Drug-maker freebies can lead to harm for patients, a new report from the highly respected New England Journal of Medicine warns. Consumers have reason to be concerned about the study’s findings.
Gifts (bribes?) showered upon doctors by drug- and medical device-makers have become so pervasive that they are a standard part of every physician’s practice. 94 percent physicians have a relationship with the drug industry, according to a study scheduled to be published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Consumers should care about such relationships because drug companies market the most expensive brand names; gift-giving influences prescribing behavior and therefore how much patients spend on prescriptions.
The study proves that many doctors do not follow the AMA voluntary guidelines. It notes, for example, that 35 percent of respondents accept reimbursement for continuing medical education or for travel, food or lodging for medical meetings.
A National Survey of Physician–Industry Relationships
E. G. Campbell and Others