Pharmaceutical Companies Sponsoring Fewer Promotional Events for Doctors Following New Rules
The number of entertainment events to which drug companies have invited doctors dropped 37% in July in the wake of the drug industry's adoption of new voluntary rules that bar use of such promotions "to influence a doctor's prescribing habits," the Newark Star-Ledger reports. Meetings at entertainment venues accounted for 2% of interactions with drug company sales representatives in July, compared with 8% in June, according to a survey of 2,000 doctors by ImpactRX, a promotion-research firm. "You're seeing the industry starting to police itself. The regulations are having an impact," ImpactRX CEO Timothy Margraf said. The pharmaceutical industry on July 1 adopted guidelines that suggest companies avoid using promotional "freebies" such as dinners, trips and tickets to entertainment events as a way to persuade doctors to prescribe certain medicines. The guidelines came as a result of growing controversy over the use of costly promotional events "as a tool to increase brand-name drug sales." A 2000 American Medical Association study found that doctors who spend more time with sales representatives were less likely to prescribe generic medicines. Drug makers spent nearly $5.5 billion last year "swaying doctors and hospitals," up from $3 billion in 1996 (Silverman, Newark Star-Ledger, 8/9).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.