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Posted by on Jun 4, 2008 in CME, Ethics, Pharma

Carlat vs Stossel: Little Learned

Carlat vs Stossel: Little Learned


Harvard physician Tom Stossel and psychiatrist Daniel Carlat recently debated the Massachusetts Senate ban on pharma gifts to physicians. Unfortunately, the 7-minute discussion (hosted by New England Cable News) was given the typical short shrift by TV-based media and did not include input from informed economic or legal perspectives.

However, in the brief time provided, Stossel did attempt to consider the unintended and uninvestigated consequences of banning low-ticket pharma gifts (eg, pens, notepads, sandwiches), such as the loss of state business and jobs. It is important to note that there is little-to-no evidence indicating that such gifts negatively affect physician behavior or health care outcomes. Stossel also indicated that the ban may limit pharma funding to state institutions for research.

On the other hand, Daniel Carlata proponent of banning all pharma gifts and pharma-funded CMEwould have you believe that physicians are incapable of autonomous judgment and should, therefore, be subject to his non-evidence-based gut morality.

Photo: iStockPhoto.

bmartin (1130 Posts)

A native East Tennessean, Barbara Martin is a formerly practicing, board-certified neurologist who received her BS (psychology, summa cum laude) and MD from Duke University before completing her postgraduate training (internship, residency, fellowship) at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. She has worked in academia, private practice, medical publishing, drug market research, and continuing medical education (CME). For the last 3 years, she has worked in a freelance capacity as a medical writer, analyst, and consultant. Follow Dr. Barbara Martin on and Twitter.