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Study examines physicians’ relationships with pharmaceutical industry

Physician Practice Advisor, May 9, 2007

Almost 95% of physicians in the United States accept free gifts, such as food, beverages, drug samples, and sport tickets from pharamceutical sales representatives, according to a report in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The most common gifts included the following:

  • Food in the workplace (83%)
  • Drug samples (78%)
  • Reimbursement for costs associated with professional meetings or continuing medical education (35%) 
  • Payments for consulting, giving lectures, or enrolling patients in trials (28%)

Cardiologists were more than twice as likely as family practitioners to receive payments, and family practitioners met more frequently with industry representatives than did physicians in other specialties. Physicians in solo, two-person, or group practices met more frequently with industry representatives than did physicians practicing in hospitals and clinics.

The study looked at the habits of 1,600 physicians from 2003-2004.

Click here to acces to New England Journal of Medicine article.