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December 01, 2005


Fred Jones

Many conservatives would like to see this practice curtailed, including me. On the other hand, I am not aware of any guidelines that the industry has been given to determine what is and what is not acceptable marketing for prescription drugs.
So do you take this to congress and try to get traction with it, or is it just easier and more politically expedient to sit on the sidelines and carp about it? Perhaps blame it all on BUSH?


Clearly Bush designed this practice in the 70's and 80's (don't you remember his days as a pharmaceutical hot shot?) I must blame him!

In all seriousness, I wouldn't bring this issue before this particular congress because they obviously have major ties to PhRMA (can we say Medicare Part D??) I just don't think anything would get done. As I'll explore in my next column, however, I think the American people need to make a serious assessment of what they think the role of pharmaceutical co's should be, because they seem to have something else in mind than what's happening now.


I hope you're not thinking in terms of supervision by the AMA or FDA ; that would be the fox guarding the henhouse.

J Bean

It certainly is unethical to ghost write papers or accept monetary gifts for other reasons. I'm not sure that it's as wide spread a practice as people seem to think though. In my five years of primary care practice, I've received two mugs (Pepcid and Nexium; I also have Silicon Graphics, Star Technologies, and Cubic Defense Systems mugs from my software engineering career), numerous cheesy plastic pens, and a few pads of sticky notes and boxes of facial tissue. It's not the largess that people who blog about this seem to think. In five years I've probably received $100-200 worth of cheap junk more than I received from vendors when I was an engineer. It's not clear to me why this is so much worse than the advertising that goes on in other industries.

I do get quite a bit of high retail value gifts from pharmaceutical reps in the form of drug samples. I cheerfully accept most drug samples so that I can give them to patients and save them as much money as possible.

interested party

My only issue is that EVERY industry gives marketing and promotional items to prospective clients. I don't see why regulation of only 1 industry would be fair. Surely doctors are intelligent enough to make decisions clinically, not based on which pen they like best.

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