Saturday, March 7, 2009

Reforming Medical Ethics




I just received an email from the American Academy of Ophthalmology, of which I am a member. The email was about new ethical standards to be observed by pharmaceutical company representatives in their dealings with physicians. The idea is that if a sales rep gives me a pen or a pad of post-its with the name of a drug on it, I might thereby be induced to prescribe that drug to patients even when they do not need it, and the patient would have to spend his hard-earned money on that company's product. I am, after all, human, and,therefore, weak. And our government, our country, our Congress, can not take the chance that doctors like me, in our weakness, might yield to the temptation to prescribe drugs simply because sales reps give us pens. Here is what the email said, in part:


Companies and their representatives cannot provide or pay for any entertainment
or recreational activities for you or your staff, even if business or education
is conducted as part of the event.
Companies and their representatives cannot distribute any branded non-educational items, such as notepads, mugs, pens or other “reminder” objects that typically have a company or product logo.
Only occasional modest meals may be provided to health care professionals, and only
in settings conducive to informational presentations. Meals for spouses and
guests are not permitted. [emphasis added]


I am OK with this. The pens were lousy. But I have one question: do lobbyists follow the same rules when they are asking members of Congress to spend my hard-earned tax dollars?

9 comments:

akates said...

Heh. Probably not. Hey, look at that: we agree!

Desman said...

I knew you would agree on this one. How could anybody not agree.
Did you like the original art work?

Bafflegabbed said...

Are these government regulations or American Academy of Opthalmology rules?

Desman said...

They are pharmaceutical industry rules, that are supported by the AAO. But the impetus comes from Congress, especially Democrats like the detestable Fortney "Pete" Stark and Henry Waxman.

Bafflegabbed said...

From now on, to show your to displeasure with this new policy, only prescribe warm compresses to your patients.

Desman said...

I want to get treated the same way that Chuck U. Schumer gets treated by union and environmental lobbyists, or the way Christopher Dodd was treated by Countrywide Mortgage lobbyists, or the way Senator Obama was treated by Acorn and NEA lobbyists. Is that too much to ask?

Bafflegabbed said...

Not at all. That's how America works. Everyone should get treated the way McConnell gets treated by Tobacco lobbyists, Cornyn gets treated by Oil lobbyists or McCain gets treated by gun lobbyists.

We're in agreement on that.

akates said...

Where are the art lobbyists? I learned in school that the three most hated types of "professionals" in this country are lawyers, politicians, and artists. Food for thought. Sorry, bafflegabbed, that it's not just food.

Bafflegabbed said...

Mmmmm, food.