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Old 08-08-2012, 12:06 PM
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$ Ethical $ issues Dr's and drug companies


My Nero specialist has been able to squeeze me in on Tuesday. He moved up my appointment by 6 weeks. I went in today and had my blood levels checked so he could have results when I arrive. I didn't speak with him on the phone I've been quite the hermit but the wife said he sounds really excited about getting me into this Vimpat study and in turn lowering my Keppra. This we will talk more about on Tuesday but I've read a bit more on Vimpat and it really doesn't sound much better than most anti-epileptic drug's out there (a lot of the same uses precautions and side effects) except that it's stock is way up over the last 12 months (hmm???). I know it's a new drug but damn it's stock is through the roof.

The business oriented side of my brain has to wonder ? Is this a you scratch my back I scratch your back ? Do the Dr's that prescribe and recommend our scrips get incentives ? Is it OK to ask these questions or is it flat out rude ? Does anyone know what kind of legal or ethical limitations are put on our healthcare providers ? Is it ok for them to own stock in the drug companies ? It would almost seem a conflict of interest for a prescribing doc to also own stock in a drug company or even a parent company ya know ?

Does anyone have any input here.
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Old 08-08-2012, 01:43 PM
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I have no idea about whether that would be the case but I would definitely ask, 'rude' or not! I think prescribing or offering a drug just because you get a kickback would be much more than rude! Good luck!
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Old 08-08-2012, 02:06 PM
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I tried Vimpat in March/April 2011. I think I was on it for a few weeks, maybe a month... but for me, it made me depressed, I was always crying, and for being a stay at home mom, I wasnt able to focus on my kid's needs. I was just not myself. My dr cut my dosage in half to see if it would improve things, but it didnt. So I was taken off of it. That was my experience with Vimpat. But just because it didnt work for me, doesnt mean it wont work for you!
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Old 08-08-2012, 02:09 PM
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If you are in the states, you should watch the movie "Love and other drugs" This is a pretty accurate representation of how drugs are "pushed" etc. I know someone who does this, as my company makes the blister paks for some of these drugs, and they have told us the storys.
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Old 08-08-2012, 02:20 PM
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Even though I don't live in the US I am pretty sure that kickbacks are not legal there. I know recently they'd made the laws of companies giving "gifts" to doctors much stricter. I agree with that because They will obstruct someones objectivity & make them consider something other than the patients well-being.

That said, from what you've mentioned I don't see any reason to assume that is your doctors situation. There are so many reasons that a stock can be doing well. I think it more likely that it would be doing well because it looks promising and that would be a good reason for your doctor to suggest you get involved with this study.

As for whether doctors trading such stock being legal, this article brings up the question of whether doctors should disclose if they have any investments in medical/curative products. That implies that they are allowed to have such investments legally.

Possible Conflict of Interestoctors Selling Products and Owning Stock

Also don't forget to ask questions about the study itself like how long is it, have there been any previous studies & if so what were their results? what are the possible effects of this drug (good & bad), how might it effect your life, what changes might you have to make to accommodate the study?
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Old 08-08-2012, 02:50 PM
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Yeah, I know certain Dr.s do push drugs for the benefits they get. Of course no one wants to point at the elephant in the room. But it is true. Their is a site I found that actually showed me the amount doctors received personally from drug companies. Most of these people are Psychologist, its legal to see these transactions as well. They get paid for SPEAKING, or DINING expenses. I don't ever recall being told that a Dr. can be paid a thousand dollars for a meal, or 5 thousand dollars from a specific drug company to SPEAK of the behalf of the company. I'm sure people on here will get angry at me for stating this, but I find see so much corruption, its pathetic. It truly is a conflict of interest from what you are saying.
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Old 08-08-2012, 03:13 PM
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I don't see why people would get angry but I want to be clear I am not pointing fingers at my Doc or any Doc in particular it just seems odd (that old correlation vs causation thing popping up again). But yeah if you look at it from an "outside the box" point of view so to speak . Things that make you go hmmm ?

Although I am generally not in favor of government oversight and regulation in general maybe some sort of disclosure F.O.I. is in order.
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Old 08-08-2012, 05:04 PM
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It's illegal to bribe physicians to prescribe certain meds, but that doesn't mean that the drug companies don't try it anyway. And some of them get caught: http://pharmaceutical-kickbacks.com/

There are other ways drug companies lean on doctors. It can be a slippery slope when docs are hired by drug companies to "consult" or speak about a new medication. Even doctors with the best intentions start to feel beholden to the company that pays them, and their prescribing habits change. See: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/25/us...icts.html?_r=2 and http://www.boston.com/news/globe/hea...ney/?page=full
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