When you get prescribed a pharmaceutical drug, you generally assume -- or at least would hope you can assume -- that it's in your best interest to take it. Because your doctor actually believes the pros outweigh the cons for your particular health situation ... and that he has no ulterior motives (like a financial kickback) for prescribing the drug. Sadly, think again. Doctors being paid by pharmaceutical companies for hawking their drugs and pharmaceutical reps being paid based on how many prescriptions doctors write for drugs has been a longtime common practice ... Yup, it's just plain sick.
Well, now, in what "appears to be a first for a major drug company," The New York Times reports that GlaxoSmithKline will stop paying doctors to promote its drugs under a new plan ... to be completed by 2016. Gee, I can't see for the life of me why this wasn't banned in the first place, but this is a step (albeit a really slow one), right?
The AP points out that it's sort of ironic timing, being that China is currently investigating Glaxo for allegedly giving illegal payments to doctors and officials in an attempt to boost sales of its products. But the drug company's CEO says the decision was not related to that investigation. Uh huh ... Well, it is still a smart move. And it's still good news for us patients!
It could mean we don't have to wonder if our gynecologist is only pushing that new birth control pill because she's getting her pockets lined to do so. And we don't have to get a second and third opinion to make sure we absolutely need that SSRI or statin. Maybe it will even mean doctors are more open to prescribing lifestyle measures, better nutrition, or natural, holistic remedies instead of Rx meds that can cause more harm than good?
Well, let's not get ahead of ourselves! We've still got over two years 'til this plan is implemented. Guh. In the meantime, though, guess we can take heart in the fact that at least one major drug company cares that "patients’ interests ... always come first."
How do you feel about Glaxo's change of heart? Will this make you trust your doctor more?
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