February 19, 2007

Art Caplan on the New PHRMA Statement on Gifts: Nonsense on Stilts

The movement, begun at Penn, to restrict access to sales representatives and gift-giving behavior on academic health center campuses and facilities has triggered a surprising response from PHARMA. Basically they are arguing that a well-trained sales force has a key role to play in educating physicians about drugs and devices and that sometimes this can and should involve free meals.

I disagree. Sales reps do not have the background or the training to provide sound advice to physicians. They have a background in marketing and selling products--the science of which I would doubt they understand in any real way. I am surprised to see this unconvincing rationale come forward and hope that it will be a tiny speed bump in the effort to minimize the influence of marketing and sales people at academic medical centers, hospitals, and doctor's offices.
- Art Caplan

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