21 September 2008

Stark staring bonkers

Thanks to Jobbing Doctor for this one. Pharmaceutical companies are to be allowed to pedal their wares directly to patients. Just how mad can you get? They already pedal drugs to doctors who, without really being aware of it, get completely taken in by their blandishments. If doctors are taken in what hope is there for patients? After all the general public, some doctors included, can even be persuaded to buy bottled water when tap water would be just as wholesome - perhaps even better. And all this is happening at a time when we must keep the lid on unnecessary health spending. So Dr Grumble has a proposal. Let's not advertise drugs directly to patients and let's go one step further and ban drug advertising to doctors. That should sort it.


Anonymous said...

When I came to the UK, this was big news on the international pharmacy forums, as soon as I registered as a voter I sent off a letter to my EU MP to say this is not helpful and look at the mess that countries like the USA have to deal with.

New Zealand manages with it by having a only paying for certain treatments so only the rich suffer unnecessary medication.

I'm sad that this was not killed two years ago when we protested. Its sad the people with the money always win. I don't call it democracy.


Dr Grumble said...

The people with the money don't always win. If only the rich get 'unnecessary medication' they lose - though they won't realise it. The rich also get unnecessary surgery. That's why this is not just a cost issue. It's also about good medical practice. Persuading patients that it might be better not taking a highly advertised medicine takes time and in the context of a drug costing a lot there is always the risk that they may think you are trying to talk them out of it because of concern over the balance sheet rather than concern for them.

Anonymous said...

sorry Dr.G.

I see your point still trying to get it out of my head that all people in UK are rich, comparatively that is the case back home some people are living on less than a dollar a month, let alone a day.

Advertising affects the whole of society actually, from the poor person who thinks he is going to die because he cant get the stuff advertised on TV (some do for no other reason) to the rest of us who have to pick up all the adverse effects and the fruit of inappropriate medicine.

My point about people with the money winning was not really the patients but the fat cats in the pharmaceutical industry who bribe people to get their way. But who am I to talk: I'm well bought.

The people with the money always win: the bank goes bust so everybody gets their bonus and the tax payer picks up the bill in the interests of stability.


Dr Grumble said...

It's a long time since Dr G worked in the third world. You have reminded him how obscene it is for rich people in the UK to agonise over whether or not we should pay out large sums for cancer drugs that may buy a few months of life when we are not prepared to prevent disease in healthy young Africans by ensuring the provision of immunisation or clean water. Not, of course, that it is as simple as that. Far from it.