Friday, May 16, 2014

A protracted failure of American medicine to self regulate

Scott Gottlieb, writing at Forbes, says:

The “Physician Sunshine Act” is as much a response to the past marketing excesses of the drug and device makers as a reflection of the retreating stature of the American doctor. Aspects of medical practice that were once firmly the domain of professional bodies are now subject to federal tinkering. This has profound implications for doctors and patients alike who have firmly ceded vital autonomy.

The Sunshine Act mandates that medical product companies report to the Federal government any payment or “items of value” that total $10 or more and are provided to an individual physician over the course of one year. The law also applies to “indirect transfers.” For example, when a drug company pays money to a marketing firm and then expects the group to provide something of value to doctors.

[P]rofessional medical societies should ponder how the rise of these kinds of state and federal laws represents a failing of their responsibility to act as stewards of the occupation’s standards.  This sort of federal regulation represents an enduring change in how Washington views the entire profession. Other professions (journalism, financial services) impose rules and limits on consulting work and outside payments. But perhaps no other profession is subject to federal limits and reporting requirements that are as profound as those now imposed on physicians.

One of the central tenets of professional autonomy and responsibility is the act of self-regulation. . . . Now the only professional currency that counts is what gets codified into federal regulation.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The problem came about when those of us who were missed or delayed diagnosed, or were truly mistreated, started talking about it. Some of us found that we went to people who were supposed to do no harm on us, and instead found silence, blacklisting and iatrogenic neglect. Once the profession became a learned trade, once you sacrificed the patient for $$$, did you expect any less? We see a lot doctors in the news who needed to have been stopped before they hurt people, such as Charles Cullen. Instead, time and again the people who were to save us didn't. What you see, and I guarantee will get more and more, is a lot of negative press due to the lack of the medical profession policing itself for the interests, life, health, of the patient vs. $$$, ego, reputation, and someones' job.