Drug detail deductions done for?

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted March 15, 2004

Print  |   Email  |   Respond  |   Reprints  |   Like Facebook  |   Share Twitter  |   Tweet Linkedin

A bill that would eliminate drug company tax deductions for marketing expenses to physicians has been introduced by U.S. Rep. Pete Stark (D, Calif.), the senior Democrat on the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee.

Stark, who represents California's "East Bay" region between Oakland and San Jose, links marketing expenses to the rising cost of prescription drugs.

"It is wrong that taxpayers are footing the bill for drug companies to lavish doctors with these perks," Stark said in a press release. "Instead of fancy dinners and weekend trips, this legislation would encourage drug companies to dedicate funds to actually improving the health of Americans through pharmaceutical research and manufacturing cheaper drugs."

Jeff Trewhitt, spokesman for the 80 drug and biotechnology companies represented by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, noted that the PhRMA Code on Interactions with Healthcare Professionals went into effect in July 2002 forbidding the excesses that Stark talks about.

Trewhitt also said many pharmaceutical sales representatives have nursing or pharmacy backgrounds and are trained to answer a doctor's technical questions regarding medication characteristics and side effects.

"When a sales rep meets with a doctor, it's a form of marketing, but it's also a form of education," Trewhitt said, adding that drug companies spent $31 billion on research and development in 2002, compared with $5.3 billion spent on marketing to doctors, nurses and other health care professionals.

Note: This item originally appeared at

Back to top



Read story

Confronting bias against obese patients

Medical educators are starting to raise awareness about how weight-related stigma can impair patient-physician communication and the treatment of obesity. Read story

Read story


American Medical News is ceasing publication after 55 years of serving physicians by keeping them informed of their rapidly changing profession. Read story

Read story

Policing medical practice employees after work

Doctors can try to regulate staff actions outside the office, but they must watch what they try to stamp out and how they do it. Read story

Read story

Diabetes prevention: Set on a course for lifestyle change

The YMCA's evidence-based program is helping prediabetic patients eat right, get active and lose weight. Read story

Read story

Medicaid's muddled preventive care picture

The health system reform law promises no-cost coverage of a lengthy list of screenings and other prevention services, but some beneficiaries still might miss out. Read story

Read story

How to get tax breaks for your medical practice

Federal, state and local governments offer doctors incentives because practices are recognized as economic engines. But physicians must know how and where to find them. Read story

Read story

Advance pay ACOs: A down payment on Medicare's future

Accountable care organizations that pay doctors up-front bring practice improvements, but it's unclear yet if program actuaries will see a return on investment. Read story

Read story

Physician liability: Your team, your legal risk

When health care team members drop the ball, it's often doctors who end up in court. How can physicians improve such care and avoid risks? Read story

  • Stay informed
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • LinkedIn