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Vol. 6. Issue 1.
Pages 7-16 (January - June 2020)
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Vol. 6. Issue 1.
Pages 7-16 (January - June 2020)
Original article
DOI: 10.1016/j.bioet.2019.07.002
Patients with “dates”: Wrong for doctors but acceptable for drug companies?
Pacientes con citas: ¿Es incorrecto para los médicos pero aceptable para las compañías farmacéuticas?
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Jean-Christophe Bélisle-Pipon
The Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics, Harvard Law School, 23 Everett St, Room 324, Cambridge, MA 02138 USA
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Abstract

Direct interaction between pharmaceutical representatives and consumers is an issue that is still under-researched. In fact, the underlying ethical issues are completely absent from the radar of regulators. However, this type of communication without a mediating interface (such as a TV broadcaster or an electronic platform) or an intermediary (healthcare professionals) provides a space where consumers are highly exposed to industry influences. While the putative aim of those activities is to educate patients about their health condition, the management of their symptoms and the available treatments, the industry is seeking to replace the traditional role of health professionals. A case study, involving face-to-face interactions, allows a better understanding and provides clarifications to show that it is not the industry’s role to provide health information to consumers. Mechanisms are suggested to support government agencies in ethically regulating this practice.

Keywords:
Conflicts of interest
Direct-to-consumer advertisement
Health information
Pharmaceutical marketing
Patient education
Resumen

Las interacciones directas entre los representantes farmacéuticos y los consumidores es un problema que todavía está infrainvestigado. De hecho, las cuestiones éticas subyacentes están completamente ausentes del radar de los reguladores. Sin embargo, este tipo de comunicación sin una interfaz mediadora (como una emisora de televisión o una plataforma electrónica) o un intermediario (profesionales sanitarios) proporciona un espacio donde los consumidores están muy expuestos a las influencias de la industria. Si bien el objetivo putativo de estas actividades es educar a los pacientes sobre su estado de salud, el manejo de sus síntomas y los tratamientos disponibles, la industria está tratando de reemplazar el papel tradicional de los profesionales de la salud. Un estudio de caso, que implica interacciones cara a cara, permite comprender mejor y proporcionar aclaraciones sobre por qué no es el papel de la industria proporcionar información de salud a los consumidores. Se sugieren mecanismos para apoyar a los organismos gubernamentales en la regulación ética de esta práctica.

Palabras clave:
Conflictos de intereses
Anuncio directo al consumidor
Información de salud
Marketing farmacéutico
Educación del paciente

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