Healthcare advocacy group says no more free lunches

On Monday, a new Boston-based consumer advocacy group, Community Catalyst , attacked drug firms’ liberal use of free samples, lunches, and incentives to influence doctors to prescribe their branded medications.

The International Herald Tribune reports:

With a $6 million grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts, [Community Catalyst and the Institute on Medicine as a Profession, a research group at Columbia University] plan a national campaign calling for restrictions on the interactions between doctors and drug companies, and urging doctors to base their prescription writing more on medical evidence than on marketing.

The pharmaceutical industry currently spends close to $12 billion per year on marketing directed toward doctors and their staff. More at PharmaGossip and Commercial Alert.

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