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Letters to the Editor
Higher Standard For Doctors
Psychiatric News
Volume 43 Number 24 page 20-20

APA President Nada Stotland, M.D., recently asked members for feedback concerning our relationship with the pharmaceutical industry, and in her president's column in the October 3 issue, she quoted my response:" Let's be bold. Let's make the rules. Let's not wait for the drug companies or the Congress to tell us what to do." I am writing this letter to put my comments in context.

Doctors are held to a higher standard. We have not lived up to that higher standard, and the people of the United States and their representatives in the government are asking for an accounting. I would like to see APA lead the way with recommendations to psychiatrists on their interactions with drug representatives. Why do drug companies pay for doctors' dinners at speaker programs? Because doctors wouldn't go if they didn't pay. If you disagree, let's see what happens if drug companies don't pay and see how many doctors show up. The public is uncomfortable with doctors eating free food and drinking free alcohol while engaged in "medical education."

Let's start with a "no free food" policy. That would lead to no doctors attending speaker programs, quickly followed by no speaker programs. Eliminating free food would thus eliminate another area of public criticism, doctors paid by drug companies to talk to doctors.

Let's be bold. Let's make the rules. Let's not wait for the drug companies or Congress to tell us what to do.

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