Some Drugs with Those Uggs?

I remember leaving a doctor I loved because I couldn't stand the hour or more wait while he was wined and dined by pharmaceutical salespeople.

I'm not kidding.  This guy would take anyone who wandered in with a loaded briefcase right into his office and sit and joke and laugh with them while we patients stewed outside.  When I needed a prescription, guess what?  It was always one of the drugs these people peddled.

A story today in The New York Times pointed out that all this electronic assembling of medical records is feeding right into the hands of pharmaceutical companies, giving them the lowdown on everything from the meds doctors prescribe to how often you refill your prescriptions (and if you do) to what color underwear you're wearing (just kidding, but that's probably coming, too).

Databases that would have been sealed to them in the past are now open as medical records switch over to electronic health records.  And this allows drug companies to target their pitches more precisely to doctors, and yes, sell more drugs.

I suppose it's not illegal, or unethical, and it's really no more than advertisers do now, sending you ads related to what you've looked at online.

But somehow medicine to me, and doctors, were more circumspect than that.  Ads for drugs for depression really don't belong next to ones for rejuvenating your face.

Business is business, I guess.  We'll just have to accept it.  But I remember when all the world was not a stage, people didn't post their meals or their kids' birthday parties or their dogs licking a steak on the table, and what you were being treated for was between you and your doctor.







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