Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Doctors, Pharmaceutical Consulting, and Potential Bias

Article in the New York Times -- Doctors’ Ties to Drug Makers Are Put on Close View, by Gardiner Harris and Janet Roberts.  Here's an excerpt:

Ken Johnson, senior vice president of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, said interactions between drug companies and doctors were beneficial. “In the end, patients are well-served when technically trained pharmaceutical research company representatives work with health care professionals to make sure medicines are used properly,” he said.

There is nothing illegal about doctors’ accepting money for marketing talks, and professional organizations have largely ignored the issue.

But research shows that doctors who have close relationships with drug makers tend to prescribe more, newer and pricier drugs — whether or not they are in the best interests of patients.

“When honest human beings have a vested stake in seeing the world in a particular way, they’re incapable of objectivity and independence,” said Max H. Bazerman, a professor at Harvard Business School. “A doctor who represents a pharmaceutical company will tend to see the data in a slightly more positive light and as a result will overprescribe that company’s drugs.”

BGS

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/mass_tort_litigation/2007/03/doctors_pharmac.html

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