- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 12, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

It is past time to curb Big Pharma’s inappropriate influencing of physician’s prescribing practices (“New pharma ethics rules eliminate gifts and meals,” Web, Business, Friday).

The phenomenon of “medical events for health care professionals through grants to independent providers” sounds safer than it turns out to be. A grant can be given for a university professor to lecture about a new drug. The lecture is scheduled for “after office hours.” So, dinner in a fine restaurant is provided, often with wine. The sponsoring agent of record may be one degree removed from the manufacturing pharmaceutical company.

It would be naive to believe that the lecture topic will be anything other than favorable to the sponsor’s product. With physician incomes at the level they are, why should they need to seek financial support from drug manufacturers for their educational programs? Caesar’s wife was advised to be above reproach. My fellow physicians should be also.

DR. LARRY DONOHUE

Seattle, Wash.

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