The Association of American Medical Colleges wants to ban pharmaceutical companies and manufactures of medical devices from providing free perks to doctors (graduates of medical school) and staff and students at its member colleges. That’s a terrific idea. Doctors are supposed to prescribe what is the best possible treatment for their patients, not the products of which ever company provided the best perks. Although this policy is not binding on the member schools of the association, I would hope that all member schools will adopt and enforce this policy. At least thenm we may see a medical profession in the future that is free of some of its worst conflicts of interest.
To have an immediate and far-reaching effect, this policy should also become part of the code of ethics of the American Medical Association, the professional association that most, if not all, doctors join when they start to practice medicine. This would put an emphasis on principle rather than profits back into the medical profession. Hippocrates might even stop rolling in his grave so much!
It is timne for the medical profession and those who train medical professonials to take some serious measures to clean up the medical profession. There is too much emphasis on profits over principles in health care these days – the real reason for the rising cost of health care – and I am glad to see that at least one segment of the industry is willing to take an ethical stand.
The pharmaceutical companies have way too much influence on the healthcare profession. These companies are generally “publicly” owned, which means they have large numbers of stockholdrers to keep happy. However, stockholders tend to have only one priority – making money. They canre little for the company’s principles, only its profits. And computerized trading has severely aggravated this emphasis on profits over principles. The brokerage industry in this country has become a moral cesspool, bot so much because it is evil, but because of its lack of any moral principles at all. Moral neutrality is sometimes worse than evil itself.
Healhcare is too important to be controlled by the whims of the stock market. I am not all that much in favor of making our government bureaucracy even bigger than it is, but something needs to be done to guarantee universal health care – quality healthcare at an affordable price – and if socialized medicine is the only way to achieve that, then so be it.
I think that, if we do it right, we can use the existing Medicaid/Medicare bureaucracy to oversee a national healthcare system, epsecially if some of the silly rules that exist now are removed. Also, all those people in the private medical insurancee bureaucracy could be incorporated into a unversal health care system. After all, if we adopt a truly universal system of health care coverage for everyone, then there would be no need for private medical insurance. Everyone working for private insurers would be looking for work. Why not keep them in the healthcare insurance field? After all, they already have the necessary skills and training, right?
I guarantee you that an industry-wide ban on all the conflict-of-interest perks that are now such an integral part of the healthcare system, and a unversal program of healthcare coverage for everyone in this country would reduce the cost of health care drastically. The real culprit in our healthcare system is the emphasis of profits over principles. Reverse that trend and watch healthcare costs plummet. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening without some serious government intervention and that’s not likely any time soon.
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