Saturday, February 16, 2013

Doctors, Money, Big Pharma

One more data point:

... ... [T]he Johnson & Johnson episode is also illuminating a broader medical issue: while experts say that doctors have an ethical obligation to warn their peers about bad drugs or medical devices, they often do not do so.

[...] There is another reason doctors may choose to remain silent, experts say: their financial ties to a drug or device maker.

For years, such consulting payments have raised concerns about the impact of money on a doctor’s decision about which drugs to prescribe or how to interpret research findings. Money can also shift a physician’s sense of loyalty, said George Loewenstein, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University who has studied medical conflict-of-interest policies. “If someone has been paying you or employing you, it is very difficult to blow the whistle,” said Professor Loewenstein, who teaches economics and psychology. “It offends our sense of loyalty.”