Darrin Campo, MD, an internist in practice in Middletown, DE, penned a guest editorial for the Delaware Medical Journal that expresses his current disgust for the relationship between medicine and Pharma and his call for a rise to professional integrity. Besides approving of his concerns, I want to quote him as just one more bit of anecdotal evidence that the much-touted PhRMA and AMA codes of ethics have been as toothless as they have seemed to be to most critics:
"Although the spin that one hears from the pharmaceutical industry and some physician organizations is that these practices [giving lavish gifts to docs] have been clamped down upon; the author knows for a fact that this is not true. I have seen many instances of physicians and even mid-level providers making their patients wait in their exam rooms [while] they were in their offices or even in the hallways negotiating additional funding for a weekend at a regional or local hotel or resort, not just for themselves, but for their children as well. I have seen doctors set themselves up with things such as free tee times, free dinners at expensive eateries, airline flights, mixers, or arrangements to be a 'speaker' or 'consultant' even though they seemed to lack even the most basic knowledge of recent studies concerning the specific topic..."
Dr. Campo concludes, "We are physicians, not prostitutes. It is time that at least some of us act more like the former."
Campo D. Big Pharma. Del Med J 79: 243-45, June 2007.