In the January 25 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, a group of influential doctors supports the banning of gifts, drugs and continuing education provided to medical professionals by pharmaceutical companies. The doctors claim that accepting these perks undermines patient care.
According to Federal regulations, companies are not allowed to pay medical professionals to prescribe their drugs. However,
the drug industry spends tens of billions of dollars a year to woo doctors, far more than it spends on research or consumer advertising. Some doctors receive a significant part of their income from consulting arrangements with drug and device makers. Others take regular vacations and golfing trips that are paid for by companies.
A recent lawsuit involving the device maker Medtronic revealed that one prominent Wisconsin surgeon received $400,000 for a consulting contract that required him to work just eight days.
The Detroit News has more on the proposed drug gift ban.