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Patients can’t trust doctors’ advice if we hide our financial connections with drug companies

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g167 (Published 15 January 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g167

Re: Patients can’t trust doctors’ advice if we hide our financial connections with drug companies

Dr Wen is of course quite right

However, the piece misses the point. What on earth should doctors be doing taking money from pharma companies to speak at symposia, or accepting sponsored hospitality to attend events (including accommodation, meals etc) or even meeting drug reps for some free sandwiches to accompany an educational event? We shouldn't even have any commercial conflicts of interest in the first place. They compromise professional impartiality and personal integrity. If we don't take the money/gifts/hospitality, then we have no conflict of interest to declare. And although US healthcare, where Dr Wen Works and where my experience at US conferences tells me that American doctors shamelessly take the corporate dollar in many cases, is heavily corporatized and the NHS is a single insurance state funded "socialised" system, I am afraid many UK colleagues are far from innocent. We should, as a profession be ashamed of ourselves for having anything do to with PLCS driven by profit and marketing of drugs. We all know it in our souls but money talks

David Oliver

Competing interests: No competing interests

19 January 2014
David Oliver
consultant physician
city univerisity London
as above