Drug companies unfairly under siege by critics of marketing practices

LETTER — Posted March 6, 2006

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Regarding "Buy your own lunch" (Article, Jan. 16): What has made so many people view pharmaceutical companies as parasites rather than the heroes of allopathic medicine?

New meds are expensive, but they soon become generic, and these new products continue to revolutionize treatment in diabetes, heart disease, cancer, etc.

I loved the "older, cheaper drugs are adequate" comment by No Free Lunch founder Bob Goodman, MD. Yes, use that line in court when the patient didn't get Plavix, post-stenting.

For those of us far too busy to lobby at assemblies, pharmaceutical reps often can be our first targeted contact for miracle drugs or landmark studies.

Drug companies also have been among the worst stock market performers this decade, so beware of physicians analyzing marketing efforts. They also get pounded by litigation lawyers. Many doctors view them as allies, not adversaries.

A "free" evening dinner program with a researcher who fields all questions is far less offensive to me than CME courses that charge $600 just to enroll.

James Long, MD, Andover, Minn.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2006/03/06/edlt0306.htm.

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