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Doctors must not be lapdogs to drug firms

BMJ 2006; 333 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39024.654086.59 (Published 09 November 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:1027

This article has a correction. Please see:

  1. Adriane Fugh-Berman (ajf29@georgetown.edu)

Last month I gave a talk at Presbyterian Hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico, about the influence of the drug industry on continuing medical education. As usual, pharmaceutical companies contributed funds to the conference, and there was a small exhibition area with the usual monopoly of drug firms.

Immediately after my talk, one pharmaceutical company representative announced to a conference organiser that her company would no longer support the annual conference. Another packed up his exhibit and walked out. Other drug representatives were observed muttering angrily into their cell phones, which may, or may not, have been related to the near total exhibitor boycott the next day. Only one exhibitor showed up, prompting a physician friend of mine to remark, “Maybe he missed your talk.”

I had been so thrilled to receive my first United States invitation (outside of my university) to speak about how pharmaceutical companies manipulate prescribing. OK, to be entirely accurate, I was invited to speak about herb-drug interactions. But my “buy …

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