Friday, December 10, 2010

Is it About the Money?

A couple fo days ago, the Kansas City Star posted an aritcle entitled, Area doctors get pharmaceutical money for talks about drugs .

The articlew by Alan Bavley with The Kansas City Star stated:

A prominent cardiologist who’s written a diet book. A urologist who’s part of a booming group practice. A family practice doctor, two psychiatrists and two specialists in pain and rehabilitation.

They are area members of the $100,000-plus club — physicians paid six-figure sums by drug companies.

For their paychecks, the doctors give promotional talks to other doctors about the drugs the companies make. They lead forums. They serve as industry consultants.

More than 100 area doctors are taking money from drug companies for speaking gigs and other work, according to data from the nonprofit journalism organization ProPublica. From the beginning of last year through the first half of this year, area doctors have received at least $2.2 million.

The drug industry and the doctors themselves said they were doing an important job by teaching colleagues how to use medications and giving them the benefit of their experience dealing with patients.

Critics said education is not the only reason — or even the primary reason — why drug companies paid so much to doctors. They say it’s all about promoting the companies’ products.

And, critics said, the practice could lead to doctors prescribing drugs too often; prescribing problematic drugs; and writing prescriptions for more-expensive medications when cheaper ones would do.

Payments to physicians by drug companies is an issue that has simmered for years in the medical community.

The Association of American Medical Colleges and the Institute of Medicine have questioned whether doctors should participate in speakers’ bureaus for drug companies.

Certainly their are mixed reviews I have heard across the hospital and in the community. There is not necessarily a wrong or right answer, of course.

Overall, our healthcare system is trying to provide the highest quality care and help improve the health of our population, improve the patient experiences and lower the cost of providing our services.

So, what's your opinion on the physician fees received?


  1. Scott,
    My husband is a patient waiting in your hospital to have surgery Monday morning. I have been interested in America's healthcare system for decades. I find this blog on physicians who promote pharmaceutical methods among colleagues interesting. In a society where ethics seem to be the last consideration, I wonder if the healthcare providers consider how easily they can be swayed when profit is involved. Unfortunately, Americans suffer at the hands of large corporations who dip their fingers into the hearts of well intentioned healthcare providers and change their course. Thank you for addressing this important topic.

  2. My pleasure. Your husband is in great hands at our hospital. Please feel free to contact me with any concerns. All the best.