January 24, 2006
Docs Are Urged to Reject Gifts from Pharma
As reported in the on-line N.Y. Times, physican-authors in JAMA this week are calling for an end to the pharmaceutical companies' largesse, claiming that "[t]he free gifts, drugs and classes that pharmaceutical and medical device makers routinely give doctors undermine good medical care [and] hurt patients. . . . But Dr. David Blumenthal, one of the article's co-authors, said it was 'not very likely' that many in medicine would listen to the group."
The article provides a non-exclusive list of the kinds of inducements "that must be addressed":
gifts, even of relatively small items, including meals; payment for attendance at lectures and conferences, including online activities; CME for which physicians pay no fee; payment for time while attending meetings; payment for travel to meetings or scholarships to attend meetings; payment for participation in speakers bureaus; the provision of ghostwriting services; provision of pharmaceutical samples; grants for research projects; and payment for consulting relationships.
The link the the JAMA article (which requires a subscription to view the full piece) is here. [tm]
January 22, 2006
Add Switzerland to List of PAS-Friendly States?
There's an oldish BBC report (Aug. 12, 2002) that reports on a group (Dignitas) that helps patients commit suicide with the full knowledge and acquiescence of Swiss authorities.The story hit the AP and Bioethics.net in December 2005, and then the BMJ in its January 7, 2006, issue, when a Swiss hospital, Vaud University Hospital Center, announced that it would allow another of Switzerland's four assisted-suicide organizations (Exit Society) to assist in the suicides of patients who have been admitted to the hospital and can no longer go home. [tm]