Letter to the Editor
It seems that there is a lot of needless worry and obsession over “Drug Reps at Our Doors: Do They Influence Our Prescriptions?” (Nov. 6, page 21). Apparently, some physicians believe that they are powerless to resist the “evil” influence of marketing presentations by drug representatives such that they would have no voluntary control over what medications they prescribe for their patients. Most physicians recognize that marketing presentations are designed to sell more product and as such they are not a substitute for one's own independent investigation based on multiple trusted sources.
Moreover, whether a physician agrees to see drug reps in his or her office or not is a purely voluntary decision. No one forces a physician to see drug reps.
And, last but not least, the potential conflict of interest posed by free pens and pizza supplied by drug reps pales in comparison to the enormous and real conflict of interest posed by physicians who participate with Medicare and other third party payors. There is abundant evidence that third parties, including one-size-fits-all socialized medicine, have a tremendous influence in dictating what treatment our patients receive and what treatments they are denied. See “Conflicts of Interest and Quality Care” at www.jpands.org/vol12no3/huntoon.pdf.
Lawrence R. Huntoon, MD, PhD
Editor-in-chief, Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Derby, NY