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.)