Sometimes the world starts changing so fast, those wedded to the status quo don’t even realize what’s happening.
So today the Globe leads with the pleas of the pharma and device industry via their fronts, the hotel and convention industry. Over at DPH, over a dozen hotels submitted word-for-word identical testimony. The industry, wanting to cling to the old ways, doesn’t understand that it’s all changing.
Here’s the best evidence of the shift. When you’re mocked by The Onion, it’s over. Read this:
Powerful Rest And Fluids Industry Influencing Doctors’ Treatment Of Colds
WASHINGTON—A two-year investigation conducted in five major cities has exposed a widespread campaign by the formidable Rest and Fluids industry to infiltrate thousands of doctors’ offices and dictate how they treat minor illnesses.
The investigation—the full details of which will be disclosed in this newspaper over the coming months—documented thousands of instances in which sick patients were repeatedly instructed, often verbatim, to “lie down and drink plenty of liquids.” This treatment, recommended a staggering 4 out of 5 times on average, was in each case prescribed by a physician known to have recently enjoyed a golf vacation courtesy of Big Rest and Fluids.
The hotel industry is not being told by their industry puppetmasters what’s really happening. In fact, the DPH regulations merely enforce the industry’s own new codes of conduct. The agency that accredits medical education already requires full disclosure of corporate payments and prohibits industry control of programs (standards). The DPH gift ban echoes the restrictions in the new PhRMA code. Senators Grassley and Kohl introduced federal legislation yesterday that would make disclosure mandatory nationally. Senator Max Baucus’ recent position paper on health care reform and the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission have both recommended the disclosure of industry payments to prescribers. Other states are moving to pass similar legislation.
Today’s New York Times article lays it all out. The tide has shifted:
There is little question that battles over how much companies, doctors and medical institutions disclose about their financial ties will continue. But some experts on medical conflicts of interest, seeing the rapid fall of resistance by most major companies, say that a turning point has arrived.
“We are definitely moving toward more disclosure and disclosure of information that is useful to people,” said Lisa Bero, a pharmacy professor at the University of California, San Francisco.
Recently, several big pharmaceutical companies have also said they plan to release the names of doctors they use as consultants.
Some hospital systems, including the big Kaiser Permanente network, bar physicians from taking industry money and now require device suppliers to compete on the same basis on which most medical products are purchased — price.
In recent months, the ground has shifted so rapidly under device makers that companies find themselves scrambling to keep up.
The article presents example after example of device companies deciding to report their payments to physicians, either voluntarily or under court order.
Or look at this week’s New England Journal of Medicine. Correspondent Robert Steinbrook, M.D. reports that more and more academic medical institutions are requiring full disclosure of all financial ties between doctors and industry. The Cleveland Clinic, Duke, Univ. of Pennsylvania and others are making the move.
The train has left the station, but some of the passengers aren’t even aware. It’s almost sad.
Brian Rosman and Georgia Maheras