Study: Fewer doctors accepting pharma freebies

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Fewer doctors are accepting freebie drug samples, gifts, meals and travel junkets from pharmaceutical companies, but most still have some form of financial connection with the industry, according to a new study.

The study, which appears in the Archives of Internal Medicine, found CME pay and pharma-bankrolled meeting attendance have fallen off sharply. Eighteen percent reported receiving these forms of payment in 2009, compared with 353 percent in 2004.

Fewer doctors speak on behalf of pharmas, as well. Last year, 8.6 percent did, compared with 16 percent in 2004, according to researchers.  And the number consulting for pharmas fell from 18 percent to 6.7  percent during the same period.

That being said, pharmaceutical companies continue to play a pervasive role in the lives of physicians, the journal article reports. Eighty-four percent of phyisicans said that they had some form of financial tie with big pharma, or nearly all, though that number has fallen from the 94 percent reported in 2004.

The study is based on a survey completed by 1,891 family physicians, internists, pediatricians, cardiologists, surgeons, psychiatrists and anesthesiologists.  The comparisons come from a similar study done in ’04.

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