Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


No more free lunches

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: (Published 29 May 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:1155

Rapid Response:


I work at a local restaurant delivery service. Our day business
consist of about 90% of doctors offices getting free food from drug reps.
From what I have experienced it's not even the drug rep who places the
order. It's the doctors office. In fact I think the doctor office's are
the one's who are sucking the marrow from the everyday person who has to
pay the price for prescription drugs, and the drug companies are letting
them do it. As if they don't get paid enough already...

Example: I made a delivery to a doctor's office that only had five
employees yet they ordered enough food for each employee to eat three
meals. How can you justify that? Talk about milking the cow to death...
After reading a lot of articles about the free lunch policy of these
companies I feel that I must add my two cents worth.

Many people say that these free lunches don't affect the overall cost
of prescription drug costs. I would have to disagree. The delivery company
I work for makes approximately 20 deliveries everyday, 5 days a week. The
average cost of one delivery ranges from $200-$500.

Now let's see... 20 deliveries a day times a mean average of $250
equals about $5,000 a day. Take this figure and multiply it by 5 days a
week... That's $25,000 a week and $100,000 a month. Wow! That's roughly
1.2 million dollars a year being spent on free lunch for doctors offices
within our delivery company alone.

If you take that figure and multiply it by 60,000 drug reps, well I
won't get my calculator out or anything but it's roughly 7 billion dollars
a year. How can you say that it doesn't impact the market cost of drugs?

Granted I liked getting those $25 gratuities plus the $20 add-on tips
but that doesn't make it right so I quit my job and became an advocate for
the reform of drug rep perks. I think it is good that legislators are
trying to restrict this area of the drug field.

Not to wreck my own career or yours but I would love to see the
bottom drop out of the perks business... I think it would have a definate
impact on the cost of prescription drugs. Doctor education is not even
close to a good excuse for this practice

Competing interests:  
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

25 June 2003
Mike L