Monday, June 2, 2008

Medical Whores

I just got an email news report from a conference, where one of the speakers rebukes pretty much every ophthalmologist for not using a certain type of vision correcting lens. The speaker is a leading name in refractive ophthalmology. But there is one big problem. The speaker is also a consultant for the company that makes the lenses.

The last conference I attended, a panel of such MD-whores got up and spent 45 minutes extolling the virtues of Retasis drops (a formulation of cyclosporin used to treat dry eye). Any question that came to them was answered unequivocally in favor of drug company, their almighty pimp.

"How long do you recommend using Retasis?" "Indefinitely."
"It's indicated for severe dry eye, but do you recommend it for mild dry eye too." "Absolutely."
"Are there any other indications for its use?" "It can help with scraped knees and pimples, too."
"Is there a shower outside this room, because I feel pretty dirty just listening to you guys." "Sure, first door on the left, and make sure you use the Retasis shampoo."

Why we doctors continue to attend industry sponsored CME luncheons just to listen to these medical whores is unknown. Oh, wait, it actually is known. We're such a cheap lot, we'll do anything for a free lunch, as long as the salad has nice crisp croûtons. Next time I go to one of these conferences, I'll hang a sign around my neck that says, "Will buy your drug for food," which is its own variety of medical whoring.

6 comments:

dominic said...

I remember my boss was invited to a new business networking group where entrepreneurs and business reps meet up and share info about their work, exchange leads and referrals, etc. Well, it turned out that instead of each guest sharing the routine elevator speech and brief presentations(along with snacks) the meet-and-greet was quickly turned into a 30 minute timeshare vacation presentation.

Salespeople will do tricky things to get you to hear their script. The educational gathering is a good one though.

Anonymous said...

This was one of the best I've read for quite some time. I've been a doctor since 1980, and I've never understood why the drug reps think that ballpoint pens and open sandwiches are the only items needed to get me to prescribe their items.(Sometimes admittedly they do splash; a trip to Hawaii or Taiwan with all expenses paid; but that's only for the GYN doctors, not for us OB's) So quite early in my years I developed the habit of using fountain pens (thus making me independent of the ballpoint pen bribes) and converting to the orthodox church (thus being unable to eat meat on fast days, for some reason or other the food bribes usually comes around on Wednesdays and Fridays - is there a law to that effect?).

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

We have these people in the environmental field, too.

Marianas Eye said...

Sorry to hear it. I thought it was just us.

Saipan Writer said...

This kind of corruption starts early, and is very insidious, creeping up and taking over without anyone looking too seriously at it.

Anonymous said...

I hate it when experts at conferences are doing nothing but providing adverts for their paymasters...

Interesting post. I will be back to read again

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