An incomplete report on payments to doctors from drug companies [Letter]

It actually doesn't do much good to head up an article about payments to doctors by telling readers that a doctor invented a great new device and the company sent him a check for royalties ("Payments to doctors from drug companies, device makers revealed," Oct. 4).

What would have been helpful is if your reporter had focused on whether the payments were justified instead of solely on the number of dollars.

What's news is when device companies send kickbacks to doctors who didn't invent a device but merely used it rather than one from a competing company.

As for drug companies, they often pay for expensive meals or hotel rooms where doctors get lectures from other doctors who present data purporting to show why a brand name drug is better than the generic.

That might be justified if the speaker is the doctor who did the research that proved the point. But if it's just another practicing doctor who gets paid for pushing brand name drugs over other medications in the same class that can be prescribed generically, then the payment to the lecturer and the payments for the expensive meals and hotel rooms for the audience aren't justified.

Dr. Henry Farkas

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