The Association of American Medical Colleges recently published "The Scientific Basis of Influence and Bias" based on a symposium held in June 2007 in Washington D.C. The report approaches the question of whether physicians can be influenced by pharmaceutical marketing and financial conflicts of interest from a neuroscientific perspective. We hope we're not giving away anything here when we say they found 'yes.'
"An effective and principled partnership between academic medical centers and various health industries is critical to capture the fruits of biomedical research and ensure that the best scientific evidence is deployed toward advancing the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease. However, given the fundamental differences between the missions, fiduciary obligations, and cultural norms of academic medical centers and those of commercial enterprises, it is inevitable that potential conflicts of interest will arise in the course of their interactions. To ensure that their relationship remains principled and capable of withstanding intense public scrutiny, academic medical centers and industry must be aware of these conflicts and manage them scrupulously."
The full report is available free in print or PDF format at the AAMC website.