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Big Pharma Marketing to Physicians Even Greater

As you know, pharmaceutical companies throw OBSCENE amounts of money around to influence the way consumers think, and even more on physicians. Up to now, I'd been quoting that number in the vicinity of $15 billion. Seems that number was off on the low side, according a new study.

Direct-to-physician activities accounted for the bulk of spending, with $5.3 BILLION spent on a practice called "detailing," which are merely visits to physicians by pharmaceutical sales representatives to promote their firm's drugs. Free drug samples distributed during these visits were valued at roughly $16.4 BILLION.

One of the study's co-authors shares many of the same concerns I do. "The concern that pharmaceutical marketing practices compromise physician integrity and have exacerbated increases in public health costs has prompted government actions at both the federal and state levels. The key public policy issue is the extent to which the industry's promotional tactics lead to an increase in appropriate versus inappropriate use of drugs in a cost- effective manner."

In other words, drug companies -- driven by profits -- have used their power to influence many areas of medicine. What is most unfortunate is that this has resulted in many biased studies, which ultimately lead to misleading information to the public.

This study is just another great example of doctors playing a key role in the drugging of America. But, it's not completely their fault. Most have no clue that the drug companies are spending at least $10,000 per doctor to influence their behavior. The doctors, of course, do not receive a check, but the perks can be quite significant.

EurekAlert December 7, 2004

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