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Letter to the Editor
President’s Column
Psychiatric News
Volume 37 Number 16 page 26-27

The article "Drug Industry Responds to Complaints About Marketing" and Dr. Appelbaum’s column "Throw Them Out ?" fail to consider that many psychiatric and medical residents have huge debts and often have less than $100 a month disposable income. They also suffer from major stresses producing PTSD symptoms in them and their families, according to J.J. Cohen in "Heeding the Plea to Deal With Resident Stress" in the March Annals of Internal Medicine.

To them, drug company dinners, pens and pencils, honoraria, and so on might help temper the cruelties inflicted by the current business management of medicine. We really ought to encourage pharmaceutical companies to cater to interns and residents and their families in any way possible.

In addition to the usual offerings, I would propose that these companies set up a fund to help needy interns and residents repay their loans. This could lead to a $.50 per prescription tax whose purpose would be to eliminate residents’ debts. In exchange, the payers would be creating a beneficence for themselves with the coming generation of practitioners. Who would not like to be able to say to their young physician, "I helped put you through school"? It might reinforce the ties between patient and doctor, which are currently impeded by business interests. Any takers?

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