Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Mixed Messages

In the wake of the FDA's decision to include blackbox labels on antidepressants and Merck's "voluntary" recall of Vioxx, the media is tittering with news on the relationship between pharmaceutical companies and physicians. The rest of us merely read these stories and laugh.

Anyone who has ever been to a doctor's office, or worse, a convention can see the telltale signs of this consanguinity. The pens, the clipboards, the samples, and even the bags you take stuff home in bear the label of some multi-billion dollar corporation.

I guess the more significant question is, does it matter? Does the fact that my doctor gets tons of free stuff from pharmaceutical companies matter in the course of my treatment?

It's a scary question to ask yourself, when you really think about it. I mean, optometrists who successfully sold proclear compatible contact lenses got kickbacks from the manufacturer. When you know that and your optometrist recommends proclear lenses, do you think you're getting the best quality lens for your eye? Maybe. Maybe not.

I feel for pdocs. The few tools they do have that actually work are under attack.

I mean, when Prozac has that same little box that cigarettes do...