Is the duty of the MD evolving?

All of the articles for this week continue to discuss the relationship between the physicians, the pharmaceutical companies and their representatives or “detail men” while focusing on the changes in the duties of the physicians prescribing particular medications under the influence of drug reps. Elliot, however, points to a different drug rep, the recent graduates of medical school who have been indoctrinated in favour of particular pharmaceutical companies based on their sponsorship of and advertising at medical conferences. This ‘new drug rep’, I believe can be the foundation of the changing duties of newcomer MDs. They no longer need to be indoctrinated using methods of gift-giving or will be more open to the concept of gift-giving if biased in favour of the pharmaceutical companies during their education. For instance, suppose company X gave potential MD Y a couple of textbooks that she was struggling to pay for, or that there was a scholarship that X provided for financial aid, the branding occurs at the level of education: she has a positive opinion about X and most likely will continue to throughout her career as an MD. She will have a higher chance of becoming a promoter and prescriber of X’s products for the rest of her career. Her duty, therein, changes to not necessarily protect the wellbeing of the patient, but rather to protect and promote her, what she supposes are, unbiased information imparted on her during her educational experience in medical school.

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