Docs and Drug Companies

Have you seen your doctor’s office lately? You have? Let me bet, it’s filled with erectile dysfunction pens, blood pressure magnets, and cholesterol-lowering post-it notes. It seems that lots of doctors are in deep with drug companies. And this next report confirms it. According to Amanda Gardner of HealthDay News a new study shows that ties between doctors and drug companies are clear:
But the relationships vary depending on the kind of medical practice and specialty, the patient mix and the professional activities of the physician, according to the study, published in the April 26 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.


Over the past two decades, physician-industry relationships have attracted increasing scrutiny. One review found that, on average, physicians meet with industry representatives four times a month, and medical residents accept six gifts annually from industry representatives.

Earlier this year, a group of influential doctors and academic leaders, including the senior author of the new study, called for a ban on all pharmaceutical gifts to doctors at academic medical centers, among other actions.

The outcry has been such that certain professional and industrial organizations, such as the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association of America (PhRMA), have adopted new guidelines.

For this study, the authors surveyed 1,162 physicians in six specialties in late 2003 and early 2004 to find out what they received from the drug industry, how often they met with industry representatives and what factors were associated with the frequency and type of physician-industry relationships.
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Monty - April 26, 2007 10:05 AM

I remember a series of articles in the Philadelphia Enquirer a few years ago about doctors being paid by the drug companies each time the doctor prescribes one of the company's products. The articles didn't refer to the payments as sales commissions, but that's actually what they were. Instead of functioning as health practitioners, the doctors had become salesmen for the drug companies.

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