Victoria Brewster, MSW

Victoria Brewster, MSW

Social Justice Solutions | Staff Writer
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Drug Reps Not Sharing Side Effects?

A post in the Winnipeg Free Press from April 10th discusses ‘Drug Company Reps Don’t Tell Docs Enough About Side Effects’ and then further states many U.S., Canadian and French physicians prescribe <--more--> the medications anyway. Does this strike you as typical of the current healthcare mind-set or unique? If you said typical, I believe you would be correct. Our current healthcare model is focused on medications and the ‘quick fix.’  To me, this is not a good thing. Medications are not always the answer. Sometimes health professionals need to dig deeper and focus on the whole person and a more holistic approach which looks at all areas of a persons life. Until it went off the air I was a huge fan of the television show ‘House.’ I love the intrigue, the dialogue and bantering between the actors, but I also like the fact they went further and would investigate the patients homes, work environments; basically nothing was taken at face value. Although Dr. House had atrocious bedside manners he had a brilliant mind. These are the type of physicians we need, who go beyond the facts presented. Good bedside manner would of course be a huge bonus!

The study revealed that salespeople failed to provide any information about common or serious side effects or warn doctors about types of patients who should not use the medicine in 59 percent of the promotions.

“Laws in all three countries require sales representatives to provide information on harm as well as benefits,” lead author Barbara Mintzes, of the University of British Columbia, said in a university news release. “But no one is monitoring these visits and there are next to no sanctions for misleading or inaccurate promotion.”

Monitoring of the drug representative’s visits to hospitals, clinics and physicians is needed along with regulations or laws for misleading information or promotion of a medication.  Should a medication be prescribed to me, I want to know all the possible side effects, potential drug interactions, risks and benefits to taking it vs. not taking it. Patients need to be their own advocates and do any necessary investigation before just going along with the physicians recommendation or if necessary ask for a second opinion.

By Victoria Brewster, MSW
SJS Staff Writer in Canada

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