| June 29, 2007
Most physicians want a moratorium. I’ll go one step further and say they should be banned.
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For people who are always itching for the free market, physicians sure don’t want anyone else out there.
It’s not a free market. They are not competing with the doctors at all, so free market arguments are irrelevant.
It is the undermining of trust that is at issue, and supplanting “credible” information “because it was on TV” (I could write a book about that line, and Dr. House), for a physicians advise. Caveats such as “check with your doctor” don’t work – Some popular TV actor has more credibility in our society than the doc you know for years.
I know they’re not competing with doctors. However, they are competing with each other. That’s how it works.
You physicians whine about how you don’t get access to it, but you have no clue how difficult it is. You think other jobs don’t deal with unreasonable expectations created by TV? Do you see cops out there trying to get CSI off the air?
In the free market, you have to market your services to get customers. You don’t just sign up with an insurance company and they put you on a list and in they come. Or sign a govt. contract for guaranteed rates of pay.
I’m still waiting for someone to direct me to the “govt. contract for guaranteed rates of pay” – I am unaware of any such thing.
I suppose you mean Medicare, which makes no guarantees and denies payment routinely, and has the ability to charge you back for services rendered years ago if they later decide that the charge should have been denied.
This same “guaranteed” plan also reimburses for office administered medications (ProCrit, vaccines, chemotherapy, etc) significantly less than cost, and forbids balance billing, and will not cover it if the patient can acquire it from a pharmacy. They reimburse at the lowest available price, even if that price is restricted to certain populations of docs (i.e. institutions or minimum purchase arrangements).
Some guarantee. Know your facts.
How many times have you ever worried that Medicare would be insolvent?
Tell me, on your medicare contract, what was your gross salary last year? If the contract is that bad, why do you sign up for it?
Could someone please explain to me why less information is better for patients?
1. You don’t really contract with medicare, it just is until you opt out. Medicare rules are set by law, not by agreement, and we are bound by them whether we contract or not.
2. Less information is not better. But unbalanced, biased, and potentially misleading information is terrible.
Amazing! The degree of distrust we have for pharmaceutical companies vanishes when they place an ad! These are the same companies that are “gouging” on drug prices, that have “unfair pricing practices” when compared with the same product in Canada or overseas. Yet you trust them to give you complete and adequate information, and CHALLENGE YOUR DOCTOR when he/she disagrees, just because Mandy Patinkin or Dr. Jarvik said so.
Do you really think hearing that occassional sleeping problems should be treated with a potentially addictive, mind altering substance is good advice? That’s what the Lunesta ad says. How about cholesterol – in a 30 second ad, exactly 0.5 second, or however long it takes to say “diet and exercise” as fast as possible, are devoted to diet and exercise. Great advice! And if you aren’t taking the statin-du-jour, I guess you MUST be getting substandard care.
So come to your doctor seeking good advice, and waste significant time so that the myths your head has been filled with from TV can be dispelled, and then maybe we’ll have some time to get to some good advice. Or not. Perhaps you are just looking for the latest and greatest prescription. “Get out your pen, doc!”
If you think I am off base, see http://www.havidol.com – a drug ad parody, but not much different from most drug ads.
I advertising did not increase sales, they would not spend the money.
You are being manipulated.
Um, no. Advertising does not “manipulate” anyone. And just because you ban information you don’t like does not mean good information will take its place. I suppose after DTC is banned we’ll all get our drug info from excellent, unbiased sources like Public Citizen? Also, where do you get the idea that I challenge my doctor? Our relationship is one of ongoing dialogue about my options. I don’t expect even the best doctor to know everything. If an ad gives us the chance to look into an option neither of us knew was available before (which it has), what’s wrong with that?
I suggest you read the excellent book Overdosed America: The Broken Promise of American Medicine by John Abramson (ISBN-10: 0060568534 )
Your physician is being manipulated, too.
(Yes, I am a physician).
Yes, and while we’re at it, let’s ban those ads for medical billing and EMR/PHR software (since they also influence docs with software that might be inferior or otherwise affect the quality of patient care), ads for competing journals (since shouldn’t all journals be of equal quality, therefore why should they be advertising unless they obviously want to influence doc’s opinions on the research), and services like Sermo, who are just making a buck off of doctors’ knowledge (and encouraging disclosure that might jeopardize patient privacy and confidentiality).
I mean, one could make reasonable arguments to ban a whole slew of advertising in the world. But if you’re going to do it, let’s be fair about it and do it all at once. Anything that could possibly influence anyone’s decision about anything important in their lives (not just their health) — buying a house, getting married, deciding to have children or how to raise their children — let’s ensure we ban all of that advertising too.
Seriously, banning DTC because of “public safety” (as the article suggests) is a ridiculous argument, as there’s no research to suggest DTC presents any significant public safety or public health risk.
When patients ask about a DTC ad, I generally point out that most of the products that advertise on TV cost a minimum of $100 to $150 per month, and suggest that one of the list of reported side effects should include poverty. I also point out that for most of them, the small benefit compared to much cheaper generics (or in the case of Lunesta, et. al., placebo) makes the cachet of “Name Brand” a pretty expensive choice. Generally, I leave it up to them at that point – but surprisingly few actually want me to write prescriptions.
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