Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Self-Fulfilling Reporting

I like this SJ-R opinion piece in today’s paper that calls into question the bribery drug reps use to influence sales to doctors, and the doctors who unethically (in my opinion) accept the bribes. But I had to laugh at the opening sentence:
A drug representative allegedly attempting to smear the reputations of two local doctors and their wives made for a front-page story this week.
A front page story! How did that happen? Oh, yeah you guys decided to put it there. This wasn’t some predestined natural phenomenon; this was a conscious decision made by the staff of the paper. I’m not saying it wasn’t front page worthy; I really don’t care. It’s just that you can’t put it there and then come back and elevate the story’s significance BECAUSE it was on the front page. Just sayin’.

8 comments:

JeromeProphet said...

Give em a break will you?

They've lost all their good editors over there, and they're worried about their jobs.

And you misspelled "Because", and considering you capitalized it for emphasis, and that the word is used to bring home the entire point of the post I'd have to say you're in need of an editor too.

Dave said...

I don't know what you're talking about ;-).

JeromeProphet said...

Ha!

geek_guy said...

Of course, dicklessmondays comments are interesting. First he accuses the SJR as "against sales people" . No, the Opinion Piece author corrected the original SJR article. RM is "against the truth". Then he accuses people who disagree with him as people who read "liberal textbooks taught by bearded professors who enjoy tenure and never have to work for a living but it is reality." Then people who disagree with him are from the "Soviet Union" and then he waves the corporate flag.
Well I worked in doctor's offices for 8 years and I know about the drug reps, free samples, buying lunch for the whole office. here is a couple numbers. Each drug rep gets 150K$ in salary to and money for "bribing" doctors. Typical drug rep covers 10 doctors, that comes out to 15K in "marketing" directly to each doctor, per drug company. Then each doctors gets bribed by 10-20 reps a year, you do the math. Does RM get 150K$ a year in salary and bribe money? Add on top of that, magazine, tv and lobbying money. Wonder why drugs cost so much? hey it's only your health, nothing important like a golf trip to North Carolina.

RickMonday said...

Geek,

Where did I miss your fact that an envelope was passed with money? Please point it out to me and I will recant my comments. Business lunches and dinners are part of the sales process in virtually all industries. Furthermore, I never condoned the actions of the drug rep for writing the letter. That was just plain stupid and if true, she is finished as a drug rep. And finally what is your fetish with my anatomy?

geek_guy said...

Bribes do not have to involve envelopes with cash.
How did you miss the fact that 1/3 of the R&D costs for drugs is from our tax dollars. What other industries and or businesses get that kind of money? Not mine, oh yea, oil companies get to drill for oil in National Parks and don't pay back the government any royalties, but thats a different story.
Then the drug companies return the favor by charging Americans 7 times the amount that Canada pays.
Where did you miss the fact that the drug companies basically have monopolies on their products. With this monopoly, they can exceed the amount of money they spend on "Business lunches and dinners" and free samples, and lobbying, and payrolling congressman, because they don't have to worry about competition undercutting them like "in virtually all industries". Also since a person's life can die if they can't afford a drug, that is also not like "in virtually all industries".

rickmonday said...

geek,

Drug companies may get grants for R&D up to 1/3, I will take your word for it. Even assuming that is true, they still pour billions of their own money into drugs, many of which dont work out. They have to recoup their investments and charge market price for their drugs. Canada has price controls on their drugs. I think we should open up the borders for drugs and allow the general population to purchase drugs from foreign countries. Guess what will happen, Canadian drug prices will increase. So, in fact, due to price controls the USA is subsidizing the rest of the world's meds. I dont think that is right or fair.

I also think the federal government should use their purchasing power to negotiate drug prices, something that they dont do today and I will blame Bush for that one. After the next election, I will blame the Democrat President for not negotiating too.

Have you considered how many life saving drugs big pharma has produced? Do you think that all of these drugs would have been produced if it were not for the profits? I think not. Sure maybe a few, but if the profit isnt there, any company wont fork over the billions in investment.

I still dont see how a dinner or lunch can have that big of an impact on the doctor that he would make an unethical decision and either overprescribe a drug or prescribe the wrong drug.
The other thing that the government could do is to shorten the patent time on drugs. I buy generic Claritan at Dollar General. It costs $3.50 for 30 loratadine pills. The same amount of brand name Claritan would cost over $35.

So, is there big profit in the drugs that make it to market, yes. Are there many drugs that never work out and the pharma companies lose big money on YES. Do drug companies save lives? Yes.

Now, the one thing I will agree with you on are the lobbyist. I think that whole industry goes against the best interests of the country. But, since we have freedom of speech I dont see how we can outlaw it.

geek_guy said...

How many other businesses get R&D grants?
America and other countries make life-saving drugs. America and other countries make recalled drugs because it killed people. Your generic drugs are cheap after the patent runs out. Some patents have been extended after the proper congress person had been bribed (lobbied). People are fed up with the high costs of (non-generic clariton) drugs and see this episode as another cause for the high costs of drugs. I am allergic to Clariton, my hay fever meds cost me 350$ a month, the doc says I need to take them year round, but I only get them spring and fall. Sure I get some free samples sometimes, but nothing is free and I (and everyone else) pays for it later.