Advocating Through Influence

CSHP-AB currently hosted their 44th Annual Banff Seminar on March 16-18. The conference did see some Technicians attend, including our Secretary (Crystal Schultz) and Treasurer (Kim Fehr) of the PTSA Board. Crystal attended a very interesting seminar on Friday afternoon titled “Conflicting Interests? Commercial Influence and the Medical Professions” presented by Dr. Dee Mangin. These are Crystal’s thoughts:

Dr. Mangin brought up a really interesting conversation that affects all of us in Pharmacy. Commercial influences of the Pharmaceutical industry. Where do we draw the line, and how does it REALLY affect us? According to Dr. Mangin’s presentation, for every $1 spent on advertising on behalf of Pharmaceutical companies, there is an $8 profit! But we would never intentionally be biased towards what our patient should be receiving, right? This is not always the case. Accepting dinners, sponsorships, and even our beloved pens and notebooks, this can unconsciously influence us.

Dr. Mangin did mention that there is a necessary evil to this. We all have our own jobs, and this includes the drug representatives and pharmaceutical companies. The industry is always evolving and coming out with new drugs, but how do we know what is safe for the patient? Well, that’s why we have clinical trials and published journals about the findings of such. But what happens when the trial and the journal are sponsored by the same company that is manufacturing the drug? How do we know that what is in the journals is in fact truth?

We need to remember that we in the Pharmacy are advocating for our patients, and we have to remember that we have a responsibility to ensure that we are doing no harm. Yes, it is ultimately the Pharmacist that decides the therapeutics or the “why” behind the dosing, but we all have to do our part. Yes, the industry influence is there, and we need to navigating our path through the right and wrong.

80% of the general population doesn’t want the Pharmacy to accept “gifts” from the industry. How do you feel about the drug representatives coming to your local pharmacy and soliciting your Pharmacists? Patients want to have unbiased and educated advocates promoting their health.  So how do you feel about this and how can we promote this unbiased environment?

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