Tuesday, June 21, 2016

How About a Little Our-Brand-Name-Pharmaceutical with Your Sandwich, Doctor?

Way back in 2009, I argued that "gimme" pens, cups, T-shirts, lunches, and all the rest were a bad idea in the medical industry (and others, too, for that matter). (Full post, here) At the time, I wasn't sure that something so small as a pen could affect a doctor's purchasing decision, but even the appearance of being so influenced was bad.

It turned out, of course, that doctors could be influenced by something so small as a pen. (Another 2009 post, here)

I wrote about it again in 2012 (here) and 2014 (here) and probably a bunch of other places that I haven't found in a quick scan.

And... here we are again.

Today's New York Times has a "Well" blogpost from Nicholas Bakalar (article, here) that reports, depressingly but not surprisingly, that "...[a] free lunch may be all it takes to persuade a doctor to prescribe a brand-name drug instead of a cheaper generic, a new study suggests."


And, of course, "[the] more meals doctors had, the more likely they were to prescribe the promoted drug."

The full article on which Bakalar's post is based is from JAMA Internal Medicine, and can be found online, free, here.

None of us like to think of ourselves as this susceptible, but study after study has shown that we are. So why are we still OK with this system?

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