Over a year has passed since I had an uncomfortable experience at work through trying to encourage transparency regarding pharmaceutical sponsored medical education.
Over that period of time, despite wider discussion, I am not sure that very much progress has been made, and for this reason I think it would be helpful to share my experience.
I have for several years now collected examples of sponsored medical education across the UK. This was my individual effort to aid general transparency. The pinterest board automatically generates a tweet of new posts.
The following sponsored education was circulated in August 2013 by a senior medical manager of NHS Forth Valley to medical staff. I posted the flyer on the pinterest board as I have done with all other examples of sponsored medical education that came my way.
A few weeks later I received a letter from the senior medical manager involved which formally expressed concerns that my “behaviour” had been “offensive and unprofessional”. This letter was also sent to more Senior Managers and as a result I was summoned to a meeting and encouraged to “reflect on my behaviour”.
I shared my unpleasant experience with a friend at the time, who remarked “Can a person be disciplined for taking an ethical position in the interest of the public/patients good?”
I have reflected at length about my experience. I remain puzzled by the degree of defensiveness generated simply by recording sponsored medical education. I am also disappointed in how unwelcome my efforts to achieve transparency have seemed to be to my colleagues.