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April 25, 1990

Doctors, Drug Companies, and Gifts

Author Affiliations

Dover-Foxcroft, Me

Dover-Foxcroft, Me

JAMA. 1990;263(16):2178. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440160039019

To the Editor.—  I disagree with the contention of Chren et al1 that drug companies' educational gifts are less corrupting than direct gifts to physicians. I view sponsorship of physicians' education by drug companies as having the potential for more subtle influences on our behavior and therefore as being a much more insidious form of influence than direct gifts. Drug companies ostensibly spend money to provide unbiased, scientifically based information to prescribers of drugs, but they are not going to present such information unless it is favorable to their products. In my remote area, outside speakers from university medical centers often are flown up here with drug companies' money. A professor whose plane ticket has been paid for by a pharmaceutical manufacturer is unlikely to trash that company's products. It is hard to believe that the editors of the many throwaway medical journals we receive are unaware of