Paul Lichter, MD
The Medical-Industrial Complex is alive and well and has been that way for decades. The Complex depends on strong cooperation from physicians. Not only do physicians help industry to develop drugs and devices, they then take part in selling them to their fellow physicians. The physician-as-drug-rep is driven by money and by the culture of reciprocity in our society. This talk will review the foundations of the Medical-Industrial Complex and the reasons why it is able to control a great deal of medical practice in our country. Physicians rarely if ever believe they are biased and Industry works hard to enforce that belief. Money provided by Industry to physicians in essence creates a contract, however subtle, whereby physicians will sell drugs and devices for Industry. We will discuss the ethical issues surrounding physician-industry relationships as part of the Medical-Industrial Complex.