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Thursday, November 1, 2007

Doctors and Drug Companies — Scrutinizing Influential Relationships

An Editorial for perspective in the New England Journal of Medicine about the relationship between drug companies and physicians.

Indeed, the nature, extent, and consequences of physicians' relationships with industry have become one of the most fiercely debated issues in health care today. At the simplest level, such a relationship exists whenever a physician accepts anything from a company whose products or services are related to the practice of medicine. And such interactions are ubiquitous: according to a recent survey, although the frequency and intensity of the ties vary according to physicians' personal and professional characteristics, virtually all physicians (94%) have some type of relationship with industry. Most commonly, physicians report receiving food and beverages in the workplace (83%) or being given drug samples by a manufacturer's representative (78%). More than one third of physicians (35%) receive reimbursement for costs associated with professional meetings or continuing medical education, and more than one quarter (28%) receive payments for consulting, speaking, or enrolling patients in trials

A related article in the NEJM is about: A National Survey of Physician–Industry Relationships
The conclusion drawn from the survey is: The results of this national survey indicate that relationships between physicians and industry are common and underscore the variation among such relationships according to specialty, practice type, and professional activities.
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Psychiatrists are not mentioned.

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