Physicians are influenced by marketing. That's no surprise. So are most consumers, as evidenced by television and radio commercials, billboards, pop up ads and targeted ads for drugs on your computer screen. Big Pharma markets not only to physicians, but also directly to consumers. In a recent Washington Post op-ed, Dr. Nicole Van Gronigen made the case that Big Pharma successfully influences physician prescribing behavior via marketing. Specifically, drug ...

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Recently in Missouri, a bill was proposed that would ban women on oral contraceptives (OCP) from working. In the world of politics, the use of contraceptives has been discussed ad nauseam, often without medical consideration. As physicians, in order to continue to uphold our Hippocratic Oath: "First do no harm," it is imperative that we continue to challenge any law that goes against scientific evidence, and our voices must be ...

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It may seem strange that a gastroenterologist like me does not prescribe pain medicines. Let me rephrase that. I don’t prescribe opioids or narcotics. I write prescriptions for so few controlled substances that I do not even know my own DEA number. You might think that a gastroenterologist who cares for thousands of patients with abdominal pains would have a heavy foot on the opioid accelerator. But, I don’t. Here’s why. I ...

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There was her 28-year-old daughter lifeless in an ICU bed. Her name was Tricia, and she had dabbled with drugs since she was 15. As a child, she was artistic, adventurous, and always found excitement with other kids who tended to do risky things. She'd justify their behavior and say they were more fun and had better personalities. Eventually, her mom and dad moved to a small town thinking it would be ...

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As of July 1, pharmacies in Maine cannot honor paper or telephone prescriptions for controlled substances, from OxyContin down to Valium, Lyrica, and Tylenol with codeine. EPCS, or electronic prescribing of controlled substances, is a double security step in the prescription process built into EMRs, electronic medical records. It involves another password entry and the use of one-time passwords from a small number generator issued to each prescriber. It has been said ...

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The New York Times says nonadherence to prescribed medications is “an out-of-control epidemic” in the U.S. and quotes a review in Annals of Internal Medicine, which found “20-30% of medication prescriptions are never filled, and approximately 50% of medications for chronic illness are not taken as prescribed.” For example, “a third of kidney transplant patients don’t take their anti-rejection medications, 41% of heart attack patients don’t take ...

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It is surprisingly easy to sell snake oil. I know, because I’ve done it. In 2014, I helped create and sell The Right Detox. This was a bogus detoxification program that purported to improve anyone’s well-being and perhaps, cure disease. I was the face of the scam. I launched The Right Detox at a spring-time women’s health expo in Tucson, Arizona. I kicked off my sales-pitch in front of a small ...

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This April, my turn to take the medical board exam rolled back around, necessary every ten years for maintenance of certification. I studied diligently for the better part of three months preceding the test (and I think I did well). It was actually pleasurable to go back over details that I had forgotten and to catch up on newer developments in the field. I realized that I don’t do nearly ...

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A guest column by the American Society of Anesthesiologists, exclusive to KevinMD.com. Alleviating pain has been a primary focus of my career as a physician anesthesiologist. Just as there are physicians who specialize in treating conditions such as cancer, heart disease or allergies, there are specialists in treating pain. These physicians complete four years of ...

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A 10-year analysis of medical malpractice cases indicates that medication errors continue to represent a significant risk to patients and health care providers, despite myriad efforts to eliminate that risk. For events that occurred beginning in 2003 (12 percent) to those from 2012 (12 percent) the proportion of cases alleging a medication error was, essentially, unchanged. Raised awareness, advances in technology, and millions of dollars directed at improving the medication ...

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