From the drug rep of the huge pharmaceutical company promoting a new anti-arrhythmic drug:
“Dr Mandrola, you are a leader in the area so we would like you to be on our speakers bureau. Of course, you are reimbursed for your time”
“Really?” Maybe they know about my blog, I wonder.
“Sure, we can send you to New York for our speakers training.”
“Well, I have my own slides on AF, and I’m an adequate speaker so you can save the cost of educating me,” I add with EP-like arrogance.
“Oh, …well, …its mandatory, and you have to use our slides.”
Needless to say, membership on their speakers bureau had far too many strings for me.
I take no income from any medical industry. Zero, not even pens anymore. This absence of financial ties feels great, like a puffer when your wheezing. Lack of conflicts provide an opportunity to speak freely, not even the sub-conscious is affected. As I grow older, more experienced and even a shade wiser, company logos in the margin of websites, or on the headers of emails seem so obvious.
Now, not all that is sponsored by medical device or drug companies is corrupt. Far form it. Leaders in industry, like JNJ, Medtronic, Boston Scientific, Pfizer and many others have enhanced our ability to doctor, and in doing so have enhanced the lives of patients. Good on them. But they are for profit entities with boards of directors, and shareholders who expect profits. Employing opinion leaders who nearly always reside in the cocoon of academics influence doctors who prescribe their products. I think this is called marketing.
Beware, you seekers of knowledge on the vast frontier of the internet.