Are doctors loyalties divided?

The Milwaukee Journal – a paper facing all the struggles (and maybe some more) that any news organization faces – continues to shine through it all with its health news coverage.

Reporter John Fauber has a two-part series this week on “doctors moonlighting for drug companies.” Excerpt:

It’s a practice that increasingly is drawing criticism because of concerns that it can influence patient care and raise the cost of treatment, in addition to blurring the line between research and marketing.

The deans of the state’s two medical schools say they would like to ban the practice or severely limit it.

“I am very bothered by our faculty using our school’s name in giving non-academic promotional, marketing talks,” said Robert Golden, dean of the UW medical school. “It’s a major issue we are talking about now.”

In October, the Wisconsin Medical Society, as part of its recommendations for ethical behavior, said doctors should not serve as speakers. The group has no authority to regulate or stop the practice.

See part one.

And part two.

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January 17, 2009 at 7:44 pm

One big change that the pharamaceutical companieshave made voluntarily is to ban promotional items…..which will save them about $1B and also eliminate the ever-present reminder that they are constantly courting doctors. I think that patients are better off seeing the emblazoned logos as a reminder that the trinkets, sometimes the doctors (well, at least their scripting habits) and published studies on a drugs effectiveness, have all been bought and paid for.
Branding expert John Tantillo pointed out his marketing blog that seeing a drug company’s name in a doctor’s office can, in this Internet age, not merely be subliminal influence, but may actually remind the patient to go home and look into that company and/or their products.
“Bottom line: the consumer and the doctor need more information, not less. This kind of regulation achieves the exact opposite result. Real marketing is open and above board. This move is just getting rid of the evidence of questionable practices and a turning away from the kind of marketing that will serve everyone’s needs best.”
Tantillo’s full post:

the publisher

January 18, 2009 at 10:04 am

I read Tantillo’s full post, as you urged. It ends with this:
“If real advertising is the truth well told, then it is in the consumer’s interest to hear that truth told as often and as fully as possible.”
Unfortunately, too much pharma marketing and advertising is NOT the truth well told.