Mercenary doctors, or what I call Merckenaries, are those physicians who do the bidding of pharmaceutical companies for cash. They come in many forms and we could easily debate for ages on when the line is crossed from MD working with pharma to MD working for pharma. Some say there is no difference. Personally, I think there are ways to work with the industry without crossing the line. If the process is good for the patient and fair for the MD, I am less worried that the company might profit too.
But some behaviour is so obvious that it joins the Merckenary ranks without discussion.
I recently saw a local rheumatologist give a pharma-sponsored talk on the approach to low back pain. Not unreasonable, you would say, except that this particular physician practices in a clinic where all patients who consult for low back pain receive a return letter which says, in brief:
Because of the long waiting list at our clinic we are not able to see patients with chronic back or neck problems. Please consult a rheumatologist at another clinic, an orthopaedic surgeon or physiatrist.
I'm sure that this physician hasn't seen a naked spine in over a decade, yet oddly feels comfortable accepting speaking fees as an expert clinician. Not just a Merckenary, a Merckenary with officer potential.