My opinion: I actually just wrote a research paper that somewhat relates to this topic. Personally, I do think that doctors more strongly consider the drugs discussed at these conventions. These speeches do not just influence who gets grant money, but they also deter patients from purchasing generic drugs, as less money is used to advertise the generics than the name brands. Perhaps the doctor in this article believes that he remains objective, but is it possible to understand objectivity from one's own subjective viewpoint? One survey indicates that 71% of doctors think that their peers would prescribe drugs advertised on TV. Also, doctors who attend these medical conventions may favor the discussed drugs over others when writing scientific journal articles. Hence, these speeches may reach doctors across the globe. Is it time to raise ethical standards and eliminate this problem? Can medical conventions be equally engaging while focusing on other topics? Feel free to comment.
Drug companies' millions boost research while raising questions
Research Coordinator Joyce Greenwood runs a blood test for a clinical study at Allergy Asthma Immunology of Rochester. / Jamie Germano/Staff Photographer
Hubeishy says the speeches — written and paid for by pharmaceutical companies — are educational, delivered to medical professionals and don’t influence what he prescribes.
“I have to be objective because of my patients,” said Hubeishy, who gets $1,000 to $2,000 a speech.
But such pharmaceutical-sponsored talks continue to raise ethical questions, and Hubeishy is one of hundreds of Monroe County doctors and medical professionals accepting payments from drugmakers.
New data show that payments here totaled nearly $11 million since 2009, and as some institutions tighten rules on accepting such money, others are finding it increasingly important as grants and federal spending become more scarce.
“It puts at risk the trust of our patients that we are free actors — independent,” said Dr. James Scully, chief executive officer of the American Psychiatric Association, which no longer takes pharmaceutical funds for its educational programs.