July 16, 2008
Op-Ed by Robert Pearl, MD, Featured in San Francisco Chronicle
Voluntary marketing guidelines recently announced by the pharmaceutical industry fall far short of what's necessary to preserve the sanctity of the physician-patient relationship, wrote Robert Pearl, MD, executive director and CEO of The Permanente Medical Group.
Dr. Pearl wrote about the topic in the July 15 edition of the San Francisco Chronicle.
The Permanente Medical Group, which is the largest medical group in the country with more than 6,000 physicians, established a policy four years ago that strictly prohibits its physicians from accepting gifts of any value from drug or device companies. TPMG's physicians provide medical care for more than 3.3 million Kaiser Permanente members in Northern California.
Dr. Pearl addressed the pharmaceutical industry's July 10 decision to enact new, voluntary marketing guidelines banning some gifts from pharmaceutical marketing campaigns, and stressed the importance of preserving patient trust.
"As physicians, we cannot allow ourselves to compromise our integrity or risk the trust of our patients by accepting favors – no matter the size – from an industry whose overriding motivation is maximizing shareholder return by selling its products at the highest profit to the most people," Dr. Pearl wrote in the Chronicle. "And we cannot abdicate our responsibility as professionals – whose duty is to put patients' interest first – by relying on the industry that benefits from those inducements to self-regulate."
Read Dr. Pearl's article in the San Francisco Chronicle.