The Gravy Train Is Ending—Drug Makers Cutting Out Freebies for Doctors

January 6, 2009

The Promotional Products Association International is a trade group of very unhappy companies facing a severe downturn in business. These companies provide the promotional products which drug makers use to influence physician prescribing habits.


Beginning this year, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America is adopting a voluntary industry code of guidelines barring drug companies from giving doctors branded pens, staplers, flash drives, paperweights, and the like. In 2007, $16 billion was spent on free drug samples to doctors, clinics, and hospitals. An additional $6 billion was spent to “detail” physicians, which describes the branded promotional handouts and mealtime presentations to doctors. While many a physician has indicated the handouts do not influence their prescribing habits, there is scientific evidence to the contrary.

In late December, Massachusetts General Hospital announced that Dr. Joseph Biederman, a leading researcher on the use of psychiatric drugs in children, will limit his drug industry funded activities pending the outcome of the hospital’s inquiry into Dr. Biederman’s potential conflicts of interest. Senator Grassley has been critical of Dr. Biederman and has accused many schools of failing to adequately supervise researchers.

Dr. David Sinclair, a noted Harvard anti-aging researcher who has focused on resveratrol among other natural compounds, also announced his move to stay clear of any influence that might cloud his work by resigning from the board of Shaklee Corp.

While the voluntary ban on branded handouts to doctors is viewed skeptically by many, some welcome it as a first step to address influence of physicians and patients by vested interests. There remains a large amount of money spent by drug makers to influence physicians annually and a growing suspicion that “whose bread I eat, his song I sing.”

5 responses to “The Gravy Train Is Ending—Drug Makers Cutting Out Freebies for Doctors”

  1. John Reynolds says:

    “Mommy, why does that man keep walking into walls and hurting himself?” “Sonny, look. He has pasted dollar bills over his eyes and can’t see anything except the dollar bills.” “Mommy, he just bumped into that baby in a baby carriage and knocked it in front of that moving car and the baby is now dead.” “He couldn’t see how dangerous he was to that baby because he has those dollar bills blinding him.” “Why does he keep the dollar bills pasted over his eyes?” “Because he believes as our society has stupidly taught him to believe, that ‘success’ means having a lot of money.” “Mommy, how will he answer God’s questions about his accountability when he dies.” ” He will try to lie but the truth is known to God who has commanded us all to worship only the one true God. He worships money instead. He will never be happy.”

    • Anita Perry says:

      The drug companies are just plain evil. I got very sick in 1986 from the use of antibiotics, if it weren’t for herbs, natural supplements and a strict diet I would still be very sick. I cut my arm over a year ago and MRSA got in it. The area puffed up and was not healing. I went to the health food store, got tea tree oil and colloidal silver and it started healing rapidly. After that a friend of mine was hospitalized for months then moved to a nursing home for a MRSA infection in her leg. She would not take my advice. The drug companies have been trying to have a monopoly on our health for a long time. I am sure that they are a part of the hundred companies that control the world governments (or government)?

      • Kevin A. says:

        Just imagine how many people that WOULD’NT die if there were no prescription drugs. These drugs don’t cure a thing but have numerous side effects including death. How many people have been BRAINWASHED by their “Doctor” and Big Pharma that line up at the pharmacy every day to get their “LEGAL DRUGS” that they’re Hooked On? These drugs kill more people in one year than all the “ILLEGAL DRUGS” combined.
        Look what is allowed to be put into our food and water by the government. This is the real cause of sickness and disease. You don’t get sick because your body lacks a prescription drug, you get sick because of a lack of nutrition and the toxins in our food, water, and the environment.
        I don’t know of anyone dying from a natural or organic supplement or from organic foods. There are thousands or millions that die every year because of “THE ESTABLISHMENT” and they want control our health!!!

  2. R. Kerley says:

    Good story John, kudoos

  3. oscar says:

    Things really can be simple as drinking a glass of water. We just need to turn off all the distracting liars and start listening to our own bodies. I healed my broken tooth instead of going to the dentist and having it pulled and it was infected. I use prickly ash oil that I swished around to kill the pain and swallowed to make my teeth healed. I also drank raw, fresh from the cow, milk that was brought to my door by the dairy man here in China and that too helped and then I ate Mangostein pericarp(purple outside) and also made tea from the outside of the Mangostein as well.
    I have also used Colloidal silver on a Sty in my eye that was really terrible but only lasted one night as the colloidal silver knocked it out after 3 swishing s of it in my eye and this only in about 4 hours.
    We have begun to drink more water than we ever did before and now no more back pain and wow is that a serious relief. Do those things that are easy to do and you will marvel at the changes.

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