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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 20284

Warning: This library includes all items relevant to health product marketing that we are aware of regardless of quality. Often we do not agree with all or part of the contents.

 

Publication type: Electronic Source

Reynolds M
Australian Pharma companies bow to demanding doctors
6minutes.com 2012 Oct 2
http://www.6minutes.com.au/news/latest-news/transparency-will-expose-demanding-doctors


Full text:

Demanding doctors with “unreasonable” expectations are driving up the costs
of medical educational events, a pharma industry insider says.

In a submission to the ACCC on the next update to the Medicines Australia’s
Code of Conduct, an anonymous ‘player in the pharmaceutical industry’
supports full disclosure of sponsorship payments as he says under the
current system of self-regulation, “Key Opinion Leader” doctors are coercing
pharma companies into contravening the Code.

The ‘insider’ says some doctors demand $1-2k or more for a brief talk based
on company-provided slides, in addition to business class airfares of up to
$15,000.

Key Opinion Leaders also enjoy holidays as extensions of their conferences,
and sometimes never turn up to meetings they are sponsored to attend, as
they are “probably off motoring around Europe somewhere!” he claims.

But companies are reluctant to complain about such demands for fear of
alienating doctors of influence, who they claim often pit companies against
each other in bidding wars for their services.

“The Code needs to be stronger to help companies deal with these situations
and know that any company that does not do the same thing will be exposed.
Until that happens everyone is afraid to be the odd ones out,” he writes.

He urges the AMA to set industry honorarium fee rates to stop bidding wars,
and limiting doctors to just one sponsored event per company. He adds that
most doctors as well as the public would be shocked by the amount of “paid
comment” to be revealed by transparency.

 

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...to influence multinational corporations effectively, the efforts of governments will have to be complemented by others, notably the many voluntary organisations that have shown they can effectively represent society’s public-health interests…
A small group known as Healthy Skepticism; formerly the Medical Lobby for Appropriate Marketing) has consistently and insistently drawn the attention of producers to promotional malpractice, calling for (and often securing) correction. These organisations [Healthy Skepticism, Médecins Sans Frontières and Health Action International] are small, but they are capable; they bear malice towards no one, and they are inscrutably honest. If industry is indeed persuaded to face up to its social responsibilities in the coming years it may well be because of these associations and others like them.
- Dukes MN. Accountability of the pharmaceutical industry. Lancet. 2002 Nov 23; 360(9346)1682-4.