It is wrong for physicians and staff member to receive gifts from pharmaceutical companies. It also should be illegal. I creates a conflict of interest. If some has some sort of benefit from a pill by that company that gave them a trip but the right pill is from a company that has done nothing for them. Doctors will prescribe the one that gave them a trip or possibly both.
Accepting trips, meals, or gifts from pharmaceutical companies is the same as accepting a bribe. That puts pressure on the doctor to promote and use their medication. That medication might not be the right one for that person but because the doctor is pushing it then time could be wasted on trying that medication. It could also be too costly.
Gifts in any form from pharmaceutical companies are effectively meant to create a bias in the physicians and their staff towards the drugs those pharmaceutical companies produce. The physician should be looking out for their patients' best interests, not the pharmaceutical companies'. Any bias could create a situation where a physician avoids suggesting a better alternative, or ignores a dangerous side-effect, when prescribing drugs to the patient.
Even if the doctor does not let the gifts that he receives influence his decision about which drugs to prescribe, he puts himself in a position to be criticized for accepting the gifts. With the recent overwhelming increase of medical malpractice suits, why would any physician want to make himself vulnerable by appearing to participate in unsavory practices? The Medical Association has issued directives to prohibit doctors or their staff from accepting these types of gifts, but many still ignore their warnings.
Many competing pharmaceutical companies make similar drugs to treat similar conditions such as depression, acid reflux, anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome, bacterial infections, etc. If a pharmaceutical company provides gifts to a particular physician, it will create bias in that physician to prescribe drugs from that pharmaceutical company to his or her patients. However, in some cases, certain drugs will work better than others for a particular patient; for example, there are different PPI's prescribed for acid reflux that only work in a select group of patients, and the doctor should work with the patient to determine which one of the drugs works the best for the patient, rather than prescribing the drug from the physician's favorite pharmaceutical company which may not work well for the patient.
Physicians and their staff should not be allowed to accept trips, meals, or gifts from pharmaceutical companies. In doing so, it will almost inevitably bias them and make them more likely to prescribe drugs made by these companies, regardless of whether those drugs are the best ones for their current patients. The welfare of the patient must always come first in medicine.
I am completely against physicians accepting gifts of any kind from pharmaceutical companies. The purpose of a gift in that sense is to sway someone's opinion in your favor. Politicians are not allowed to accept gifts that may sway their decisions, and even their campaigns are strictly regulated. I do not like the idea that my doctor may push a certain drug, regardless of the cost, or the potential of another to be more beneficial, because of a perk offered to him by the drug company. This is not in the patient's best interest at all.
Medical staffs should not accept any type of gift from pharmaceutical companies, because the products should stand on there own, without any interference from these companies. I understand the need for these companies to promote there products, but these drugs and equipment should be made for the betterment of all people, not just for the profit of these companies.
I don't think it's right for them to accept gifts from pharmaceutical companies, because it can lead to favoritism by doctors towards those companies, and affect their judgment.
I don't think that any physician or their staff should accept trips, meals, or gifts from pharmaceutical companies. If a person accepts a gift, they sometimes feel obligated to return the favor. In this case, the physician or their staff would feel more obligated to push the pharmaceutical companies brand of medication onto their patients.
As long as these minor benefits assist the physician in gaining further knowledge and experience then I see no harm in them. I trust my physician to have enough ethical foresight to justly use these benefits to further the advancement of my care. I have no qualms that the majority of physicians have the highest integrity and ethical fortitude.
I think that if the government would get out of the business of regulating and subsidizing medical research and development, then we would see an explosion of innovation in medicine. I think, as long as there is transparency, then there is nothing wrong with doctors receiving gifts or being "courted" by the pharmaceutical companies. Let the patients decide what they want to buy, based on their own research and experience, in medicine, and in everything else.
As a physician for 30 years, the pharma industry provides my staff with information about medications, possible interactions, and also very needed samples for patients. To sit down and have a sandwich provided by the company, and discuss these FDA approved medications is hardly enticing me to write these medications. I have my patients' best interest at heart and need this information to prescribe the best medication for my patients. Many times these are generic medications (which are often NOT cheaper than brand name meds.) The largest expense, outside of salaries, for a pharmaceutical company is samples. Shall we get rid of those? Of course not, you say? Why should I sample a product if I don't have the time to sit down and learn about it? Spend one day in a physician's office to see how the practice of medicine REALLY is.
Many pharmaceutical companies hold informational sessions for doctors and their staff either in the office, or outside of the office. These sessions inform doctors about various medicines, and give reports about different research and statistics for a particular drug. Since these sessions take up valuable time, the gifts or meals are a way of thanking the doctors for their time. Many would choose not to attend, if this were not the case.