The recent issue of the New England Journal of Medicine discusses the controversial issue of pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers of medical devices providing free gifts to physicians that prescribe their products. The article states that 94% of physicians have some type of relationship with the industry. The article best summarized the debate with the following quote:
From a policy perspective, the debate centers on the overall effect of these relationships on patient care. Although most physicians deny that receiving free lunches, subsidized trips, or other gifts from pharmaceutical companies has any effect on their practices, research has shown that physician-industry relationships do influence prescribing behavior. After all, if these relationships didn’t affect physician behavior in such a way as to increase sales, companies wouldn’t spend $19 billion each year establishing and maintaining them.
There is current legislation in the US Congress requiring such disclosure, and it will be interesting to watch how those debates play out.
For more information on this subject, please refer to the section on Drugs, Medical Devices, and Implants.