We've all seen and heard the commercials that end with the phrase "ask your doctor if (insert medicine) is right for you." It's a marketing technique used by drug companies to get their medicines into the private discussion about your health that takes place between you and your doctor.

It works.

Much like a lobbyist in our nation's capital, a pharmaceutical reps job is to get to know the doctor. They want that doctor to know everything about the medicines they sell. They want that health care provider to be so comfortable with their product that they will prescribe it to you. So when you "ask your doctor" he or she will prescribe the medicine "if it's right for you."

Pharmaceutical companies love to do things for health care providers that already prescribe their medicines. They love to do even more things to entice those health care professionals that don't write prescriptions for their products.

A drug company representative might buy the doctor a meal for his or her office staff. They might invite them to a seminar to learn more about their products. The seminar just might be held  at a luxury resort. Then again it might be at a meeting room of a modestly priced hotel in your hometown.

The drug company might even pay the doctor to present a program on the medical issues their product just happens to treat. To make it easier the drug company will write the script and provide the slides for the presentation. How convenient.

There is nothing legally wrong with any of those things I just described. Ethically? That could be a question. Doctors are human. We humans like to do nice things for people that do nice things for us. Could special treatment from a pharmaceutical company influence a doctor's decision on what is truly best for your health. I would love to believe it couldn't but I don't live in a world of make believe.

If you clicked the red button above you were directed to a website that is run by the United States Government. If you happened to find your doctor's name and see certain payments that were made to him or her it doesn't mean they are not doing their job.  It simply means you need to ask a few more questions.

In the changing landscape of healthcare it is getting harder and harder for doctors to make a living. The regulations, the Obamacare, the cost of malpractice insurance, has really made practicing medicine a difficult task. Also it cost a lot of money to earn a degree in medicine. These ladies and gentlemen deserve the opportunity to make a good living if you ask me.

So what happens if you happen to notice that your doctor has been paid an inordinate amount of money by a certain drug company? A drug company that manufactures a drug that you have been prescribed. In my opinion it behooves you to ask the question, is it because your health care provider is concerned with what's right for you, or what is right for them?



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