Categories: Prescription Drugs

Dollars for Docs: How Industry Dollars Reached Your Doctors

Drug companies have long kept secret details of the payments they make to doctors for promoting their drugs. But seven companies have begun posting names and compensation on the Web, some as the result of legal settlements. ProPublica (an amazing website, it seems to me) compiled these disclosures, totaling $258 million, into a single database that allows patients to search for their doctor. Receiving payments isn’t necessarily wrong, but it does raise ethical issues.

It does seem wrong that a person who should be your advocate (serving you, the customer) is being paid by so many sources that influence his/her behavior as it relates to you, the consumer, who will ultimately end up paying for all if it either directly, or through your health insurance and now maybe even through your taxes. I think the whole health (sic) care system is at least as corrupted as the financial and political systems with which it is tightly integrated.

I think the solutions that could work are either single payer where we negotiate payments as the whole nation but choose providers of services individually, or the full consumer pays where each consumer would have to sign off on every invoice. The system we have now that separates the provider of the service from any regard to its cost is bound to bankrupt us. Mind you, we are already bankrupt, have been for years. Sort of like a tree that has been dead and dry for years, just waiting for a wind storm to finally knock it down.

Author: Mike Tigas, Ryann Grochowski Jones, Charles Ornstein and Lena Groeger,