It’s a week of catch up at PostScript – here’s a little link-love before the weekend hits:

A great opinion column appeared in yesterday’s Eugene Register-Guard. The author Gail Hacker M.D., medical director at Lane Community College Health Clinic, does an eloquent job of explaining why drug samples aren’t a solution for her and her underserved patients — and why she feels it’s incumbent on her fellow physicians to turn back pharma’s advances, not the other way around. She writes:

Physicians can afford office supplies and food. Physicians can read journals to get unbiased updates on medications. And if physicians choose to get medical information from a representative of a pharmaceutical company, they can certainly do so without being fed.

Former drug rep talks to docs to Beantown

As we posted earlier this week, former Eli Lilly rep Shahram Ahari was in town talking to medical students and trainees at Boston University, Harvard, Tufts, and Mass General Hospital.  Joe Shortsleeve of WBZ-TV reported on one of his talks and legislation in Massachusetts that would ban gifts to doctors. Watch here.

Congressional clips


Cleveland Plain-Dealer columnist Diane Suchetka takes a look at the proposed federal academic detailing initiative in Congress right now, and talks about the bill with RxP member Allan Coukell, who testified about the practice before the Senate this month.


Coukell also spoke with Pharma Executive about the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, which has been introduced in both houses of Congress.


Business Journal features chief of UMass


John O’Brien, president and CEO of UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, penned this column in the Worcester Business Journal about the process his medical center used to build new, top-tier confict-of-interest policies.

Aussies, AMSA, and Academe

Pharmalot’s been busy, as usual. Here are some recent posts that caught our eye:

Australian Rx is spending big bucks on doctors, too 

AMSA’s how-to on holding pharm-free meetings and conferences

Two MIT researchers’ big idea for restructuring the drug pipeline

Lit review: a false positive?

UC Davis Professor of Medicine Michael Wilkes has this caveat emptor in the Sacramento Bee for those trying to make sense of recent study that found antidepressants little better than placebos in most cases.  Wilkes reads the PLoS Medicine paper as both a case study and cautionary tale about how much we – patients, doctors, even journal editors –  can trust ‘the literature’ in a scientific culture where pharmaceutical companies own the studies and the data they produce.

“Even the process of getting research published in a major medical journal is subject to bias,” Wilkes writes.  “For example, in one recent report, 8 percent of research with a negative result was published in medical journals, compared with 97 percent of research with a positive result.”

This education brought to you by Merck: OK with IOM?

This article from Medical Marketing & Media says the Institute on Medicine is halfway through its slate of meetings on commercial funding of CME, and reports that attitudes on the committee against industry CME may be thawing, but warns that “conflict hawks” like the Josiah Macy Foundation and the Association of American Medical Colleges could still change the status quo.