In most of the articles we have read regarding drug pushing and the market of medicine, the authors have given physicians an extremely passive role. The doctors are silently corrupted by the sales representatives, and given an almost invisible role in the play of the market. But there must be some sort of responsibility on the part of physicians. We cannot put all or even most of the blame on pharmaceutical companies and those who represent and market them.
It is clear that the information is out there; physicians know that they will likely be influenced by drug marketing. But does this mean that there is no way to inhibit the influence, or at least delay it? As Elliott and others have mentioned, there are physicians who refuse to meet with drug representatives and/or accept gifts from them. The significant question, then, is why is it so difficult for more physicians to get into this habit? Why are physicians so easily swayed into accepting gifts and meetings with sales representatives? This question is very difficult for an outsider to understand. I want to say that surely, it cannot be that difficult to reject the gifts and distance oneself from drug salespeople. People constantly limit themselves from indulging in spending money, sex, drugs, food, etc. all the time. So again, what makes it so difficult for physicians to control accepting gifts? In a way, it almost seems like an addiction; the physician gets a taste of a better life, one that promises more money, opportunity, status, and she cannot control herself.
But this does not seem satisfactory to me. If some physicians are able to resist the pattern, I would argue that many others are able to as well, especially since they are aware of what meetings and accepting gifts from sales representatives can do to them. My question is then ultimately unanswered, but I do think there is hope in trying to understand why so many physicians ultimately give in to the temptations of sales representatives.