There is an unspoken trust that patients hold towards their physicians. When people seek medical treatment, they seek the advice and expertise of their doctors. But is that what we are really receiving when we seek medical treatment? What if doctors are advising us to take medications against their better judgment because they are being offered incentives to do so?
A recent article in the New York Times has revealed that physicians are offered pay bonuses, better online reviews, and even bumped into Tier 1 statuses with insurance companies if they meet certain criteria, Jason Halpern has reported. These criteria can range from prescribing a certain medication to a target number of patients to reducing the overall cholesterol in a given group of individuals by whatever means possibly. Basically, if a certain medication has more negative side effects than an alternative one, but offers a more significant drop in cholesterol levels, a doctor will opt to prescribe that medication so they can reach whatever goal they need to meet to be awarded, with no regard as to what is best for their patient.
This is yet another example of corruption that is found in the world of medicine. At least such schemes are now being widely recognized and attempts are being made to put the focus back on patient centered care, such as the Physician Payments Sunshine Act. This legislation publicly links all physicians to their financial ties.