Should Doctors Be Paid By Drug Companies?

March 30, 2011 · 1 comment

Industry Insights from Paul Meade, M.Sc., MPH

Should doctors be paid by drug companies? Well, I guess that depends on the reason for the payment. If a physician, known for her expertise in a given area, is asked by a pharmaceutical company to determine if a newly discovered drug compound would meet a medical need in healthcare, then the answer is clearly yes. Likewise, if a patient consults with an orthopedic specialist on whether to undergo a surgical procedure to repair a damaged cartilage, that consultation is paid for by the person’s health insurance.

In any profession based on an individual’s expertise—think lawyers, management consultants–a person’s informed opinion usually commands some form of payment.  Also, the level of expertise generally dictates the level of compensation. So why is it that when a physician gives advice to a patient, or even a group of patients during a patient advocacy lecture, we all feel compensation is fair and just, but when that same person provides his or her expertise to a pharmaceutical company seeking to make a decision on whether to continue the development of a new drug, many people cry foul? Should pharmaceutical companies be forbidden to seek out and pay for the expertise and knowledge of physicians?

In order for a new medicine to become available to the general population, regulatory authorities demand ... read more »

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The Future of Thought Leaders in Healthcare

December 10, 2010 · Leave a comment

Industry Insights from Paul Meade, M.Sc, MPH

For decades, the pharmaceutical industry has had a good working relationship with the medical profession. Of course, pharmaceutical companies have always been dependent on physicians writing prescriptions for their products, and for pharmacists filling these prescriptions, so ultimately the patients could return to health. This has been a true symbiotic relationship where pharmaceutical companies needed doctors to prescribe their drugs, and physicians had effective medicines to offer their patients.

Occasionally, there were a few bad apples on both sides of the equation that overstepped the boundaries of this relationship, but for the most part, it worked well. So what happened? Why the Sunshine Act? And why the apparent “witch-hunt” to expose every Thought Leader that engages with someone from a pharmaceutical company? Is it time for a course correction? Don’t we have bigger problems to deal with in the financial and economic arenas than to worry about how much money a Thought Leader made from conducting clinical studies or speaking at a conference on behalf of a pharmaceutical company?

Where did it all go wrong? How do we fix it? And what does the future hold for this pharma-medical relationship? Healthcare costs have been steadily rising in most countries across the globe. And while there have been increases in these costs, almost no other country has ... read more »

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