Also, there’s that troublesome little fact that we live in a capitalist country, and if capitalists are properly regulated, that’s a good thing. While I believe deceptive advertising should of course be stopped far more effectively than it has been, I nonetheless do believe in the company’s right to portray their products to physicians in the best light.
Also, when a new drug first comes out, the drug rep may actually be a good if not the only source of information - provided the doctor listens with a critical ear.
I do not blame the drug companies for misleading doctors as much as I blame the doctors for not knowing when they are being misled.
|Adriane Fugh-Berman, M.D.|
For most of the time that I was the director of a psychiatric residency training program, the drug reps provided lunch for the residents at certain classes and for "journal club." The reps were allowed to give the residents a short sales pitch for one of their new drugs, and then they would leave leave the room. After the reps left, I would critique what they said and point out any exaggerations or misleading information. That way, hopefully, these future psychiatrists would learn to be wary consumers of this type of information.
Now, the drug reps have been banned from providing lunch for the residents, so the residents no longer get this valuable training. When they graduate, they will be less able to resist a sales pitch, not more able. Bad idea.