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November 12, 2003

Psychological Aspects of Gifts From Drug CompaniesPsychological Aspects of Gifts From Drug Companies

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Stephen J. Lurie, MD, PhD, Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2003;290(18):2404-2405. doi:10.1001/jama.290.18.2404-a

To the Editor: Mr Dana and Dr Loewenstein1 focused their commentary on self-serving bias, which is always a factor in human decision-making, including the decisions of physicians. However, physicians' professional obligation to place their patients' interests above their own should not be overlooked, because it lies at the root of medical ethics and professionalism. To care for patients, for example, physicians often must set aside some personal interests—such as leisure and time spent with family and friends—throughout their careers. Similarly, while physicians expect fair compensation for their services, they also pledge to provide care on the basis of their patients' needs and not to profit unduly from their patients' conditions.