Many times while waiting at a doctor’s office to get called in for our appointment we will see a pharmaceutical representative carrying a valuable resource for both physicians and patients alike: drug samples. Many patients depend on these free samples and physicians use them to determine which medication will be most effective for a patient before prescribing the patient a long-term dose.
However these representatives do not simply hand out these medications and expect nothing in return. Many times the physician will listen to the sales call presented by the representative in order to receive drug samples.
The relationship between pharmaceutical companies and physicians has been questioned for decades. Are pharmaceutical companies unduly influencing doctors by trading a physicians’ time for drug samples, lunches and other small gifts?
In an effort towards transparency, pharmaceutical companies have begun to release financial payments to physicians. These payments include how much pharmaceutical companies are spending on lunches for physicians’ offices, scientific research physicians may be performing for pharmaceutical companies, and educational seminars funded by companies for physicians.
Access to the financial reports can be found on the pharmaceutical companies website. For example Pfizer Pharmaceuticals website for financial disclosure is:
Once on this website, a patient can type his physician’s name, or even a private practice name to see how much the physician has received from Pfizer in the past year.
Patients can now be informed about how much their physician are being compensated by pharmaceutical companies and whether they feel any undue influence is taking place. While patients certainly can benefit from the drug samples, they must determine whether they feel comfortable with physicians’ interactions with pharmaceutical representatives.
But what do you think? I would love to hear from you! I welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected] . You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.