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Saturday, January 3, 2009

No Free Lunch

I am truly amused by the voluntary ban on "gifts" that are given to doctors by pharmaceutical company representatives.  Big hairy deal, eh?

Maybe it is.  We've all seen the drug company reps walk freely into the back office areas while we mere sickly peons wait and wait and wait.  We've looked at the anatomically correct posters of our necks and assholes from Company A and Company B.  Pens, notepads, and various truck dot the desks next to the cold exam tables where we wait.

Do I care if drug companies want to influence my doctors?  Yes.  If some free lunch, golf outing, or vacation package "helps" me get the best care, so be it.  If he or she is enticed to visit Panama for "training" on the use of a medication that helps me, okey dokey.

I have to admit that for many years I accepted the tiny tokens of pens, note pads, rulers, and mugs from the insurance representatives of MESSA.  As an elected leader in the union, I often received little perks from our union sponsored health care provider.  Was I influenced by such crap?  Nope.  Having the best insurance in Michigan (except for the State Representatives and State Senators) was reason enough to continue supporting them.

What did I do with all that stuff?  I used some and gave away the rest.  Some teacher friends appreciated the junk.

Well, my kitchen clock from Novartis with the Amlipril, Higroton 50, Amlibon Bes, and Lopresor R brands at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o'clock needs a new battery.  Dr. Polo passed this trinket along to me after the Sandoz-Novartis representative left his pharmacy.  And, the free medication samples that the doc gave me are being used well.......

Hey, I think I still have a MESSA pen in the cupboard along with the dozen or so pens with my father's name and address.  Yeah, well, Dad said they were to remind me about where he lived....

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