Pharmalot reports that the Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America surveyed 501 physicians and found that only 11 percent of doctors said that info from sales reps greatly influences their prescribing decisions.  

While it looks like bad news to some, PostScript read it as a convenient companion piece to the industry’s Code revisions that were enacted two weeks ago.  Why?  Because it underscores PhRMA’s contention that doctors are not swayed by pens, pads, gifts and now, the salespeople who bear them.

Not clear on the difference between the old and new voluntary codes? Check out the Prescription Project fact sheet comparing the two.


The Center for Science in the Public Interest has developed a model disclosure policy that it’s encouraging medical journals to adopt uniformly, according to the Scientist blog. The Center’s Integrity in Science director Merrill Goozner is in discussion with the Committee on Publication Ethics, a journal cohort, and said that three journals have already adopted the guidelines.


In this op-ed in the Providence Journal, Gregory Fritz, a child psychiatrist at Brown University in Rhode Island, says that the influence of pharmaceutical marketing may be most egregious at medical society meetings, where seminars funded by pharmaceutical companies “feature excellent speakers, little redundancy, current data, professionally made slides and handouts and terrific free food,” making those without pharma backing, which often feature behavioral therapy and health-services solutions, seem “dowdy” in comparison.

“The insidious aspect is that a newcomer to the field would easily conclude that the excitement and future of psychiatry is only in psychopharmacology,” Fritz writes. “This imbalance in prestige and financial rewards between the pharmacologic and psychosocial components constitutes a major factor behind the trend for many psychiatrists to become only prescription writers.”


And here’s an interesting tidbit – Pharmalot says a new study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson foundation and published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine this week found that some medical bloggers are promoting medical products in their web writing (11 percent).  According to lead author Tara Lagu, a recent poll found that nearly a third of medical bloggers surveyed had been approached by a company to promote a product – and the JGIM paper found product promotion in 31 of the 271 blogs analyzed. 

Seems getting a doc-blogger to mention your drug or medical device is the 2.0 answer to earlier product placement ploys like the cereal boxes in Jerry Seinfeld’s kitchen.


PharmaExec says it’s ‘win-one/lose-one’ for drugmakers as the cost and quality bill passed out of the Massachusetts House last week without the gift ban but with a data-mining provision. Details will be worked out between the Senate and House version by the end of next week. 


And in an interview at PsychCentral, Massachusetts psychiatrist and CME watchdog Daniel Carlat talks with John Grohol about why he doesn’t see drup reps any more but still takes samples, and how the blogosphere has changed his mission to stem industry influence on medical education.