Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Survey: Most Physicians Have Drug Industry Ties

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Survey: Most Physicians Have Drug Industry Ties

Article excerpt

Nearly all physicians have ties to the pharmaceutical or device industries ranging from accepting drug samples to serving on a speakers' bureau, according to a survey of physicians across six specialties.

The study found that 94% of physicians surveyed reported some type of relationship with industry. The most frequently cited interaction (83%) was receiving food in the workplace. A majority of physicians surveyed (78%) also reported accepting drug samples.

Fewer physicians, about 35%, reported accepting reimbursement for admission to continuing medical education meetings or other meeting-related expenses, and 28% said they received payments from industry for professional services such as consulting, speaking, serving on an advisory board, or enrolling patients in clinical trials (N. Engl. J. Med. 2007;356;1742-50).

Physicians contacted by this news organization said that while the study raises important issues, it is not a cause for alarm since many of the industry interactions outlined in the study are essential and appropriate.

Eric G. Campbell, Ph.D., of the Institute for Health Policy at Massachusetts General Hospital-Partners Health Care System in Boston, and his colleagues surveyed 3,167 physicians working in anesthesiology, cardiology, family practice, general surgery, internal medicine, and pediatrics. Of those surveyed, 1,662 completed the questionnaire for an overall response rate of about 52%. The study was supported by a grant from the Institute on Medicine as a Profession.

The type and extent of reported interaction with representatives of the pharmaceutical and device industries varied by specialty, the researchers found. For example, cardiologists were more than twice as likely as family physicians to receive payments for professional services, such as consulting or work on clinical trials.

Family physicians held the most meetings with industry representatives, on average about 16 meetings per month, according to the study.

Practice setting also played a role in the interaction. Physicians in group practice were six times more likely to receive drug samples than were those working in hospitals, clinics, or staff-model health maintenance organizations. …

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