Mens Sana Monographs
: 2005  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 13--14

Junkets and trinkets

Ajai R Singh 
 The Editor, Mens Sana Monographs, Mumbai, India

Correspondence Address:
Ajai R Singh
14, Shiva Kripa, Trimurty Road, Nahur, Mulund (West), Mumbai 400080, Maharashtra

How to cite this article:
Singh AR. Junkets and trinkets.Mens Sana Monogr 2005;3:13-14

How to cite this URL:
Singh AR. Junkets and trinkets. Mens Sana Monogr [serial online] 2005 [cited 2020 Apr 4 ];3:13-14
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Full Text

During the brief interregnum of a recent medical conference, we sat bythe side of a pool. It was dusk. And just before the entertainments for theevening were to begin with cocktails and dinner, we were chatting aboutconferences and sponsorship.

The arrangements were, to say the least, lavish. And docs from all overwere visibly wallowing in five star luxuries. Strolling the lawns, sippingdrinks, moving in and out of chauffeur driven cars, being treated like somefeudal lords of yester years. Gratis . The joy of meeting friends, and networkingwith colleagues for positions and honours, was palpable. And that all thiswas complementary added to the fun. Although it was taken for granted.And accepted as part of conference commitment of sponsors, who made theirbucks due to docs' prescriptions anyway.

I had lately been studying the working of pharma sponsors. Talking tosome of them too. Well, I found they had their priorities perfect. No optionbut to pamper docs, they said. But see to it that prescriptions poured in. Thegreater the pampering, the greater the doc's commitment expected. If it didnot work out that way, discreet reminders. Later, more insistent ones. Finally,stoppage of sponsorship. Never talk about the idiosyncrasies and demandsof one doc to another, howsoever idiotic they may be. (I meant the demands,but applying it to the docs may not really be invalid.) And never forgot thatall activities were with only one motive in mind: translating into profits forthe company.

What did we talk at the poolside? I expressed my concern to my fellowdocs. Where did all this money come from? The sponsors put in millions fordelegates. Plus ads. Plus now litigation costs as patients and activists hadbecome belligerent. And the litigation costs were sky rocketing, as drugsreported serious side effects. Plus the brakes on price escalation of drug bylegislators and activists. Was it not time to rein in the expenses? For docs toexpect less pampering, and for pharma to place a voluntary cut on junketsand trinkets? Would not both pharma and docs have to bear the brunt aslitigation keep increasing?

Well, the docs heard, bemused. They appeared convinced. But in no moodto do anything about it. I suggested a voluntary moratorium on spending bypharma, and on unrealistic expectations by fellow docs. Well, it went in a bit.

By then it was time for the jamboree to follow. And the pharma sponsorscame in their ties and their smiles to welcome the docs for the waitingfestivities.

All consciousness evaporated with the spirits flowing in.

And the high decibel DJ saw to it that no other sounds registered.Including that of the conscience.

Well, one lives and learns.

This monograph is the result of that arousal of the spirit.

And that sound.

And I would like to believe that this sound is of the conscience being inthe right place.