Study: Even small gifts influence doctors

When professionals talk about the influence of pharma or medical device gifts on doctors, most are discussing consulting fees, vacations disguised as CME classes and the like, not pens or sticky notes. But a new study suggests that even small gifts like pens or coffee mugs have an impact, too.

The study, which appears in The Archives of Internal Medicine, concludes that students from a med school where such freebies were allowed had a more favorable perception of a cholesterol drug than schools where such gifts were not permitted.

The researchers, who worked with 352 third- and fourth-year students at Penn and the University of Miami, assessed whether students had positive or negative views of the cholesterol drug Lipitor and competitor Zocor, which is available as a lower-cost generic. Students at Miami--where gifts are allowed--had stronger positive feelings when allowed to use promotional materials like Lipitor notebooks and clipboards, researchers concluded.

To learn more about the study:
- read this piece from The New York Times

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