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More Government Sunshine

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More Government Sunshine

More Government Sunshine

One of my favorite pharmaceutical reps visited my office today. She usually brings Starbucks for the staff and is a model of professionalism. She never gives a sales pitch for her products but has, on many occasions, gone to bat for patients having a hard time obtaining their medications due to insurance company red tape. And, more important, she is a source of information about a quality product that makes my patients feel better.

Today she informed us that her company is going to comply with the Sunshine Law, a bit of legislation dreamed up by the government to protect you from greedy doctors who pocket millions of dollars from drug companies in return for pushing their products over the competition. In a few years, the public will be able to access a website and see just how much we physicians are taking on the side as bribes.

"Do you want me to keep bringing the Starbucks?” she asked.

“Is the website going to list just the amounts spent or will it list the actual stuff you give us?” was my response.

“I don’t know,” she said.

"Find out,” I said with a wry smile, "And if they list the actual item, I want you to bring us erotic toys and X-rated movies. List all the titles too.”

I guess this law has some value. I might want to know if a physician accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in 𠇌onsulting fees” so that I might be suspicious of his or her prescribing habits. I know some physicians are guilty of this.

The overwhelming majority of us grass roots doctors are not going to be influenced by an occasional cup of coffee or pen. And because of this new law, an entire division has be hired by each pharmaceutical company to track all of the $1.43 bribes and auditors have to be hired to check on these company workers who might be corrupt. And we need more government workers to mind the website and also to audit the auditors.

I guess that it will create some new jobs. But what it really does is to add more cost to the system — more dollars spent on healthcare that have absolutely no bearing on the quality of your care.

When are we going to stop the insanity?