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A reader commenting on >Pharma in the hot seat again made a good point: "As a CME provider... Let's not blame the pharma companies for everything; they market this way because it works. Regulations have changed & it is far more difficult for pharma to support lavish programs. However, the doctors still demand the same level of treatment. it will take a paradign shift from the doctors before this will change."

Funny she should mention that the docs still want the perks pharma no longer can provide--that's exactly what we found in our Annual Physicians Survey. Here's an excerpt on what the physicians surveyed said:

    Docs Miss the Perks

    First, we wanted to know if they even noticed any difference in the perks and gifts since the codes and guidances have gone into effect. They sure do: Almost 60 percent of survey respondents said they received fewer invitations to entertainment events organized by pharma, and close to 35 percent said the gifts they've received are less expensive and more patient-care-oriented. More men than women noticed a change in entertainment-related invitations (62 percent and 50 percent, respectively), and the older the doc, the more of a decline was noted, with 57 percent of younger-than-45s, 58 percent of 45-to-55-year-olds, and 65 percent of older-than-55s noticing a decrease in invitations.

    How do they feel about it? Seventy percent either disapproved (36 percent) or had no opinion on the matter (34 percent), while only 27 percent thought the cutbacks were a good idea. For almost 30 percent of respondents, it wasn't an issue because they haven't seen any changes in the number of invitations and/or gifts they've received since the rules went into effect. This suggests one of two things: Either they weren't invited to lavish affairs to start with, or there still are some outfits out there who aren't complying fully with the regs.

The question remains: What can we do to change their attitudes? The PharmFree Campaign is an attempt to nip the lust for perks in the bud by making med students aware of potential pharma influence, but what do you do with established physicians who are used to getting all those perks that no longer are allowed?

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