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Drug Companies Paying Doctors

     An astronaut was sitting in the capsule, preparing for launch. Reporters still had access to them, before closing the hatch. The reporter asked “How do you feel when you are an astronaut, ready to take off?”  The astronaut looked at the reporter with a tilted head and answered, “How would you feel if you were sitting on top of at least fifty thousand parts that were each supplied by the lowest bidder?”

     It’s a fact of life that we all believe that money does provide influence. In the past few years, opinions about doctors, have taken a “hit” , because it is suspected that they are being influenced by the money of drug companies. It is the reverse of the astronaut’s opinion that maybe, cheaper impacts quality. Maybe drug company money effects treatment.

     The Richmond Times-Dispatch   has reported that at least 10 Virginia doctors have earned in excess of 100k from drug companies, during the period of 2009-2010. It is published by a NY  non-profit group ProPublica, under its compiled “Dollars for Docs” database.

     There is a move to ban doctors from receiving compensation or gifts from drug companies. The doctors that were interviewed, as part of the reported 10 from Virginia, gave such explanations that by speaking for the drug companies,  it brought special medication and treatment  awareness; That they were not influenced by the money and that, as one diabetes doctor said, “I feel like I am in a good position to teach primary care doctors how to properly take care of type 2 diabetes”.

     I wonder how accepting money somehow causes a doctor to be in a better “teaching position”. I do think that drug ads that say “Ask your doctor if it’s right for you”, is doing no favors for the medical profession.

     People have become smarter about taking personal responsibility for their own care. Now, I think, just because a doctor says it, no longer means that it is fully believed by the public. However, isn’t that unfortunate? The good old days of going to your family physician and he or she knowing your entire family, sure sounds good today. Instead, we sit wondering whether the medicaion is being given because the doctor is being paid as a “drug consultant”.

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