Doctors told to shun rewards from industry as size of payments becomes clearBMJ 2006; 332 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.332.7536.255 (Published 02 February 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:255
All rapid responses
Gifts and sponsorships and various other marketing strategies
implemented by pharmaceutical companies have been accepted practice over
long period of time.That huge amounts spent in advertisements and personal
would push up costs which are passed on to the patient as
the consumer has also been obvious.The question is why it
took so long for the ethical angles of this issue to come
up in a big way.
In all fairness , marketing is a part of any big business
and medical companies do what all other business does.
Besides, saying that any gift creates a sense of indebtedness and loyalty
is to stretch things a bit too
far.I have myself received quite a few pens as gifts in the past, and to
be honest I used only a few of them .Besides
when using them I hardly remembered which person or company
gave me the gift or which product it was supposed to
promote.The situation was similar for many of my other colleagues.
However ,with medicine becoming increasingly dependant
on wide range of medical devices and gadgets, quantum leap in costs as
well as profits have taken place across the board.Where billions of
dollars and pounds are at stake internationally,the stakes are high and so
is the scope
for unethical practices.The medical community being the
middleman between the consumer (patient)and producer, was
and will continue to be an obvious target for companies to further their
products and profits.The ethical issues involved are obvious and unethical
implications have always been known by the medical community.
The third world with populations in billions, is a large market and
all variety of local and international pharmaceutical companies are in the
fray.The impact of these "advertisement and inducements" policy has
influenced prescribing practices among doctors in a large way with ethical
dimensions and rampant malpractices which are embarassing to mention.
In recent times ethical issues have seen tobacco
companies being discouraged from sponsoring various sporting events
leading to loss of billions in sponsorships.
The impact of placing barriers on pharmaceutical and
medical device sellers on sponsorship of medical research,
education and other things can be far reaching.The issues
involved are compex.It is very to compare them with
accepting "gifts from strangers".
Competing interests: No competing interests