Examples of Healthy Advice or Unhealthy Intrusions
From the Bioethics Forum October 27 2006 comes this article about frank pharmaceutical companies’ intrusions into the doctor-patient relationship all under the banner of health advice to the patient. Intrusions consist of video drug commercials on company supplied screens in the doctor’s office to company supplied laptops in the doctor’s office for the patients to enter their medical history and then the company provides specific health information to the patient. And if that isn’t enough, how about a pharmaceutical company supplying physicians with what the patients may think is their physicians own personal website but actually is a device, as described in the article, “designed to gather information about patients and to lure them to other web sites designed to trigger demands for specific drugs.” Read the article and let me know what you think. It seems that direct-to-consumer advertising in magazines and TV is not sufficient for pharmaceutical companies. Now they are inserting themselves right into the doctor-patient relationship. What better way to twist that relationship toward the direction of the drug company?
However,what I didn't get from the article was the motivation of the physicians who let the pharmaceutical companies into their offices and allow them to manipulate their patients and in effect interpose themselves into the doctor-patient relationship. Do the doctors get any financial benefit from the companies? What is the payback, if any? And does the health information provided to the patient by these various services sufficient to trump the possible unethical advertising? ..Maurice.