New breakthrough research demonstrates for the first time that spending 5 minutes with a drug rep alters the subconscious mind of doctors in subtle ways, causing them to prescribe drugs that no one really need or wants or even uses.
The survey of 116 visits to 97 doctors found that after a five minute "session" with a drug rep, doctors were 46 percent more likely to prescribe a drug or recommend it to their colleagues.
One of the author's of this groundbreaking study, Dr. Michael Steinman of the San Francisco Veteran's Affairs Hospital said: "The remarkable thing is how effective a very brief visit by a drug representative -- most often less than five minutes -- can be in influencing physicians' choices to use a drug for an unapproved indication,"
Besides free drug samples, salespeople often bring gifts, lunch for the doctor or office staff, new pens and coffee mugs. "The doctor feels subtly, even subconsciously, indebted to the representative," Steinman said.
The study appears in the April 24, 2007 issue of PLoS Medicine. Co-authors of the study were G. Michael Harper, MD, Mary-Margaret Chren, MD, and C. Seth Landefeld, MD, of SFVAMC and UCSF.
Steinman, Landefeld, and Chren served as unpaid expert witnesses for the plaintiff in the litigation from which the source data for the study was obtained.
What a surprise.
The study was supported by funds from the Veterans Health Administration, the National Institute on Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, the National Institute on Aging, the John A. Hartford Foundation, and the California Tobacco-Related Disease Research Programs.
What is government money doing supporting such crap?