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Rx Promotion: Does it Impact the Practice of Medicine?

Dr. Giambi is a psychiatrist in a busy office. She rarely stops working long enough to eat lunch because of the high patient volume. Several pharmaceutical company representatives visit the office in hopes of meeting with Dr. Giambi to inform her of the benefits of using their newest drugs. Each time a representative from a pharmaceutical company comes to the office, Dr. Giambi asks the representative, “What did you bring me today?” She often asks the representative to go back to his or her car to bring her more items. After receiving gifts, Dr. Giambi allows the representatives to speak with her for 5-10 minutes. Those representatives not bearing gifts often are told, “I am too busy to talk to you.” She receives gifts such as pens, clocks, and tickets to local events. She also attends dinner talks sponsored by drug company representatives.

The medical student working with Dr. Giambi believes that the psychiatrist’s prescribing habits are not based on the gifts she receives. She has a vast knowledge of the side effects, interactions, and costs of all the psychiatric medications and seems to prescribe them based on their profile and the needs of each individual patient....

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Published: Sunday, September 1, 2002
Filed Under: Case Study, Principles of Bioethics