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Doctors' Ties to Drug Companies Called Commonplace
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Washington Post

Washington Post, April 25, 2007
Posted: April 27th, 2007

The ties between doctors and drug manufacturers are close indeed. Most physicians (94 percent) reported some type of relationship with the pharmaceutical industry ... according to [a] study, published in the April 26 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. Most of these relationships involved receiving food in the workplace (83 percent) or receiving drug samples (78 percent). More than one-third of the respondents (35 percent) were reimbursed for costs associated with professional meetings or continuing medical education, while more than one-quarter (28 percent) were paid for consulting, delivering lectures or enrolling patients in clinical trials. Over the past two decades, physician-industry relationships have attracted increasing scrutiny. One review found that, on average, physicians meet with industry representatives four times a month, and medical residents accept six gifts annually from industry representatives. "We know that these relationships have benefits and risks, and we know that they benefit the companies that are involved, and we know from our data that they benefit doctors," said study author Eric G. Campbell, an assistant professor of health care policy at the Institute for Health Policy at Harvard Medical School. "The real question is to what extent do these relationships benefit patients, and the answer is, we don't know." Campbell said that he found it hard to believe that free football tickets for a doctor would trickle down to benefit patients.

Note: For an excellent article by one of the foremost doctors in the nation on how the pharmaceutical industry has corrupted politics and damaged our health, click here.

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