Life savers ??
According to me, there are 2 professions in this world if practiced with only money in mind will lose its holiness and real purpose of it. One is a teacher and other is Doctor. But the current situation is absolutely pathetic with everybody running behind the money bot teachers and doctors were also not spared. This post is going to be kind on teachers by not taking then into picture and going to lash out at the doctors and the hospitals who were going against their conscience to get the money forgetting about the nobleness of their profession.
There are some things which are hard to believe in this world. Among them is a doctor getting bribe from the pharmaceutical companies to promote their drugs and medicines. When I first heard it, I am shaking my head in disbelief, but when I searched in net there are lot of things on this and this was a world wide phenomenon. Before going in detail about that with reports, I like to share an example:
Let us consider that, a child goes for the treatment to doctor and he writes the drug which is given by the company, which requires 2 dosage to cure the disease. If a right medicine is given, it will be cured in a single dose. World wide, if we take, many people were earning salary that is enough for the day’s food. An extra dosage of medicine means their(family) one bogus of meal is gone. Why I have said with child is, those people will not care about themselves much as they care for their child. For them, doctor was a god. Whatever he/she prescribes was right. But doctors using the innocence and limited knowledge of these people giving wrong medicines. At times, it goes beyond this. They are using the patients as specimens to test their new medicines.
This is an artile by Dr.Rema Nagarajan in TOI:
A platinum coupon if you prescribe drug ‘X’ to 10 patients. A gold coupon if you prescribe brand ‘Y’ to 25. The more coupons you get, the greater your chances of winning. The prizes: a car, frostfree refrigerators, TV sets, digital cameras and silver coins.
Such contests for doctors are not unknown in India. In one such case, 100 doctors who topped the prescribers’ charts from cities like Ahmedabad, Chennai, Alwar, Belgaum, Ambala and Agra participated in a lucky draw and were awarded publicly by the Gujarat-based Torrent Pharmaceutical.
The same company let some other doctors and their families sample Turkish cuisine and culture in Istanbul as part of an international symposium on metabolic medicine. Another lot from 12 metros splashed around in the best water parks in their cities courtesy the same company.
This company has also not spared expenses in helping ‘educate’ doctors to decide which drugs to prescribe — it took a batch of Lankan doctors on a safari to Kenya for ‘education’. These aren’t allegations — the information is available on the company’s own website. Here’s how it described the Istanbul junket: ‘‘Torrent has once again raised the bar in offering a perfect combination of knowledge sharing and hospitality in the pharma industry’’.
Of course, drug manufacturers are no strangers to handing out gifts to doctors. A pharma representative told TOI his firm’s Delhi operation has earmarked an annual budget of Rs 2 crore for freebies for doctors in the Capital alone. This does not include gifts and trips abroad.
In a case of pharma firms doling out freebie for doctors prescribing their drugs, it has been learnt that the Delhi operation of pharma company has earmarked an annual budget of Rs 2 crore for freebie for doctors in the Capital alone. And this is just one company’s budget. There are hundreds of such companies with comparable, and sometimes bigger, budgets.
Should this be legal? Several countries have brought in legislation to crack down on unethical marketing practices, and the penalties are stiff. Drug companies have had to cough up millions as fines in Europe, the US, Canada and Australia. Over 25 medical centres including prestigious ones like Harvard Medical School, Yale University, University of California and the Stanford School of Medicine have put in place strong policies that include zero tolerance for company gifts and free meals.
In India, however, we have vague assurances of self-regulation by the drug industry and reliance on doctors’ ethics. Both the associations of drug manufacturers in India, the Indian Drug Manufacturers Association (IDMA) and Organization of Pharmaceutical Producers of India (OPPI) on paper have a code of ethics for marketing practices with detailed procedure for registering and examining complaints.
The Federation of Medical Representatives Associations of India (FMRAI) had sent a complaint against Torrent with evidence to the IDMA. ‘‘Forget about acting on our complaint, IDMA has not even acknowledged receipt of the complaint,’’ says Amitava Guha, joint general secretary of FMRAI.
From the above article we can know that in addition to the amount spent on preparing the drugs, medicial companies were shelling out large amount of money to dcotors as a part of their ‘MARKETING CAMPAIGN’ 😡 Doctors too going against against their pledge of:
I solemnly pledge to consecrate my life to the service of humanity; I will practise my profession with conscience and dignity; the health of my patient will be my first consideration…
Another article in DNA news says that:
Consumers International, a global federation of consumer organisations, has come up with a study, “Drugs, Doctors and Dinners” that has found that pharmaceutical companies often bribe doctors in developing countries — like India — to needlessly prescribe their drugs.
The top culprits are vitamin supplements, cough syrups and painkillers. For giving these to patients for no reason doctors get goodies as varied and exciting as cars, laptops, club memberships and foreign holidays.
It is already well-known that several drugs that are banned in western countries are openly available over the counter in developing countries — many children’s cough syrups that were named as dangerous in the US can be bought freely in India.
But it is the erring doctors that are the key part of this scam. No one can disagree that it is unconscionable that medics can prescribe medicines for no reason just so that they can get a new car or travel abroad.
Overusage of painkillers, for instance, can lead to liver disease and internal haemorrhaging, many vitamin supplements are in fact useless and can be counterproductive, and cough syrups come with many side effects — doctors know this.
Yet, ignorance does not seem to be the problem here. Instead, it is greed.
Caveat emptor (buyer beware) is of course the usual precaution to take, but when it comes to matters medical, people are naturally concerned.
In the world:
This is one of the most important report on the practice of giving bribes to the doctors around the world.
Some of the key points from that report:
- In 1996, Dr P. Mansfield received funding for travel and accommodation from Sandoz to attend a meeting in Basel,Switzerland with then Sandoz CEO Daniel Vasella and staff to discuss drug promotion especially the promotion of bromocriptine to suppress breast milk production. Daniel Vasella is now CEO of Novartis, which was formed by amerger of Sandoz and Ciba Geigy.
- Dr Mansfield was provided with food and accommodation during a meeting in Mumbai by the Forum for MedicalEthics Society in 2003 and funded for travel, food and accommodation to speak at meetings in Brasília and PortoAlegra by ANVISA (Agência Nacional de Vigilância Sanitária – Brazilian Sanitary Surveillance Agency) in 2005.
There was a case study conducted with the help of the Malaysian dcotor with the period limit:
Dr Rafik Ibrahim is an experienced general practitioner in the area of Klang Valley, Selangor in Malaysia. Dr Ibrahim agreed to track all his interactions with drug companies for one month (27th July to 29th August 2007) as a case study on drug marketing in developing countries. In a span of five weeks, and in 17 hours of promotion-related interactions with drug sales representatives, 16 multinational pharmaceutical companies and 9 local generic companies and distributors approached Dr Ibrahim. The list also included 10 of the worlds’ top twenty pharmaceutical companies. The following table is an indication of the types of promotional materials provided by the key global market leaders:
This is not the only one(there is also example for India and Pakistan). If we go through that report we can see that all the countries were affected by this practice. Each and every country or UN itself has many laws to stop this but none of them were enforced completely to stop this.
Recommendations by this report:
Key recommendations at the company level:
1. Stop the practice of gifts to doctors
2. Implement rigorous policies on vetting of drug promotion materials and adherence to existing codes of conduct
3. Provide transparent and verifiable information on the precise nature of relationships and associated funding for all stakeholder groups, including health professionals, pharmacists, students, journalists, clinical research organisations and patient groups.
At an industry-wide level:
1. Ensure codes of conduct on drug promotion extend to interactions with health professionals AND consumers.
2. Invest in innovative partnerships withgovernment and civil society organisations so that corporate funding of disease awareness campaigns, and CME may be channelled via blind trusts in line with specific health priorities of consumers at a community or national level.
A open letter from Dr. Paul Cary:
The American doctor you interviewed last week about her book on pharmaceutical companies and their methods of promoting their products, failed to emphasize the relentless marketing directed at family doctors I have been offered everything from free golf games to week-ends in resort hotels, from free tickets for theatre festivals to dinner cruises. The evening invitations to the most expensive local restaurants arrive once or twice a week, let alone the free lunches which are mine for the asking. The most 1 have to do is sit through a half hour presentation of a company’s product.
In the not too distant past companies sponsored lectures by specialists for family doctors which were interesting and informative with only a passing reference to a company product. Now specialists have become little more than paid ‘shill’ for pharmaceutical companies’. In many cases the slides they use to illustrate their lectures have been supplied by the pharmaceutical company. The topics are all the same as companies are vying for the same lucrative markets. Personally I never want to hear another lecture about cholesterol and the wonderful statin drug I should be using. Their research figures are manipulated to turn a two per cent improvement into a fifty per cent improvement. Graphs are doctored by altering the scales to show substantial improvements where none exist.
The relentless promoting of asthma medications with lecture after sponsored lecture on the subject over nearly five years resulted in practically every child under twelve being prescribed very powerful steroid inhalers at huge cost, when cheaper and milder generic alternatives would have been suitable, or in many cases no medication at all was necessary. Now there is no generic steroid inhaler available in the pharmacies even if I want to prescribe one. Steroids have been available since my medical school days in the sixties, and yet we are paying out fifty to hundred dollars for asthma inhalers containing minuscule amounts of a class of drugs that are forty years old.
The pharmaceutical industry is the monster that is devouring medicare. No wonder provincial politicians want to off load drug costs on the Federal Government. Politicians won’t stand up to the pharmaceutical lobby that is financing their campaigns and employing their constituents, the medical associations are silent because they know their membership would rise in anger if their free perqs were threatened, and the professional medical journals are silent because they owe their existence to pharmaceutical advertising revenue.
My own experience and conclusion:
After saying everything there will be a question in your mind how I came to know this. Last time when I am affected with fever I went to a doctor whose clinic is nearby my father’s shop. He has given the prescriptions and I went to medical shop which is again nearby my father’s shop. Medical shop’s owner was a good friend of my father. He said that your father asked me to give the medicine from appropriate companies and not the ones written by the doctor as he is writing it on the advice of the companies. I couldn’t believe that at first but that’s the thing. When I thought that it’s confined to India or developing countires, its really shocking that it’s there in developed countries also. After all they are also humans.
So the only possible solution available in front of us is, not to believe the doctors blindly(Until you dont know about them). Just go to the medical shop you know and confirm whether they are right ones and can be taken. Until the governmnt takes some sternous steps this is the only possible solution in front of us.
To conclude here is the best thing:
the root of our problems too often lie not in an absence of laws, but in a failure to enforce them. Until this changes, perhaps all medical clinics and hospitals should carry this warning notice: Don’t get sick