Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Conflicts of Interest on NPR

NPR did a broadcast in September (I think) about conflicts of interest in medicine. It's worth a listen, though I don't give it my absolute highest recommendation. Panelists include Jerome Kassirer, Ezekiel Emanuel, Sanford Friedman, and Thomas Stossel. Link here. There are a group of physicians who are outspoken about conflicts of interest being a sign of mega-progress in research who view drug reps as good teachers and conflicted interests as a means of benefiting patients. Stossel is in that camp. The irony is that he talked a few times about there being no evidence indicating that conflicts of interest create problems. He must have somehow missed such evidence as this, this, this, this, and this.

2 comments:

nab said...

cl psych:

I read your blog daily, and I am pretty sure that we are both the preacher and the choir on most topics.

It is very hard to imagine how any educated individual who is aware of "what is going on" in medicine today can defend the current state of affairs.

Are you aware of anyone who has defended or supported the Stossel view who (a) actually understands medico-scientific research; (b) has no "skin in the game" (independent w/ absolutely no direct or indirect financial self-interest); and (c) who does not base their argument on some type of broad and inflexible free-market ideology?

Shorter Q:
Is there a "good" (logically coherent, internally consistent, and emprically/objectively defensible) argument that the current system is one that can actually produce anything other than profits?

CL Psych said...

My responses would be...
(a) No
(b) That's close to impossible!
(c) The free market is always cited except strangely ignored when a drug company pays off a generic drug co. to not make a generic version of a blockbuster drug. It's also not cited when government researchers do the scientific work that is later converted into a multi-billion dollar medication for a corporation.

Thanks for your continued interest in the site.