sponsors get the "CME" approved, which the medical propaganda companies seem to have no problem doing.Maybe fewer pizza handouts at med school, yes, but the community docs will still likely have more free food opportunities that they have time to attend.

Rural Physician said...

Agree to the above. Medical practitioners have been accused of being purchased and (mis)utilised by pharmaceutical companies.

Do not know about other countries, but in many a parts of India, the public ire against doctors is very scary.

In a recent incidence in Patna, Bihar; lay public became too much against doctors.
Link: http://www.orkut.co.in/CommMsgs.aspx?cmm=14272759&tid=5209313151390250014

and

http://pritonround.blogsot.com

And it is bad.