On Katz et al.: All About the Economics

The assumption made in the Katz et al. article is that the pharmaceutical companies, if prohibited to give gifts of any size, will not bias the public sector of workers (i.e. the physicians). Just because policies are restricted for the gift giving aspect of the system, does not meant that pharmaceutical companies will not attempt to advertise in other ways. The introduction of restrictions on any business is simply a reason to try and find other ways of ‘branding’ physicians or biasing them in favour of certain pharmaceutical companies. It is interesting that although the article claims that there have been no stats produced about the de minimis gifts (Katz et al.), it still rejects the gift-giving process. Irrespective, the effects of branding can be had without the gift-giving system in place. While it may be true, now, that restricting the gift giving will encourage an unbiased prescription of drugs, the subliminal messaging/advertising can and will continue to exist in other forms; such as the advertising at the CMEs, as described by Fishman. Lastly, I believe that by restricting the exchange of gifts between pharmaceutical companies and physicians, the economic structure of the system changes, such that a layperson will have to acknowledge either that the pharmaceutical company is not a business or that it is made for the people with the best interests of the patients (or the ones for whom they are creating the drugs).

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