Drug company gifts should be low priority given medicine's challenges

LETTER — Posted March 22, 2004

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I read with great interest the front-page article (Article, March 1) about the reporting of gifts to individual physicians by pharmaceutical companies.

I have very mixed feelings about this. It's hard to debate that gifts to physicians have an influence in our prescribing habits. But I'm dismayed as to why our lawmakers need to tackle this problem rather than the real problems facing medicine.

We are in a malpractice crisis, an insurance crisis, a reimbursement crisis and a drug-cost crisis. Perhaps after all of these problems are addressed we can look to how many steak dinners it takes to raise the price of medications.

Oh, and by the way, I wish I had time to go to a nice steak dinner. Unfortunately, I'm at the office most nights until 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. because I am in the middle of a malpractice crisis, an insurance crisis, a reimbursement crisis and a drug-cost crisis.

James Dom Dera, MD, Fairlawn, Ohio

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2004/03/22/edlt0322.htm.

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