Paying Doctors to Prescribe

Perhaps it seemed of little consequence to the doctor at the time.  A simple lunch to learn about the latest prescription pain killer medication on the market.  Later it was a fee to speak at a conference about the use of that drug at the doctor’s practice.  Six months later it was an all-expenses paid trip to a conference put on by the drug manufacturer to further market the medication.  These situations have become common place in medicine and these payments are a major component of drug companies marketing agendas.   So common, in fact, that the Washington Post highlights a new study that “found 434,754 payments totaling $39.7 million to 67,507 physicians — about one in every 12 doctors.” Alarmingly, a subset of this study found that “one in every five family physicians had received this kind of marketing.” The payments have consequences.  A recent, first of its kind study from doctors and…

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