Thursday, November 1, 2007

Medical Ethics at OSF

A few years ago, a document was submitted to the Illinois Department of Public Health by the Peoria Area EMS. The document stated that even though the Project Medical Director, Dr. George Hevesy, received a "stipend" from Advanced Medical Transport, this did not constitute conflict of interest or even the POSSIBILITY of conflict of interest.

Many people in the Peoria EMS community disagree.

This week's New England Journal of Medicine (November 1, 2007) has an article regarding physicans, industry, and "influential relationships".

"But physician–industry relationships can also have serious negative effects. For example, doctors with ties to industry may be more inclined than their colleagues to prescribe a brand-name drug despite the availability of a cheaper generic version. The provision of free samples may reinforce this behavior and perhaps stimulate off-label use of medications, which can pose risks for some patients.

"Industry relationships may stimulate the premature adoption of novel treatments, which could lead to serious health problems for patients. Industry inducements may reduce physician adherence to evidence-based practice guidelines in favor of company medications or interventions that are not recommended in independently developed guidelines.

"Finally, the financial rewards from industry relationships may reinforce a culture of ENTITLEMENT among physicians, which could limit their ability to honestly acknowledge and manage the potential negative effects of these relationships.

"In general, physicians vehemently DENY that their industry relationships have any of these negative effects — but they are less convinced that the same is true of their physician colleagues."

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