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August 8, 1990

A Snorkel, a 5-Iron, and a Pen

JAMA. 1990;264(6):742. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03450060088037

"Never be the first to use a new drug, nor the last to discard an old one." These words, spoken by Louis S. Goodman, my pharmacology professor when I was a sophomore medical student, had real meaning for me some months ago.

A pharmaceutical company representative came to my office to describe the merits of a new product. I often meet socially with drug reps and occasionally listen to their formal presentations. The drug in question was one I use frequently in my specialty, but the delivery mechanism was new, and one with which I was not familiar. The rep's presentation was good, the accompanying explanatory material seemed appropriate, and my questions were answered very professionally. He ended his talk with a question: "Will you use our product?"

Dr Goodman's remark jumped into my mind, and I good-naturedly quoted it to the salesman. He smiled politely. We bantered back and