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Australian doctors swayed by freebies

Australian doctors swayed by freebies
19 Apr 2004
Source: Medical News Today

A new Australian study finds doctors are swayed by drug freebies. Doctors are being urged to think again about accepting gifts from drug manufacturers.

An article in Monday's Medical Journal of Australia says that conference sponsorship, free meals and even the pens offered by pharmaceutical companies can influence how doctors prescribe drugs.

Most medics deny being swayed by the industry's marketing ploys.

But the article cites one study showing frequent contact between doctors and drug reps is linked to unnecessary prescribing.

Associate Professor Wendy Rogers, from the Department of Health Ethics at Flinders University, says doctors are affected subconsciously.

"It's not like a bribe where they get a free meal and say I must prescribe brand X, but the branding and the product placement works," she said.

Another article in the journal calls for medical students to be made more aware of the ethical issues raised by taking freebies.