Bribery can crop up easily in the medical world, but there are no Federal rules preventing many of the forms of bribery that might be used since doctors are not Government employees. That, coupled with doctors’ importance to the general public of America, makes bribery in the medical world an entirely different, dangerous beast than is bribery in the Government.
Just like any other system in which individuals are given power and knowledge over others, the medical world is ripe for bribery. The form of bribery primarily seen in America is a relatively recent development, however, as there weren’t major drug manufacturers with the power or desire to bribe doctors to endorse their products. In the past, and in developing countries, bribery of doctors likely instead took the form of patients bribing doctors to ensure better care.
Currently, doctors being bribed by major medical companies forms a much more insidious, and potentially dangerous, kind of bribery. This form of bribery is difficult to detect and even more difficult to eliminate. For more on the general background of bribery and how it relates to the medical profession, click the link.
In the medical world, aside from bribes for medical service which are mostly restricted to developing nations, most bribery originates with pharmaceutical companies. Pharmaceutical companies’ primary purpose is to make money. Often the most apparent way for them to do so is by bribing doctors and other individuals with power over the medical world. Doctors can be bribed to prescribe certain drugs more often, which increases the pharmaceutical companies’ profit and exposure.
Food and Drug Administration officials can be bribed to expedite the process of drug approval to ensure that drugs are approved quickly, regardless of dangers. Such bribery represents a major danger to the overall health of America and any country with similar problems. Follow the link for a more in-depth discussion of the problems surrounding bribery and pharmaceutical companies.
One of the semi-innocuous forms of “bribery” used by pharmaceutical companies to influence doctors is that of free samples of drugs. Free samples are a very difficult issue to talk about because they have both advantages and disadvantages. More free samples will allow doctors to give drugs to patients without the patient needing to spend money on full prescriptions. Free samples will give doctors the option to see if the drug works for the patient at no cost to the patient.
However, free samples often influence doctors’ judgment in unfortunate ways. A doctor becomes more likely to reach for his free samples when prescribing medicine for a patient than he is likely to give the patient a known medicine that might do more good than the medicine the doctor assigns out of his drawer of free samples. To learn more about the dangers and benefits of free samples, click the link.
Doctors and medical professionals have a very important role in the world. That role affords them a great deal of power over their patients. It is all too easy to abuse that power by requesting bribes from patients in order for the patients to receive improved treatment or by accepting a bribe from a pharmaceutical company who would prefer doctors to recommend their drugs to patients, whether those drugs merit recommendation or not.
The code of medical ethics that all doctors swear to follow bears a number of principles at its forefront, such as “do no harm” and “the patient comes first.” Performing either of the above bribery-based actions would cause the doctor to come into conflict with that code of ethics. For more information on the ethics of doctors and how it relates to bribery, click the link.
Most bribery between pharmaceutical companies and medical professionals comes in less blatant forms. At least this is true of most known bribery. It is possible that more traditional bribery takes place under the table, unknown to most, but it is safe to say that this is likely rarer than the more open, seemingly innocuous methods of gifting from the pharmaceutical companies.
These gifts, however, can come in many forms, and can greatly affect the judgment of doctors, as much as if the doctors had made an agreement to act in certain ways. To learn more about some of the many ways in which doctors can be influenced by gifts from pharmaceutical companies, follow the link.