Pharmaceutical gift reporting is an example of intolerable micromanagement

LETTER — Posted March 22, 2004

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Regarding "States ask drug firms to report gifts to individual physicians" (Article, March 1): Every time a discussion comes up on guidelines for pharmaceutical company gifts to physicians, I feel as if I need to take a blood pressure medicine to keep from a having a stroke.

Now I read where several states are considering having the pharmaceutical industry report to them the gifts that have been made to physicians. One state, Massachusetts, even is considering tying the reporting to licensure. How utterly ridiculous.

What we need is to have all state and national elected officials report to all of their constituents all of the junkets, meals, gifts, favors done for family members and donations received from the billions of dollars spent on lobbying them each year.

Of course all of this doesn't increase the cost of anything. (Yeah, right, just everything we buy in the good old USA.)

Yes, I know that our elected officials are much wiser and are immune from being influenced in any way compared with common physicians. Yes, I also know that buying my wife a meal will result in terribly inappropriate prescribing habits.

If you want to talk about cost and accountability, start where the problem is the greatest -- with lawmakers. Leave the hardworking physicians alone, and let them do what they were educated and trained to do. Medicine and physicians have had about all of the micromanagement that they can stand.

J. Lee Valentine, DO, Meridian, Miss.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2004/03/22/edlt0322.htm.

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