Letter to the editor: Pharmaceutical advertising must stop
As a medical student, I was encouraged to read about Purdue Pharma's recent choice to no longer promote its products to doctors ( “Purdue Pharma to stop marketing OxyContin to doctors” ). Doctors and other health-care providers make countless clinical decisions every day to optimize care for each individual patient, and heavily advertising commonly prescribed medications must be seen as an attempt to subvert this process for the sole purpose of generating profit.
As a future physician who is still learning how to best treat my patients, I am particularly susceptible to this corrosive influence. With the opioid crisis currently gripping communities across the country, it is certainly not in the public's interest that I be primed to automatically equate pain management with prescribing a medication like OxyContin.
Given what is at stake and their obvious conflict of interest, pharmaceutical companies should not be given free rein to influence the medical community's decisions by aggressively advertising opioids, especially to physicians and other providers in training.
Purdue Pharma's announcement is a positive step, but medical providers and patients need to demand other drug companies adopt similar policies.
The writer is a medical student at the University of Pittsburgh.