Views & Reviews No Holds Barred

Who pays this doctor? It’s time patients knew

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g3039 (Published 06 May 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g3039
  1. Margaret McCartney, general practitioner, Glasgow
  1. margaret{at}margaretmccartney.com

If my MP wanted to build a motorway, it would be reasonable for constituents to know whether he had shares in the construction company appointed, or indeed in the land that had now become valuable. And it’s easy to find out: all UK MPs have to make declarations on the publicly available register of members’ interests.1

But if I am a patient, I am unfairly ignorant. I don’t know whether my doctor is a chosen key opinion leader, paid by a drug company to increase prescribing of a drug. When my doctor recommends an intervention, I don’t know whether her education on my condition has come solely from a drug …

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