Tuesday, July 30, 2013

More Recent Legal Settlements: Yes, 'Bribery' Is the Right Word

Back again to lifting my material from Dr. Roy Poses' Health Care Renewal blog:

The point of this post is to follow up on the "corruption" theme, which both our blog and Dr. Poses' have recently commented on:

The particular instances discussed are the companies Amgen and Mallinckrodt, each of which recently settled Federal lawsuits claiming that they had paid kickbacks to physicians for prescribing their drugs. (Both companies, of course, denied any wrongdoing.) Dr. Poses' point, emphasized repeatedly in his blog, is that while the companies had their hands slapped--Mallinckrodt was fined $3.5M, which I think is the sort of chump change drug company execs find in their sofa cushions-- no actual human being was found guilty or had to suffer any consequences.

The point I'd make for our blog is slightly different. When I wrote HOOKED and started to write this blog I adhered to the usual custom, and described the goodies that docs received from drug firms with labels such as "gifts." After a while, I decided that I was actually aiding and abetting the practices I wished to criticize by not calling them by their true name--bribes. See for instance:

It is somewhat reassuring to see from these recent cases that the word "bribe" is, in fact, the correct descriptor at least some of the time.

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