There's an interesting opinion editorial in the latest edition of the Annals of Emergency Medicine
- the medical journal of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP)
. In the op-ed, entitled "Limiting Gifts, Harming Patients"
(subscription required, though copies of individual articles may be purchased), Emory University Economist Paul Rubin, Ph.D. discusses ACEP policies enacted in 2009 and designed to prohibit gifts from pharmaceutical industry representatives to emergency physicians. Dr. Rubin's concern is that these policies could have the unfortunate effect of limiting the exchange of critical information between medicine makers and physicians about the benefits and risks of new medicines, how to use them properly and how best to diagnose the right candidates for particular treatments.
Dr. Rubin writes: "There is a general view that expenditures on research are good and promotion is bad. This dichotomy is misguided and not useful. Research and promotion are merely 2 sides of the same coin, and both are information activities. Research is learning about the properties of some chemical-that is, obtaining information about the substance. But once this information is learned, it is worthless unless it can be translated into patient care. To do this, it is necessary to provide information to physicians and perhaps to patients about the properties of the substance. This is the role of promotion. Without research, there is nothing for pharmaceutical companies to promote, but without promotion, research will be useless because products will not sell."
PhRMA and its member companies agree with the importance of providing healthcare practitioners with accurate, timely information about new medicines, their uses, benefits and risks. Our Code on Interactions with Healthcare Professionals
reflects companies' commitment to ensure that these interactions follow the highest ethical standards as well as legal requirements. For more information on the various ways that healthcare professionals and patients benefit from these exchanges, visit http://www.phrma.org/ValueOfInteractions