Virtual Mentor

Virtual Mentor. April 2014, Volume 16, Number 4.

Ethics Poll

The Physician-Drug Company-Government-Patient Relationship

Physicians often give patients free samples of drugs supplied to them by the manufacturer before prescribing that drug or a similar one. Which of the following statements about this practice do you agree with?
The practice primarily benefits the pharmaceutical company whose drug is sampled by getting patients “hooked” on their expensive drug rather than any available alternative.
The practice is a beneficial way to get patients started immediately on a free trial of the drug.
The physician can prescribe a less-expensive generic alternative later if the physician or patient sees fit.
Read a discussion of this practice in the April issue of Virtual Mentor.

Do you think that parents who have an asthmatic child and smoke cigarettes in the house are guilty of child neglect?
Don't know.
Read a discussion of this question in the April issue of Virtual Mentor.

A number of states have laws that require physicians to perform an ultrasound on a woman before an abortion, and some require that the woman view the ultrasound before she can have the abortion. Do you think it is acceptable for states to compel physician involvement in attempts to discourage patients from having abortions?
Yes; the state’s interest in protecting life justifies intrusion into the patient-physician encounter.
No; the state’s interest in protecting life does not justify mandating physicians to participate in attempts to change patients’ decisions about legal treatments.
Don't know.
Read a commentary on this practice in the April issue of Virtual Mentor.

Poll results reflect the opinions of visitors to the site who voluntarily answer the poll questions. Those visitors do not represent a random sample of Virtual Mentor readers. The viewpoints expressed on this site are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the AMA.