Write Lightning is a blog from writer Deb Thompson.
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Mon, Sep 18 2006

Free lunch and other medical misnomers

Stanford Medical Center is going to ban gifts from pharmaceutical companies. Dr. Greenberg made sense to me when he spoke of the ability to get drug information online. Patients can choose to educate themselves with this information or they can take a chance on using a prescription drug that was chosen based on which salesperson gave their doctor the best toy or talked up a storm and paid for some tired doctor's rushed little lunch.

And now it's a double whammy when drug companies advertise. We're seeing more and more ads on TV and in magazines aimed directly at the consumer. The ads often feature a phrase that encourages us to ask our doctors about this or that medication. Many times the commercial or ad doesn't even mention exactly what condition(s) the drug is used to treat. That's not encouraging responsible choices on the part of physicians. It's making salespeople out of patients. I'm surprised the companies haven't lobbied for the right to send free samples to the public. At the very least, it's likely to be only a matter of time before the pharmaceutical salespeople give their mugs and notepads directly to consumers. And all this comes when health care costs have risen to such heights that fewer employers are able to pay full coverage for employees and their dependents. Some TV commercials lately show a line at the end of the commercial that tells patients they may be able to get help directly from the drug company if they are unable to afford their prescriptions.

There's become very little logic to the current method of dispensing medications. And have we now gotten to a point where a physician has no time to stay well-informed about the medications he or she prescribes? If that's the case, a quick sales pitch in the hall or at lunch could end up in a fatal mistake for someone. Do we really want a physician who is that pressured and that out of touch with reality to be prescribing anything at all for any of us?

posted at: 08:14 | category: /Health and Fitness | link to this entry



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Stealin' copy is as bad as horse-thievin'
and cattle rustlin'! Lightning may strike
such varmints when they least expect it!