Most MDs still accept pharma, device-maker gifts

Despite increasing criticism of the practice, most doctors continue to accept gifts such as free meals from pharmaceutical and device-maker firms, convinced that such gifts aren't changing their prescribing patterns. A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that four out of five doctors let the drug and device firms buy them food and drinks. This trend continues despite widely-known guidelines issued in 2002 by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, which discourage these companies from giving physicians gifts. Still, taken together, the two industries spend more than $20 billion annually on such marketing, which includes free meals, CME sponsorships and free drug samples for doctors. Some of the biggest gifts accepted by physicians were educationally-related: a full 35 percent of physicians said that they got paid to attend professional meetings or CME sessions. Meanwhile, 28 percent got paid for consulting, lecturing or getting patients enrolled in clinical trials.

To get more info on the study:
- read this piece from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette