Is Your Reporter Tied To Bonuses?

  • by: |
  • 07/02/2007
The NY Times has a editorial today supporting a government registry that would require drug companies to report all gifts it gives to doctors that might be construed as influencing their prescribing behavior. Here's the justification the Times editorial board gives for supporting this intrusion into the privacy of doctor's lives:

"As Gardiner Harris reported in The Times last week, one drug company invited doctors to a weekend training session in Orlando, Fla., to learn how to give marketing lectures to other doctors for an asthma medicine. The enticement was free airfare, a rental car and hotel room, plus a $2,700 stipend."

Enticement? How about covering travel expenses and professional time. As for the allegation that docs were "influenced". Where is the data and where is the evidence of patient harm.

Since Americans now get their information on health from major media outlets I would propose another registry: A list of all reporters who get bonuses for writing articles that "break" stories that affect people's perception of public health institutions or drug safety. It would be wrong, wrong, wrong for the New York Times or any paper to reward a reporter with a cash bonus for writing an article just because it caused a ruckus on public health matters, say for instance, an article about the financial ties of the advisory committees for the FDA. I mean a financial reward for an article on financial ties shaping decisions. I mean that would be so hypocritical as to be....ironic.

The Times should just clean it's own house or tend to it's own garden.

Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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