Doctors Prescription and Big Pharma: John Oliver of Last Week Tonight does a great job on explaining (and criticizing) the links of doctors who prescribe your medicine to big pharmaceutical companies.
Want to know whether your doctor has received anything from big pharma? Go check out the Open Payments website, a database maintained by the federal government (thanks, Obama) which could clue you in on any “gifts” received by your physician.
More on Open Payments:
Open Payments is a federal program that annually collects and makes information public about financial relationships between the health care industry, physicians, and teaching hospitals. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) collects information from manufacturers of drugs and devices about payments and other transfers of value they make to physicians and teaching hospitals. These payments and other transfers of value can be for many purposes, like research, consulting, travel, and gifts. CMS will be making this data publicly available each reporting year.
Pro Publica is another group which seeks to monitor the link between physicians and pharmaceutical companies. Go check out its Dollars for Docs database.
After John Oliver’s takedown of the cozy relationship of some doctors prescribing drugs and the companies making them, the The Washington Post’s Ed Silverman reached out to the American Medical Association for comment.
Apparently its head, President Robert Wah responded by stating that the AMA is “committed to transparency and supports the release of data that promotes understanding and trust and strengthens the patient-physician relationship. For that reason, the AMA supported the [law] when it was passed by Congress. The AMA believes that interactions between physicians and the pharmaceutical industry should be transparent and in the best interest of patients, and we have clear ethical guidelines governing these interactions to ensure patients receive high quality care and to minimize potential conflicts of interest. Appropriate interactions between physicians and industry can often drive innovation, discovery and changes in medical practice that may promote better patient outcomes.”
In ending, we’d like to state that most doctors are scrupulous, are not influenced by big pharma, and that they have the patient’s best interest at heart when prescribing drugs.