According to this NBC-TV news story, research has found many doctors are influenced by free meals from drug companies. The study, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association’s JAMA Internal Medicine, found physicians who accepted even one meal sponsored by a drug company were much more likely to prescribe a name-brand drug to patients.
Over the past few years, a rash of complaints that drug companies were buying loyalty put pressure on the pharmaceutical industry to tone down gifts and promotional items, which used to more frequently include things like equipment and paid luxury vacations. However, the study found even the more subtle incentives, such as one or more free lunches valued around $20, led to higher prescribing rates.
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