To the Editor Studies such as the Original Investigation by DeJong and colleagues1 in a recent issue of JAMA Internal Medicine that show an association between pharmaceutical company–sponsored meals and physician prescribing patterns are prone to misinterpretation when others are less careful than the study’s authors were to note important qualifications; these include the fact that the link found was one of association, not causation, and acknowledging the potentially important role of industry-physician interactions in providing valuable information such as new evidence or clinical guidelines. Indeed, it is highly plausible that links between cheap meals and prescribing may exist because physicians who are already interested in how a particular drug could potentially help their patients are more likely to take the time to learn the details on the latest evidence from the company that developed the drug.
Ron Cohen. Important Distinctions Concerning Pharmaceutical Company–Sponsored Meals and Prescribing Patterns. JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(12):1880–1881. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.7154