Campaign Seeks To Curb Drug Makers’ Influence
The consumer advocacy group Community Catalysts and the Institute on Medicine as a Profession, a research group at Columbia University, on Tuesday plan to launch a campaign that will seek to limit the number of meals and other gifts that physicians accept from pharmaceutical companies, the New York Times reports. The campaign, called the Prescription Project, will recommend limits on contact between physicians and pharmaceutical companies and will encourage physicians to base their prescribing decisions on medical evidence rather than on marketing.
The campaign, funded by a $6 million grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts, resulted from of a Journal of the American Medical Association article published in January 2006 that recommended limits on contact between physicians and pharmaceutical companies at academic medical centers nationwide.
Jim O'Hara, managing director of policy initiatives at Pew, said, "If you've been in the waiting room when these Chinese lunches are taken into the back office, it may raise the question whether the decisions are based on the best scientific evidence about medication or whether or not those Sichuan Shrimp have something to do with the prescribing patterns."
David Rothman, author of the JAMA article and president of the institute, said, "Gifts bring with them the felt need to reciprocate" (Saul, New York Times, 2/12).