But to simply claim that “gift equals increased prescriptions” is not only disingenuous, it’s offensive to all doctors throughout the U.S. (not only those based in D.C.) And it is just unnecessary information to share with patients without explaining more of the details of these exchanges, which is simply not available in every case.
Many physicians use “lunch and learns” to learn about new drugs that could help their patients and—perhaps not shockingly—once they get that information, they are prone to prescribe these drugs. It is the education, not the gift of a meal or round of golf that drives the behavior.
The study’s senior author, a physician herself, offers this advice to patients via the New York Times: “You shouldn’t see doctors who see drug reps.”
Physicians will do what is best for their patients. It’s time that studies like this start putting some facts behind their inflammatory research.
Keith L. Martin is editorial director of Medical Economics. Do you think prescribing habits are influenced by pharma gifts? Tell us at [email protected].