Public Citizen wrote a letter to the American Medical Association calling on the group to ban medical-industry financial support of continuing medical education courses for doctors. The letter said the ban is necessary "because the consequences of any corrupting influence of commercial support on CME are so significant."Lovely.
Gosh, I just had to send them a thank-you note back, so I thought I'd place a draft of it here for the blog-o-sphere's edits. Please feel free to add your thoughts.
I feel better now.
Dear Public Citizen:
Thank you for your concern regarding the "corrupting influence of commercial support of CME" on our educational experiences. We doctors firmly agree with you that our minds have been firmly and irrevocably corrupted by the evil pharmaceutical and medical device industries. We are nothing but automotons now. We know that the commercials on TV that our patient's see with little dancing balloons to hawk the bladder control drug, Enablex, have completely corrupted our prescribing patterns. (Our patients demand that drug, so we give it. Automatically. Without any thought whatsoever.) The FDA and Congress was misguided and have added to our inability to make up our minds regarding direct-to-consumer advertising. Thank goodness you've come to our rescue.
Oh, those pens I used to receive (we've stopped now) really used to sway me. We'll be sure to wipe clean our Medtronic, St. Jude and Boston Scientific handbags of their logos. And those calipers we received? Those will certainly be pitched, thanks to your gracious reminder of our lemming-like behaviors. Rest assured the rulers we use to convert milliseconds to beats per minute on those EKGs that was given to us by evil St. Jude Medical will be pitched, too.
I have further informed our office staff that they should throw away all post-it notes with drug industry logos and trademarks, since they continue to corrupt us. Oh, and the wall clock with 'Boston Scientific' on it? Trashed. (I regret I've used up all my Lipitor Kleenex pouches, but if I had them, I'd throw them out, too. They were disgusting.) We now have a new line item in our budget for these things that we will purchase ourselves.
Next year, we'll be holding our national meeting in my garage (it will be down-sized significantly) and fold our advocacy groups (I hear they receive 50% of their entire annual budgets from the sale of the evil pharma and device industry's display space on convention floors - can you believe that???) But who needs advocacy in these times of change for doctors? Certainly not us.
We really appreciate and understand your concerns for our well-being. We now understand that all of this advertising costs money and our patients have to pay it when they buy their prescriptions. We understand that we are easy to sway with all of this and it's certainly not in keeping with our moral imperatives. Rest assured we, like you, hate capitalism these days. Socialism will now be our mantra since it's totally in vogue and we know you know what's best for us. After all, government is coming to solve all our problems and will continue to innovate better than the private sector, we're sure.
So keep up the good work. We stand behind you 100%.
Your doctors in snark-
Ralph Nader must have been going to med school between his failed political campaigns...
Dear Dr. Wes,
I am a daily reader of your blog and appreciate your balanced views. In my opinion, a wider audience needs to hear your opinions. I see other bloggers writing OpEd pieces for national newspapers (http://blogs.usatoday.com/oped/2009/02/pads-pens-presc.html) and fear that the public is getting a totally skewed view of many of the issues you deal with regularly. How about submitting a counter-argument or at least an alternative view to USA Today? Hope you'll consider.
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