01/04/2009 - New pharmaceutical industry guidelines should stop most drug companies from distributing a wide range of trinkets and office supplies designed to keep their brand names before doctors as a subliminal inducement to prescribe high-priced drugs.
The new code, which kicked in on New Year’s Day, bars the free distribution of everything from pens to coffee mugs and staplers by some 40 drug companies that have agreed to the restrictions. That may seem like small potatoes, but in the aggregate the promotional products probably cost about $1 billion a year, as Natasha Singer reported in The Times.
The updated rules are the industry’s latest attempt to restore public confidence that doctors are prescribing medicines in the patient’s interest. The code still has too many loopholes.
Read the full editorial No Mugs, but What About Those Fees? on the New York Times' Web site.