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Many doctors still in bed with Big Pharma

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: doctors, Big Pharma, health news

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(NaturalNews) The cozy relationship between doctors and drug companies has received a lot of attention recently as numerous reports have exposed widespread corruption between the two groups. But a new study has found that, despite making promises to clean up their act, many doctors continue to accept gifts and cash from Big Pharma.

Back in 2009, a study out of Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital found that 84 percent of doctors have ties to drug companies, a ten percent drop from five years earlier. But roughly two thirds of doctors still accept drug samples, while 70 percent accept food and beverage incentives from drug companies. And fourteen percent continue to accept cash payments for services.

In October, ProPublica, Consumer Reports, and National Public Radio (NPR), released a report about the $7 billion spent by drug companies over the last three years to settle cases involving such unethical payouts. Even so, Big Pharma continues to spend millions on doctors to influence their prescribing practices (http://www.naturalnews.com/030111_drug_compa...).

While the practice has tapered off some, many say the rate of decrease is not enough. Drug companies are still wining and dining doctors, influencing the way they perceive and prescribe drugs. And many doctors accept gifts and cash without disclosing it publicly anyway, which means that many more doctors could be on Big Pharma's payroll than current studies indicate.

Doctors who continue to accept drug company gifts have come out in defense of themselves, claiming that the gifts do not influence their drug prescribing decisions. But not everyone is convinced.

"Cultures to the beginning of time have figured that gifts engender a positive response toward the giver," explained Eric Campbell from Massachusetts General Hospital, author of the study, to Reuters. "What's hysterical is the fact that physicians deny that these happen. It's absolutely ludicrous to think that drug companies would spend all their time and money giving away this stuff if it didn't work."

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