A GRATE MEDICAL SCANDAL,
Otago Witness , Putanga 2515, 28 Haratua 1902, Page 45
A GRATE MEDICAL SCANDAL,
CHRISTCFIURCH, May 2*.
The Pharmaceutical Association of Canterbury last evening exposed a grae scandal in connection with doctors' preseuptionb. One of the leading chemists moved — " That this association disapprove of the giving of secret commissions to doctors in any form whatever." He said that a great evil had grown out of the practice of giving these commissions, one Christchurch firm paying commission amounting to 50 per cent, on" the 'reiail price. The outcome of the practice was that nine out of ten prescriptions written by some medical men would contain the name of the firm referred to. Out of every prescription worth 2s 6d the amount of Is 3d would go in commission given by that firm. Another evil was that druggists, who frequently paid 50 per cent, in commission, could not make up tho loss by a higher charge, as they were in competition with other druggists, and when the doctor had to receive 50 per cent, it reduced the chemist to ouch a position that he coukl not honestly dispense prescriptions. There had been several notorious ca^es wherein tho health of the patients had bsen considerably injured by that practice. There were other case 3in which the matter had been brought under the notice of the doctor, who, though aware that the prescription had not been honestly made up, refused to go to the chemist who dispensed it and complain, as he was in the same box as the chemist. In the discussion that croiied one thcmUt stated that there were doctors in the city who libelled the druggists who did not give them commissions, but took good care they did not come within the libel law. Another speaker said that there were many cases where a certain preparation was ordered of standard brand, and the chemist's own brand was made up owing to the expensive drugs needed for the prescription. Eventually the motion was carried unanimously. (Fr»m Our Own CoßßEsronrssKT.) At the Pharmaceutical Association meeting last night Mr W. Barnett, a very woll known druggist, unreservedly declared that there are several notorious cases where the health of the* patient had been considerably injured owing to the practice of dispensing cheap and nasty druga for those prescribed, and that the medical man who prescribnd them refused to move in the matter because he was equally culpable. Another chemist declared that an agreement exists between some chemists and certain doctors that high-priced drugs should not be prescribed at all. Further than this, these doctors are actually dishonest enough to influence their patients against rho a e chemists who refuse to pay them a commission by libellous hmuendoes and misrepresentation — in other words, p. sort of blackmail is levied on the chemists. Naturally the publication of the discussion of the Pharmaceutical Association created intense indignation here. To-night Truth remarks -. "We believe that no more abominable disclosure regarding the medical profession ha.s ever been made anywhere in the British Empire. The public owes a debt to the members of the Pharmaceutical Association who were present at last night's meeting for disclosing this shocking scandal — a scandal compared to which the mere refusal of a doctor to answer a call palls into absolute insignificance. The public has bsen accustomed to place the most implicit tru«t in the integrity of the medical profession. That trust has been met grossly abused. Had it not been for the. outspokenness of a few chemists it would have remained indefinitely in ignorance of this conspiracy against it. The Medical Association wai, of course, fully conversant with what was going on, and lent itself to the deception that was being practised. No words can too strongly condemn the attitude of the association. Recently the Dunedin Medical Association complained that the press had dealt with the medical scandal in that city without giving it an opportunity of investigating the matter first. What chance of honest investigation would such a case have had from a body of men like the Christchurch Medical Association without the publicity supplied by the press. We venture to say that it would have had none at all. A prominent member of the Phaimaceutical Association goes so far as to declare that doctors as a body will oppose tho abolition of thiJ Tiprn'ciou« "v-tem of commissions. It will be interest ing to olifcprvu whether they will after those d.^-rlo-urei-, and what defence tlu> ('liristchnroh branch of the Medical Association will make to this grave charge againot its member*. V hat clause of it* " National Code of Ethics' will it quote on its own behalf? Po-^ibly it will inform the public what principle of mecheal etiquette- enable* °onie of :tt member-, to -aenfiee the h< dltli of their patu>nt> for the ooii-iik-iatiyii of 1-, 3'( < 01.nn1--.lon