Thursday, February 5, 2009

Incentives for doctors to overprescribe must stop

Doctors are receiving incentives, for prescribing medications, from pharmaceutical companies.

Fortney H. "Pete" Stark, a central California Congressman (Dem.), spoke on the practice.

The New York Times gave attention to this issue last month:
Barry Meier, "An Rx for Ethics: New Rules on Doctors and Medical Firms Amid Conflict Concerns," January 24, 2009, p. B1.

Jerry Avron of Harvard Medical School said that "Most of what doctors know about drugs comes from the industry, and that's not healthy." (Elizabeth Williamson and Christopher Lee, "Conflict Alleged in Drug Firms' Education Role" "Washington Post" June 27, 2007 p. A 3.)

Until these incentives (and any kickbacks from pharmaceuticals to doctors) are entirely eradicated, we should be apprehensive when doctors are eager to get us onto regular prescription regimens.

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