I was late to FCM today, but it was a good session. We were talking about conflict of interest issues, such as what kinds of gifts are acceptable for pharmaceutical companies to give to physicians and what happens when doctors and surgeons prescribe medications and devices when they benefit from the sales of those medications and devices. Things get especially sticky when the device or drug was invented by that physician and they spin a company off with CCF. Apparently that has happened several times. It is difficult to avoid that problem though because a lot of times, patients come to CCF specifically because they know that a particular treatment has been invented here, and they want to take advantage of the expertise of the physician who invented it.
Personally, I don't think that banning all gifts from pharmaceutical companies is a very good solution. It won't reduce their marketing expenditures, because they'll just use their marketing budget in other venues like advertising directly to patients. It certainly won't reduce the influence they have on physicians and government officials. They'll just lobby in Washington more and advertise more at physicians' meetings and in physicians' journals and on TV. And it may interfere with the free drugs they give physicians that physicians can pass on to lower income patients, as well as the support they give to educational activities for physicians. I think that actually it would be better to allow all the major companies to give the same amount of gifts and have the same amount of access to physicians, and that way none can unduly influence physicians. But apparently the national trend is toward forbidding all gifts from Big Pharma whatsoever. Well, no one ever said bureaucracy made sense.
Our seminar today was histology of the liver. Geez, the histology overload is killing me this block. I never want to see another virtual slide again. To think I had ever even contemplated going into path! I have a hard enough time getting through a single chapter of the histo book, let alone three of them in a single week. The GI histo seminar leader is really nice and enthusiastic, but I still don't like histo. The pathologists keep telling me that a bad histo experience doesn't mean I can't be a pathologist though. Well, I guess I'll see how path goes next year, and then I'll have a better idea.
In the afternoon, I went to anatomy office hours and reviewed the blood vessels in the abdomen. I was the only one there, so it was a really nice, succinct review. Afterward, I went to a meeting for the next bone marrow registry drive. There is going to be a Minority Men's Health Fair here at CCF next month, and we're planning to try to register more minorities there. One other idea we came up with at the meeting was to set up a table at CHI and try to register some of those people as well. Most of the people we see at CHI are minorities and fairly young, so I think it is worth asking them if they're willing to register.
Tomorrow is going to be another really long day. I just have to hold on until spring break....