Doctors and gifts: Disclose, decide | Jan. 20, editorial
Ethics rules cover doctors, gifts
This editorial on biopharmaceutical company payments to physicians is correct that the ongoing implementation of the disclosure provision within the Affordable Care Act — a provision that was strongly supported by biopharmaceutical companies, which are working closely with the administration to ensure careful implementation — will provide greater transparency.
However, trips and noneducational gifts are topics of the past, as they are prohibited by PhRMA's Code on Interactions with Healthcare Professionals. Interactions are meant only to be educational and professional in nature.
In fact, these interactions are intended for physicians to help advance patient care through contributions to research, educational outreach to their fellow physicians, and/or opportunities to learn about the latest scientific data, so that they can make the best treatment decisions possible for their patients.
It is true that physicians may receive payment for these interactions, from research grants to a casual lunch over a scientific discussion. However, those payments are intended to serve as fair and reasonable compensation for a physician's time away from his or her practice.
We fully support transparency of this information, but as this editorial demonstrates, it is imperative that information be presented in the proper context. Patients have a right to know that their physician is working with biopharmaceutical companies — in the best interests of scientific progress and patient care.
Karl Uhlendorf, vice president, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, Washington, D.C.
Doctors and gifts: Disclose, decide Jan. 20, editorial
Driving up drug costs
I don't worry so much about the doctors being influenced by the drug companies. I think they are smarter than that. What concerns me is the amount of money spent by the drug companies doing this. I was in a drugstore a few days ago when a drug rep came in with a stack of pizzas. I have a relative who works in a doctor's office, and they get lunches two or three times a week.
This is costing the drug companies a lot of money in drug reps' salaries, besides the cost of food. This is happening all over the country and is raising the cost of our prescriptions. I was in a doctor's office one day when I was the only patient and there were four drug reps there. I really could use the price of my prescriptions lowered rather than have my doctor's staff treated to free meals every week.
Lenore Atkinson, Seminole
Miami factory: one side of Bain | Jan. 19
On the attack
The Times wasted no time running negative articles on Mitt Romney after it looked like he was going to be the opponent to its pal Barack Obama.
It seems like every day on the front page there is a negative article on some Republican, and now Romney is the Times' favorite target. I can't remember seeing anything on the front page about a Democrat in a long time.
By renaming yourself the Tampa Bay Times, you guys missed an opportunity to score one for truth in journalism. You should have called yourself the Tampa Bay Democrat.
John Galloway, Tampa
The high price of war
The latest figures from the Pentagon show that the cost of just supplying troops in Afghanistan is now $104 million a month. With all the promises from Republican presidential candidates to cut Medicare, Medicaid, education, Social Security, food stamps, unions, infrastructure spending, unemployment benefits and balance our budget, why is Ron Paul the only one calling for ending the wars and reducing the defense budget? Our national priorities are taking us down the wrong path.
Terry Hammonds, Dunedin
Giving a jolt to Florida tourism | Jan. 20, editorial
Where was this president in 2009, 2010 and 2011 when Florida's economy really needed a jolt and jobs? Oh yeah, it wasn't quite time to campaign for re-election. And now that he promises to "loosen" entry regulations into the country, I'm sure potential terrorists are already lining up for Disney visas.
This president and his administration are truly in fantasyland, as they have been since January 2009.
Richard Carey, St. Petersburg
In Mickey's front yard, Obama beckons tourists | Jan. 20
Jobs gained, jobs lost
While its important to promote tourism from abroad, I wonder how many more tourists might be attracted to visit Disney World if our president would support the jobs potentially created by that pipeline he opposes in the Midwest.
Let's promote tourism from our Midwestern citizens and Canadian friends by making it possible for them to afford a visit to our fair state while boosting our economy.
John Hungerford, Palm Harbor
Hillsborough passes dog tethering ban Jan. 20
The Hillsborough County Commission's compassionate and progressive decision to ban dog chaining will spare countless canines the misery of spending their lives chained up like old bicycles.
Banning dog chaining will also increase public safety: Lack of socialization, inability to escape perceived threats, and increased territoriality caused by chaining make chained dogs more likely to bite.
Lindsay Pollard-Post, PETA Foundation, Norfolk, Va.