Speedy and I don’t see a doctor regularly. In fact, we haven’t seen a doctor in years. The last time he did, he had to because he had to undergo therapy for bells palsy. The last time I did was when I gave birth to Alex.
During times when we feel we need professional medical advice, I call up my physician aunt and she’s all we need. We don’t see specialists and it’s unlikely we’ll see one. If we should ever get seriously ill — and I sure hope we don’t — we’ll probably go to my mother-in-law’s doctor who practices herbal medicine. Or we can consult someone we trust like Dr. Emer who lives by the philosophy that “Laughter and walking are the best medicines.”
Trust. That’s the keyword.
When our daughters were born, we chose a pediatrician we trusted — the childhood friend of Speedy’s sister. The doctor’s family home was right across the street from my in-laws’. Her family and my husband’s have been friends for decades. We trusted her. The last time Alex got sick (we thought she might have dengue), we brought her to this doctor — Dr. Liza, we call her — who assured us that our girls could be her patients until they are 19.
Why are we so averse to seeing doctors? Sad to say that our perception of many of them is not very flattering.
I’ve written about it before in a column and in two other blog entries which unfortunately were among those wiped out when my blogs suffered from technical problems in December 2005.
Yeah, it is about the practice of doctors of accepting gifts, payments and other freebies from pharmaceutical companies. A study says that some fields of specializations are more prone to the corruption than others. Oh, yes, it is corruption and corruption is a relationship — one party corrupts another party who is willing to be corrupted.
The issue hit the international headlines again today. Some say no one really knows if the practice benefits patients.
Personally, I don’t see why anyone has to look for benefits when the detriments are clear. The practice jacks up the prices of drugs because the largesse spent by drug companies on doctors — and which they gobble up like piranhas — are padded on the companies’ operational costs and are thus passed on to consumers.
Then, there’s conflict of interest. Whose welfare must the doctor protect first? I think it’s naive to think that pharma companies will continue to shower a doctor with gifts if he fails to return the favor by prescribing drugs peddled by these companies. In the Philippine experience, that should explain why so many doctors — including high profile ones — fought tooth and nail against the passage of the Generic Drugs Law. And that should also explain why, DESPITE the Generic Drugs Law, doctors today still write the brand names of medicines in their prescriptions.
I don’t think it is unfair when newspapers use words like “hooked” and “beholden“. Doctors are hooked — addicted — to these perks and freebies. And they are beholden to the pharma companies which they have to keep happy too to keep the freebies flowing.
At whose expense?
Does that make them trustworthy?