Clout of Drug Industry Seen In MD Residency Programs And In Health Reform
News outlets report on the pharmaceutical industry's involvement in doctor training and its role in shaping the health care overhauls pending in Congress.
The New York Times: "More than half of the nation's medical residency programs to train doctors in internal medicine accepted financial support from the drug industry, even though three-fourths of the programs' directors said accepting the aid was 'not desirable,' a survey found. At issue are potential conflicts of interest as the residency programs ... train tens of thousands of new doctors at a point in their careers when they are beginning to prescribe drugs..." The study, published Monday online in the Archives of Internal Medicine, was "conducted in 2006 and 2007 [and] found that drug companies paid for educational materials like pocket guides in 83 percent of the programs that accepted support," as well as meals, office supplies and drug samples (Wilson, 2/22).
NPR's Fresh Air talks with Sunlight Foundation senior writer Paul Blumenthal about the "secret deal" between the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the White House and members of Congress in which "the pharmaceutical industry pledged to reduce health care costs by $80 billion over 10 years." Blumenthal explains the Obama administration put "'the biggest lobby in Washington on the side of health care reform.' Meanwhile, the pharmaceutical industry got a guarantee that 'Congress would not legislate any cost-cutting measures that would make a dent in industry profits.'" An investigation revealed that "Congress and PhRMA met dozens of times to negotiate that deal" (Gross, 2/22).