Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Gimme Pens, Gimme Caps ... Get Rid of 'Em All

Remember how I said that doctors probably wouldn't be corrupted by a "gimme" pen? Well, it seems as though I was wrong.

A short item in yesterday's New York Times reported that a study conducted with third- and fourth-year medical students at the University of Pennsylvania (which bans most gifts) and the University of Miami (which allows them) indicates that even small gifts -- clipboards and notebooks -- had a measurable impact on how the students viewed competing drugs.

All the more reason to applaud the news out of Vermont today that the state legislature has passed a law requiring the release of the names of doctors and other health care providers receiving money from pharmaceutical and medical-device companies, and the amount that they receive.

A little transparency is a very good thing, and a lot of transparency is even better.

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