Research I’d Like to See for Canada

(In the UK) Drug giants accused over doctors’ perks: Original story here

Here are some examples:

  • Astra Zeneca paid £2,500 for a doctor at the Royal Bournemouth trust and £1,500 for a doctor at Sheffield teaching hospital to attend a cancer conference in Texas
  • Sanofi-Aventis, the world’s fourth biggest pharmaceutical company, paid for doctors at the Countess of Chester trust to go to conferences in Cape Town, New Orleans and Barcelona. At Gateshead trust, their reps gave a breakfast for 30 staff "to discuss drugs for the treatment of breast cancer". The trust’s register records that "the donor was seeking to secure business".
  • Roche spent £2,000 for an oncology consultant at Addenbrooke’s hospital in Cambridge to go to a conference in May last year.
  • GSK, the biggest British pharmaceutical company, paid £1,200 for a consultant at Sheffield teaching hospital to attend the 11th international congress of Parkinson’s disease and movement disorders in Turkey last June.
  • Companies have also been taking hospital staff to top football and rugby matches. Carillion, a public sector construction firm, spent £180 taking a senior manager at Milton Keynes trust to lunch and then a rugby match at Twickenham last August.

And the best quote of all:

Most doctors deny that their reliance on drug company cash makes them biased. The pharmaceutical companies argue that they are helping doctors acquire further medical education by funding their trips to conferences in foreign cities, but they refuse to reveal how much they pay out.

In Canada, we’ve hit the level of having health care at any price.  The Romanow report identified that pharmaceuticals make up one of the largest components of our spend on our health and we should have a nationalized system of generic drugs in order to mitigate the impact of these costs.

I believe that it’s the massive profits going to pharma companies that are threatening the stability of our health care system and that we should follow the Romanow recommendations (most of which have been largely ignored by our leaders).  More importantly, we should encourage the development of a health care system, where people have the right to choose from a list of options (including naturopathic solutions) as opposed to being bullied by practitioners into taking the latest cosmetic drug.

What are your thoughts?

Leave a Reply