Should drug firms make payments to doctors?

28th April 2014

Gifts and payments to US doctors from drug firms are seen by some as encouraging unnecessary prescriptions. Do such transfers make any difference and will President Obama’s healthcare reform help, by forcing companies to disclose them?

Prescribe enough drugs and – as detailed in 1974 Senate hearings – a doctor could accumulate points to exchange for a wide range of consumer desirables – colour TVs, watches, microwave ovens, lawnmowers, golf clubs.

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