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February 20, 2002

Pharmaceutical Representatives and Resident Physicians

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhDIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2002;287(7):844. doi:10.1001/jama.287.7.839

To the Editor: Dr McCormick and colleagues1 found that residents' attitudes and behavior were influenced by the amount of their exposure to pharmaceutical company representatives. As a resident in a program that has a long commitment to independence from pharmaceutical representatives, I support the authors' conclusions.

When patients ask me about the availability of complimentary samples at our practice, I am proud to tell them of our policy barring pharmaceutical representatives. We in the medical profession have primarily our integrity to offer patients; without our patients' trust how can we expect them to follow our advice for treatment or even to forgive us our human mistakes? When I explain to my patients that my recommendations to them are based on studies published with disclosure in journals and not on my gratitude for a "drug lunch," they rarely complain about our lack of free medication.

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