Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Eroding Patient-Doctor Relationship

Could the trust between patient and doctor be eroding?  According to Consumer Reports' second annual prescription drug survey, it probably is.

In this survey, in which 1,150 adults were polled, the majority said that doctors were unduly influenced by financial incentives they received from industry.

The survey found that:
  • 69% think industry has too much influence over which drugs are prescribed;
  • 50% said a physician would prefer prescribing a drug than suggesting another way to handle a condition;
  • 47% said industry gifts can sway physicians to prescribe certain medicines.
Even though this survey offers no proof that the survey participants knew if their physicians were industry consultants, we must take it seriously, because perception is reality. Our industry doesn’t discuss the eroding patient/doctor relationship, and it must. This is an unintended consequence of the ongoing transparency upheaval, and the negative consequences of this reality is something we must address now.

Why? We are feeling only the beginning of the negative impacts of DTC advertising. Bob Ehrlich and other leaders in DTC marketing circles recognize this as well. We need to change the feeling consumers have, that industry is eroding the relationship between themselves and their physician. For if this is to continue, with all the other forces at work, the challenges may be difficult to overcome. And that is not positive.

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