From the BMJ …
A pharmaceutical company, GSK, is going to start telling Australians how much money they give to Australian doctors to convince patients to take more and more of their drugs. Transparency is good, but financial disclosures in journals haven’t stopped the level of influence in the production of evidence.
If a doctor tells you “this is the drug you need” how will you check to find out if it really is or not? Will you look up to see if your doctor and your doctor’s colleagues are receiving gifts/incentives from the company making the drug? Will you check to see if there is an alternative? Will you weigh up the evidence from the long list of different reviews, analyses and guidelines published (at a cost) and determine which is the best – even when your doctor doesn’t have the ability to know for sure – and often the evidence doesn’t even exist?
Sure it is a step in the right direction (transparency) but with the amount of missing evidence and the inability for patients to have trust in the guidelines and reviews they might read, we still face a completely broken system.