October 23, 2010

Controversial Website Search For Drug Company Doctors

Posted in Heart Disease in the News, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 2:10 am by keepyourhearthealthy


photo by br3akthru


Disclosures are required in every reputable publication for a reason.

People want to know if the author of an article has a biased opinion.  What do you think though about physicians who represent pharmaceutical companies?  If you found out that your doctor has been reimbursed by the company that makes Lipitor, does that make you want to stop taking your Lipitor?  Well, apparently there is enough interest in the topic of physician and drug company relationships to fuel a searchable database.

An investigative journalism group called ProPublica has created a website specifically to reveal how much money certain physicians have been paid by pharmaceutical companies.  The website Dollars for Docs even smashes the names of the “Top Earners” right on the front page.  They leave nothing to the imagination in their list.  The physician’s full names, specialty and state are listed so that patients should have no trouble identifying one of their docs.

While I am certain that a few shady deals happen on occasion, for the most part physicians prescribe medicine only when there is a real need for it!  Your cardiologist is not likely to randomly prescribe Lipitor if you do not have high cholesterol or heart disease.  And the reason physicians are compensated by the drug companies is generally for giving presentations about the newest medical discoveries.  I have rarely been to a drug-sponsored presentation where the physician promoted the drug entirely.

I guess it all comes down to trust.  If you are seeing a physician who you suspect is over-prescribing a medication based on compensation…you should probably find a different doctor!!  Your doctor would not want you to think so poorly of them either.