Physician relationship with pharmaceutical companies

  1. I read this morning that there is a movement to stop pharmaceutical companies from paying for physician education events.
    Even well intended governance generally failed due to lack of awareness of true needs. Pharma will likely find other way to promote. How about engaging them and have conversations about potential collaborative solution that truly address the need for both patient-physician self-management and empowerment as well as medical technology to promote individual wellness. Without individual wellness, all governance tender to be ineffective substitutes.
  2. I personally appreciate the medical and pharmaceutical technology for what it has done to help my patients and myself. The challenge I see is not the technology or its promotion; rather, it’s my tendency to rely on it solely in the unfortunate oversight of the importance of self-management for my patients and myself. I spent most part of my professional career doing just that – most of my effort on treating symptoms and “evidence-based” surrogate markers of health and little to no effort targeting the root causes of illness, promote self-management education and role modeling wellness. I read that canadians spend less than 3% of its mammoth healthcare budget on prevention. At least until recently, that ratio is not inconsistent with the efforts I have applied towards prevention and promotion of wellness. So as a physician, I prefer to see the Pharma as a colleague and patients as collaborators in solving the challenge of creating an effective and sensible approach to health care.

    In my experience, the sponsors of CME makes valiant effort to be free of bias for its own products. I find what most CME events do lack are the perspectives on the importance of self-management education. There seems to be an implicit bias for the importance of medication over that of patient empowerment. (Even though self-management are Grade 1A. recommendations on national guidelines by CANMAT, CDA, CCS-lipid ) I think these CME events can become great opportunities for open ended discussion that promote a growing awareness on how to provide an even more balanced and effective approach to healthcare.

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