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Massachusetts wants to return to the bad old days of pharmaceutical gifts

Posted in Pharmaceutical Advertising

I think one of the most dangerous practices out there is that of pharmaceutical companies wooing doctors with free gifts and meals.  In states where it is legal, you have a group of sales reps (most of whom aren’t doctors) coming into doctors offices, giving them gifts of tangible value, and telling them how safe and effective drug X is.  Doctors get lulled into a trusting relationship with these sales reps, and they prescribe medications without properly investigating the safety of the drugs. 

Well, two years ago Massachusetts put a stop to that practice.  Sadly, now they want to bring it back:

A two-year-old state ban on gifts in the medical and pharmaceutical industries would be repealed under an economic development bill that the House budget committee began polling its members on yesterday.

Source: Ban on drug industry gifts could be lifted – The Boston Globe

Why do they want to bring it back?  Because some businesses are complaining that they lost profits.  So what?  If doctors won’t prescribe drugs based upon the safety and efficacy of the drug, then they shouldn’t prescribe it because the nice sales rep brought lunch for the whole office from Cheesecake Factory.  (And sorry, Cheesecake Factory, if you can’t attract customers who aren’t basically using you as a bribe, you should be out of luck, too.)