Angry Doctor

Friday, February 03, 2006

Say 'No' to free lunches

Transparency International released its Global Corruption Report for 2006, with the focus being on corruption in healthcare systems.

Singapore is not referred to in the report, but I think the section on the role of the medical profession in fighting corruption in the pharmaceutical sector is worth reading.

I used to take free stuff from pharmaceutical companies without a second thought, but now I know there really isn't such a thing as a free lunch. The stuff is not free - we're just not paying for it with our money. Now I don't take even a pen from them, let alone a free meal or cruise.

Maybe it's time you said "No Free Lunch" to them too?

Dr Crippen did.



  • How then? Most of our CME's are sponsored by drug companies!

    By Blogger Dr Oz bloke, At February 03, 2006 8:40 pm  

  • Preaching to the converted, here ;-)

    The ONLY benefit of drug reps is free samples for impoverished patients...but we have an online sample ordering thing here in oz.

    They send you marketing rubbish with it, which finds a new home in the bin post haste.

    We don't seem to have a No Free Lunch here, which is sad.

    Unfortunately some medical organisations get so much sponsorship from drug companies they are effectively in their pocket.

    I think the first step is maybe attending the CME but not the dinner if there is one, or not taking any freebies, Dr oz bloke ?

    I have actually resigned from our AMA here for issues related to this type of...behaviour.

    By Blogger Dr Dork, At February 03, 2006 10:52 pm  

  • Then how can the Company sponsoring the event/seminar show its appreciation to the speaker for volunteering his/her time to share knowledge with the peers/public attending the event/seminar?

    We still need to 'compensate' the doctor for spending the 15-30mins listening to our medical rep talk about the product detailing... opportunity cost for that 15-30min..

    Can share your thots?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At February 03, 2006 11:03 pm  

  • Wah, docs also get free meal and cruises ah?

    A pen for doodling when there are no patients and some knick knacks I can understand but a meal at the "Les Amis" and a Royal Princess cruise to Alaska? Wow, now I know why some drugs are so expensive!

    Every freebie, tangible or intangible given in a business transaction finds the costs ultimately borne by the consumers and in this case the poor patients.

    And as you rightly put it, you fellas are paying too not with your money but with your loss of objectivity.

    By Blogger uglybaldie, At February 04, 2006 8:30 am  

  • Dear anonymous,

    Here is a suggestion (I'm surprised you marketing guys can't think of this) :

    1) At the end of the talk announce "In appreciation for Dr X's time and effort, Y Pharma is proud to present to him a cheque of $Z that he is free to donate to any charity of his choice"

    If you say that Dr X wants personal compensation that only benefits him, then I would say if pharmas are serious about helping the "No Free Lunch" cause, they should boycott such greedy, materialistic doctors regardless whether they are experts. In fact they should report them to the press and expose them. After all the pharmas seem to claim it isn't them, it's the doctors who are greedy, and the doctors claim that the pharmas give it to them so they take it.

    It all starts somewhere. So if the pharmas are serious, please be proactive, otherwise be prepared for the attacks.

    By Blogger Dr Oz bloke, At February 04, 2006 10:42 am  

  • True. We hardly think twice about free lunches.
    Ultimately, the patients pay for the free goodies that we get. Cos that's where their profits are coming from.
    Granted though, i do appreciate the free cabergoline the drug company approved for my paitent for a year (500 bucks a month)

    By Blogger vagus, At February 05, 2006 9:09 pm  

  • I invite you to take the Pharma Gifts to Physicians Survey (

    This survey asks your opinion whether or not the following gifts to physicians create conflicts of interest:

    * Free drug samples
    * Free meals away from the office
    * Pharma-supported CME (free to physicians)
    * Payment for consulting relationships
    * Payment for travel to meetings or scholarships to attend meetings
    * Payment for participation in speakers bureaus
    * Free provision of ghostwriting services
    * Grants for research projects
    * Payment for attendance at lectures and conferences
    * Free lunch delivered to office in exchange for sales presentation

    Survey Results:

    * After completing the survey you will be able to see a summary of results (de-identified, excludes open-ended responses and comments that may identify the respondent). You can also use filters to examine results from different subsets of respondents (e.g., pharma company employees vs. non-pharma people, etc.).

    By Blogger PharmaGuy, At February 06, 2006 6:00 am  

  • Really effective material, thanks so much for the post.
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    By Anonymous Anonymous, At January 04, 2013 5:03 pm  

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