With a new year comes new policy that may have significant change in how future physicians practice medicine. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) has adopted a new code of conduct that goes into effect January 2009.
Making drugs to fill prescriptions is a difficult task requiring years of research, money, and physicians who will prescribe them. A large sum of money is used to buy cheap pens, "free" lunches, or even more lavish gifts that entice clinicians to write a prescription for the latest wonder drug.
PhRMA has revised their code of conduct to put an end to the handouts among their distributing members. Freebies would otherwise raise the ethical question, "is my doctor prescribing this for my best interest or theirs?" Since handouts cost money, drug companies have to increase the cost to the consumer to pay for them. Why not spend the money to produce better pharmaceuticals through well funded research using the money allocated to the 'perks' column in the budget?
Medical students and practicing physicians alike will have to adjust to drug reps without cheesy stationary and edible giveaways. Perhaps the students will be fortunate to never know this ethical dilemma. Although the code attempts to curb the compensations, pharmaceuticals still remain a business that will get money in its pockets any way it can.
After years of putting it off, I finally donated my blood to help the cause and it just so happens to be the National Blood Donation Month. It cost me one hour, one pint of blood and a couple signatures. In return I received one hole in the arm, a purple bandage wrap and the opportunity to help treat and potentially save the life of a patient as a medical student. Blood banks are often in great need of donors as so many patients require transfusions. If you are looking for a great way to serve, consider donating blood and helping those in need.
Sunday, January 11, 2009