Drug Pushing Case Study

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Drug Pushing: a Prescription Proposal from a Pharmaceutical
Valencia Cave, Holly Costanzo, Sean McCart, Josh Mosholder
Towson University
Michael Kim is a pediatrician at a practice outside of Baltimore. Walking into his office one day, he sees a brand new golf clubs set against his desk. He remembered getting an email earlier that week from Apativ, a large pharmaceutical company. It was about a new drug, Paxaflora, which helps children with congestive heart failure. If given the drug, it would lower blood pressure, decreasing the heart’s workload. It should keep their hearts going before they get a transplant. It could really help kids, like Dr. Kim’s patient, Alex. Alex has been waiting for a new heart for the last two years, and Paxaflora
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Kim knows that his patient wants to be as comfortable as possible and didn’t know if he should prescribe Alex the drug and take the risk of severe side effects when there are other medications that will satisfy Alex and his parents with less severe side effects. Dr. Kim was surprised that Mr. Smith at Apativ actually did so much for him and appreciated it, but wondered why Mr. Smith put emphasis on the positive aspects of Paxaflora and left out important information that might affect the patient in a bad way. Dr. Kim’s boss, Dr. Grey, wanted him to prescribe the drug because Mr. Smith at Apativ was paying him to promote Paxaflora. Dr. Kim felt forced and did not want to disappoint his boss by not going through with prescribing Paxaflora to Alex. He also would feel bad because Mr. Smith did so much for him. Should Dr. Kim prescribe the drug and risk the severe side effects that Alex’s parents wanted to avoid?
Case Study Questions
1. What should Dr. Kim do? How should he approach this situation to the pharmaceutical company? Should he tell parents about the drug?
2. Can doctors be objective in prescribing when they are plied with free samples, gifts, and consulting fees?
3. Do you think that it is ethical for Pharmaceutical companies to compromise the doctor’s full understanding of the drug to get better sales?
4. Why should physicians only consider patient needs when having meetings with
Pharmaceutical reps? 5. Is it ethically appropriate for pharmaceutical companies to dismiss important risk factors that might affect the patient 's’

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