We will write a custom Coursework on Relationship Between Doctors and Pharmaceutical Industries specifically for you
301 certified writers online
The relationship between doctors and pharmaceutical industries is prone to conflicts. An analysis of their relationship reveals that doctors are likely to compromise ethics in their profession because of being influence by pharmaceutical companies.
Influence of Doctors by Pharmaceutical Industry
According to Paul A. Komesaroff, a director and Ethics Convener at the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and Ian H. Kerridge, who is a lecturer in Clinical Ethics, there is a great concern that doctors and pharmaceutical industry may experience conflicts because of common interests. They both work to help the patients in recovery from sickness.
Doctors are more concerned with patient’s welfare while pharmaceutical industry is more concerned with making money from manufacturing of drugs. Pharmaceutical companies depend on doctors to make sales of their drugs by frequent prescriptions of their drugs to the patients (Komesaroff & Kerridge, 2002).
According to Nancy Crigger and William Jewell from College Hill Department of Nursing USA, there are two disadvantages of advertising pharmaceutical drugs: “It influences health care abilities to make decisions in patient’s best interests and may result in compromised patient care; secondly, trust in health care professionals may be eroded” (Crigger et al., 2009, p. 647).
This means that the doctors may make a given prescriptions to their patients so as to maintain the relationship with the pharmaceutical companies and this is quite unethical. The influence can be caused by mutual relationship the doctor might be having with the pharmaceutical company, the benefits from the company or the prices of the company’s drugs.
Causes of such Influence
Most pharmaceutical companies support financially the development of new drugs and clinical research. Millions of dollars are used in such a manner by the pharmaceutical companies. This may cause an influence to the doctors to use the company’s drugs which support research (Komesaroff & Kerridge, 2002).
The more a doctor gets pharmaceutical representatives the more he/she is likely to have more of their drugs than from other companies who have no drug promotions (Komesaroff & Kerridge, 2002). US research have shown that pharmaceutical companies spend about US$3 billion to advertise and about US$5 billion to pay sales representatives (Komesaroff & Kerridge, 2002).
The act of giving gifts such as books to medical students and interns is another cause of influence as they may have to use what they have been given. They get used to a particular pharmaceutical company even before they start working. Pharmaceutical companies can also be enticing by providing drug launches (Komesaroff & Kerridge, 2002).
Medical education seminars are also influential because there may have specific speakers and topics biased to particular companies’ drugs. Pharmaceutical companies sometime sponsor medical practitioners to attend such seminars. Pharmaceutical companies can also influence prescriptions by controlling health publications and advertising their drugs as best (Komesaroff & Kerridge, 2002).
Doctors must have a clear goal of taking care of the patient to prevent the influence of any pharmaceutical company. They should also avoid all forms of gift and entertainment. As a recommendation Crigger et al. (2009) has aired the following: “Ban all gifts, including drug samples, explaining this change is direct result of current community and public attitudes toward pharmaceutical marketing” (Crigger et al., 2009, p. 648).
Sponsorship by the pharmaceutical companies should only be for the relevant personnel and should only be organized by an independent committee that does not have a preference of any pharmaceutical company. All medical publications should uphold ethics other than profits of the pharmaceutical company (Komesaroff & Kerridge, 2002).
Pharmaceutical companies easily influence drug prescriptions. Doctors must therefore uphold ethics in their drug prescriptions by avoiding any source of influence from pharmaceutical industry and having patient’s interest as first priority.
Crigger et al. (2009). Public perceptions of health care professionals participation in pharmaceutical marketing. Nursing Ethics. Vol 16(5) , pp 647-658. From EBSCO host.
Komesaroff, P. A., & Kerridge, I. H. (2002). Ethical Issues concerning the Relationships between Medical Practitioners and the Pharmaceutical idndustry. Clinical Ethics. Vol 176 , pp 118-121.