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Letters to the Editor
No Free Lunch
Psychiatric News
Volume 39 Number 19 page 37-37

Thanks to Dr. Sreenivasa Desai for his August 20 letter to the editor on pharmaceutical company support of continuing medical education. You are not alone, Dr. Desai. Many of us steer clear of pharmaceutical luncheons, as they have one purpose: to sell a product.

Every time a doctor says she or he is not influenced by drug marketing, someone in the marketing department smiles quietly. The products presented at these luncheons have three to five studies (sponsored by the manufacturer) supporting their efficacy compared with placebo. However, there have been more than 70 studies of the effect of drug marketing on physicians. There has never been a negative study. The studies consistently show an impressive effect, even from a single sales call. Ironically, some physicians say they see drug marketing working on their colleagues but don't think it affects them.

Dr. Desai is correct. If you want more information about drug marketing, point your browser to<www.nofreelunch.org>. If you want objective information about new pharmaceuticals, consider a subscription to the Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics or a similar newsletter. You may be startled to learn that some of what you have been "fed" ain't necessarily so.

(Disclosure: I have no financial interest in the above organizations.)

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