Is Your Doctor’s Business Interfering With Your Treatment?
One of my favorite movie lines appears in “Jerry Maguire.” Sports-agent Maguire is trying to convince one of his football-player clients to stay with him and the client keeps insisting: “Show me the money.” I got to thinking of that line the other evening, while reading a Facebook post from an MS patient. After being examined by her neurologist, she was told that, based upon records from other doctors, the neuro thinks her MS is progressing. Then, writes the patient:
“…the doctor left it up to me if I wanted to stay on aubagio or switch to tysabri. But she never even laid a finger on me!!! Then tried to get me to buy her magnesium and vit b supplements, which costs a fortune. I graciously declined them. Said will do another MRI and if more lesions to think about the tysabri. But is it too much to ask for an actual exam.”
No exam, but pushing supplements? What kind of medicine is this?
A few years ago. Consumer Reports magazine published an article about the practice of doctors recommending supplements. It quoted a 2010 poll by Nutrition Business Journal — a trade publication — which found that of the “600 medical doctors, naturopathic physicians, chiropractors, nutritionists and other practitioners surveyed … 76 percent sell supplements in the office.”
The American Medical Association, writing way back in 1999 in its Journal of Ethics, cautioned against this practice:
“In-office sale of health-related products by physicians presents a financial conflict of interest, risks placing undue pressure on the patient, and threatens to erode patient trust and undermine the primary obligation of physicians to serve the interests of their patients before their own.”
The guidelines continue:
“Physicians must disclose fully the nature of their financial arrangement with a manufacturer or supplier to sell health-related products.”
So what was happening with this doctor? Show me the money?
A day or two later, on another FB page, an MS patient wrote about trying to decide whether to have another MRI. Her doctor, she said, asked her to decide if she wanted one, but didn’t offer much guidance of his own. This patient wrote:
“…he said he was all for it!! Of course they are, line there (sic) pockets some, but more so the corp running all medical in this valley!!! Except the few brave docs who won’t go under the umbrella there (sic) created. My doc is one of them, but only one MRI in the valley!!”
She indicated that she thought the MRI was owned by this group of doctors, or that the docs were receiving some sort of kickback for their referrals.
Show me the money?
The doctor who wrote that Consumer Reports article five years ago concluded: “Several patients have told me recently that they, too, have felt compelled to buy products from various physicians. What should you do if a health-care practitioner tries to push a supplement, or any other product, on you during your office visit? Find another doctor.”
I agree. Don’t show him your money.
(You’re invited to see other columns on my personal blog: www.themswire.com)
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