So, Now Drug Reps Don’t Work?

Alerted by Kevin, MD (who runs the best clipping service for medbloggers), I read this little article: Drug Sales Visits Affect Doctors Little- U.S. Study

Now I’m even more confused. I thought I was just a brainless dolt / whore, ready to prescribe the latest and greatest super-expensive drug if I got a pen or a lunch out of it (though I am a bad doc, I don’t do that).

I’m heartened that others see drug reps as the biased sources of misinformation they are! Hooray!

Perhaps I don’t need to start my own chapter of No Free, a physician organization dedicated to weaning docs off the drug-rep crack. Well, I’ll keep it in mind.


  1. Have you heard about the Counter-Detailing Initiative? I just heard about it yesterday, and don’t know much more than what’s on the website, but it sounds promising. I’d be curious to know what you think. The URL is


  2. Where symtym/GruntDoc trained–VMC/UMC, I was a chief resident and got our “graduating party” fully funded with drug reps. To this day I still think of it as the most “dirty” of activities.

    I don’t use pharmaceutical pens, mugs, food, trips, etc. Fortunately we have a hosptial policy that they are not allowed to detail–but they still slither in.

    I couldn’t find the study, but “Rick and Jerry” reviewed it once on EM Abstracts about how much is spent annually on detailing physician–it was significantly greater then what is spent on graduate and post-graduate medical education. The irony, as a nation, we spend more on influence than on education.


  3. TANSTAAFL, by the way, means “There ain’t no such thing as a Free Lunch”. I found that out here:

    My ED is now, blessedly, rep-free, but it took the arrival of an annoyingly pushy rep to finally galvanize us to bar them. I truly don’t miss little rubber noses that exude fake (but impressively real-looking) snot, or locker mirrors, or any of the other trinkets.

    Just Say No.

  4. Sorry, that Medrants fellow doesn’t agree with you. He believes that those adds DO influence you…and yur an idiot…if I read him right

  5. I read DB’s and I don’t believe he thinks I’m an idiot. I have never believed all the ‘detailers are evil’ crap, but never liked them, or was particularly nice to them (not rude, but I’m not going to stop working to speak to them).

    Dr. Centor has a lot more data on his side, and will for a very long time. There are several studies that say detailing works, and now one study saying it doesn’t.

    My biggest gripe with the detailers-work to the detriment of medicine argument: I have never understood how docs, who are supposed to be able to see and understand complex problems, understand the underlying agendas of patients, etc, are suddenly struck dumb by a sleeve of golf balls, or a pen, then roll-over and prescribe expensive me-too drugs. It just makes no sense.

    And, the answer is easy: just say no to drug reps. That’s what we do now in my joint, and we occasionally remark on how much better we like it rep-free.

  6. I wonder if the drug companies financed the study? Might be a great source of misinformation.